Testing Methodology Hints
Whatever goals you pursue in your own tests, you should prevent your notebook from switching into the sleep mode when the battery charge is low. Some notebook manufacturers install exclusive software for flexible control over the power-saving functions, which doesn’t allow disabling this option. If this is the case, you can still use the test, but the author bears no responsibility if the results will turn out not quite correct in this case. You can leave the screen-saver alone: the test will disable it automatically.
If you want to check out the time the notebook can work in real conditions, i.e. with some applications running in the background (e-mail client, antivirus, sound card mixer, task scheduler, instant messenger), you can run the test in the idle mode.
This is the way you can get the maximum work time for your notebook: set the lowest power consumption mode in the BIOS, set the lowest display brightness, and disable network controllers and audio devices in the system properties. Then you disable all background applications and services that don’t affect the system’s operability. For example, even when you disable the network controller, the network service SVCHOST.EXE will remain running (look it up in the Task Manager); it doesn’t affect the work of the system, but does influence its performance (i.e. its battery life time). So you shut down all services like CTFMON.EXE or MSMSGS.EXE and other user-launched applications, save for EXPLORER.EXE and TASKMGR.EXE. That done, you open the Control Panel to select the Portable scheme in the Power options, but you should disable turning off the monitor and the hard disks and switching into the idle mode. Now you can run Battery Eater.
You can check the influence of the screen brightness on the battery life: just increase it, run the test once again and compare the results.
I would like to say a few words about the performance tests included into Battery Eater software package. Many notebooks today keep track of the AC power supply, and the processor enters the low power consumption mode only after the notebook starts working on its own batteries. It means the performance results will depend on the type of the power. To get the correct performance numbers, you should get your notebook working from the batteries and then run the test.
Winding up this guide, I would like to thank the developer of the Battery Eater for the very idea of the test as well as for his great job on the project and continuous expansion of its functionality in every new version. Good luck!
Battery Eater Pro version 2.0 can be downloaded here (720KB).