Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

Battery Killing Utilities -- Find them and shut them off.

By Andrew Pollack on 11/01/2008 at 10:47 AM EDT

My flight back from London on a relatively old 767 that seemed (to me) to be configured for domestic travel rather than international wasn't too bad -- but only because there were enough open seats. The power supplied by the aircraft to some of the seats was barely workable. My Dell wants about 95 watts inbound to the block adapter and that's close to the advertised limit of the seat power. Add a little loss on the inverter and it gets iffy. Viewing a movie from the hard disk, the on again/off again charging was just about enough to keep even without charging or discharging the batter much in either direction.

I decided to try to conserve power as much as possible. I've moved the movie I was watching to a USB thumb drive, shut down everything else, and set the machine to 'max battery' mode. That should have allowed the hard disk to spin down and shut off -- but it didn't. Something would pop up and need the drive about once every few seconds. I couldn't figure out what it was, but I've come to realize that this defeats a big part of the battery saving features of a laptop.

Software is supposed to pay attention to power status flags set by the operating system, but most doesn't. I've located a utility from Sysinternals ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb545046.aspx ) which is now owned by Microsoft, that will show a real time file usage log so that you can see what's hitting the hard disk and where. The application is called "Filemon" and I was a bit surprised by some of the things it showed me. One of the worst is Skype. vmware server is also bad -- especially given that I'm not running any VM's right now. Avast is also doing it, Sun's java updater does it, and the list goes on and on.

My next step is to create a command file that sets all of these hogs into a "suspend" mode with one icon click. Obviously I'll need another click that wakes them all up. I may even get fancy and tie it to network connectivity or a max battery setting or something. I'll post here when that's done.

If I can get all the frequent offenders that are hitting the drive when I'm not using them to stop, I should see a radical increase in battery life.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Battery Killing Utilities -- Find them and shut them off.By Mike on 11/03/2008 at 04:59 AM EST
Hmm, when you plugged in the laptop did the plane noticeably slow down a
little?
re: Battery Killing Utilities -- Find them and shut them off.By Craig Wiseman on 11/03/2008 at 10:35 AM EST
I believe the standard response is: Macs just work, if you had one you wouldn't
have any issues.

8-)
I suppose, if you need a crutch...By Andrew Pollack on 11/03/2008 at 10:45 AM EST
I guess if I didn't have the kung-fu needed, I could go with a mac. Of course,
for the money I could buy two PC's of the power I need.

Now, are you saying the Skype, VMWARE Fusion, and other such utilities don't
touch the hard disk when the mac is on batteries? I suspect you'll find that's
not the case.
re: I suppose, if you need a crutch...By Craig Wiseman on 11/03/2008 at 12:33 PM EST
I didn't say -> I <- thought that was true.

I was merely spouting the standard line, heard over & over -

hence the "8-)"

cpw...

(posted from Chrome on a Thinkpad t60p running WinXP)


Other Recent Stories...

  1. 03/26/2019Undestanding how OAUTH scopes will bring the concept of APPS to your Domino serverWhile a full description of OATH is way beyond what I can do in this quick blog entry, I wanted to talk a bit about how "SCOPES" interact with the already rich authorization model used by Domino. Thanks to the fantastic work by John Curtis and his team, the node.js integration with Domino is going to be getting a rich security model. What we know is that a user's authorizations will be respected through the node.js application to the Domino server -- including reader names, ACLs, Roles, and so on. The way ...... 
  2. 02/05/2019Toro Yard Equipment - Not really a premium brand as far as I am concernedDear Toro Customer Service, I arm writing about the following machine: Toro Power Max 1120 OXEModel:38654S/N:31000#### Specifically, bearing part #:63-3450 This is the part ($15 online / $25 at the local dealer) that caused me to raise my objections on-line. This piece of garbage is supposed to be a bearing. It carries the shaft which drives both stages of the auger. The shaft passes through the bearing (which is what bearings do) after the auger drive pulley as the shaft goes through the back (engine ...... 
  3. 10/08/2018Will you be at the NYC Launch Event for HCL Domino v10 -- Find me!Come find me in NYC on Wednesday at the Launch Event if you're there. I really do want to talk to ...... 
  4. 09/04/2018With two big projects on hold, I suddenly find myself very available for new short and long term projects.  
  5. 07/13/2018Who is HCL and why is it a good thing that they are now the ones behind Notes and Domino? 
  6. 03/21/2018Domino Apps on IOS is a Game Changer. Quit holding back. 
  7. 02/15/2018Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws 
  8. 05/05/2016Is the growing social-sourced economy the modern back door into socialism? 
  9. 04/20/2016Want to be whitelisted? Here are some sensible rules for web site advertising 
  10. 12/30/2015Fantastic new series on Syfy called “The Expanse” – for people who love traditional science fiction 
Click here for more articles.....


pen icon Comment Entry
Subject
Your Name
Homepage
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
 
Your thoughts....
 
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.