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How to prolong laptop battery life
Q: Laptop batteries - when used in an office should they be left on charge all the time, or discharged regularly?
A: All laptop batteries have a finite life, typically 3 to 4 years and I will give guidelines to prolong the current lithium-ion batteries.
As the lithium-ion batteries do not have any memory effect, frequent full discharges should be avoided as this shortens the battery life. Leaving the battery constantly on charge is also not a good idea. The best solution to prolong the battery life, although not a really practical one, is to remove the battery and run just from the mains. Unfortunately there is a problem with this method. In the case of a power failure and if you are not running off a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) you will lose your open files and may cause disk corruption, just as with a desktop when the lights go out. If you do decide to store the battery then it should not be fully charged but left at about half capacity for best results.
Another important factor that is detrimental to long life is heat. The worst combination is to keep the battery fully charged at a high temperature and this is something that happens regularly. It is best not buy spare lithium-ion batteries initially for later use, but if you have a spare then keep it in a cool place at half charge.
Moving My Documents
Q: Can you tell me is it possible to change the location of My Documents to another drive?
A: This is quite easily done by using Windows Explorer. Right-click on My Documents and select Properties and under the Target Folder Location click on the Move button and you will be given a choice of where you wish to have your documents.
Duplicates in Excel
Q: I have an Excel 2003 worksheet with a column containing over 12,000 numbers, entered manually. Every number must be unique, i.e. no duplicates. Does a procedure or function exist for Excel that locates duplicate numbers within a column?
A: I am not aware of an existing function but this is very easy to achieve with one simple IF statement. Start by sorting on the column containing your numbers and for this exercise I assume that they are in column A. In cell B2 enter this formula =IF(A1=A2,"Duplicate","") and copy it down to every cell to B12000. What this IF statement will do is to write Duplicate next to a cell that has an identical number above it and leave a blank if the numbers are not identical.
Then click on Data, Filter, AutoFilter and in the B column select to show only the cells that contain the word Duplicate.
Q: George, can you recommend a registry cleaner please, preferably a freebie?