There is lot of doubt about laptop battery life and usage in peoples mind. I often see people asking questions such as :
1) Should I completely discharge battery?
2) Should I keep my laptop plugged in always?
3) What if I keep my laptop plugged in always, will it damage the battery?
There are many articles regarding batteries on the internet. I am going to provide my viewpoint regarding laptop batteries based on my experience with laptops. I have been using laptops for more than ten years and during this period I have used laptops from various manufacturers.
I also worked as technical support associate for a leading laptop manufacturer during this period. So as per my experience here are some information regarding laptop batteries.
First of all keep in mind that batteries are consumable item. It is going to degrade after sometime so you can not expect same backup from a six month old battery as from the brand new battery.
When my laptop was new I used to work on battery for long durations four to five hours which was the battery backup of my system when new. When the battery is drained to certain amount computer gives a warning to plug in and then I would plug in the system. I will keep working till the charge reached 100% and then disconnect the charger. This way I was using my system both on battery power and AC power and also saving power.
One of my laptops when got old I started getting warning that you should consider replacing battery as it is not charging to full capacity. This one backup time was reduced to around 20 minutes. I did not want to replace the battery so I have kept this laptop for home use. I use it only when I am at home and keep it plugged in always though when required I can also work on it on battery for about 15 minutes. This laptop is now 10 years old.
What is Battery meant for?
Battery is meant to provide power when you are on the move or do not have access to wall outlet. In offices people keep their laptops plugged to wall outlet all the time and use it on battery when they are on move. Think how you are using your cell phone battery.
Does completely discharging and then recharging increases battery life?
Earlier it may be true but nowadays we have mostly Lithium ion batteries whose life does not depend upon complete discharge and then recharge.
So use your laptop as you would like. When required on battery use it on battery and when on AC power connect it to power outlet.