Unleash the power of your laptop

Your laptop is the gateway to a mobile lifestyle—you're no longer tied to your desk, you can take your laptop wherever you go, and you can stay connected almost anywhere. It opens up a whole new world of exciting possibilities! But first, you need to figure out how to connect your laptop to the Internet when you're away from your desk, how to use it on battery power if you can't plug it in, and how to help keep it safe from harm. Windows provides some great features for getting the most out of your laptop. Mobility Center is a central location where you can view and change many of these settings quickly and easily. For more information, see Using Windows Mobility Center.

Open Windows Mobility Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Mobile PC, and then clicking Windows Mobility Center.

Picture of Windows Mobility Center
Windows Mobility Center

Stay connected

The best thing about your laptop is that you can use it practically anywhere. When you connect to a wireless network, you can work, surf the web, and send e‑mail from anywhere in the world or just from your living room couch.

  • Connect to the Internet from anywhere in your home. The best way to connect to the Internet from home is to use a wireless network. If you don't already have a wireless home network, don't worry, it's easy to create one. For more information, see Setting up a wireless network.

  • Connect to the Internet from a hotspot. Many coffee shops, hotels, airports, and even public parks are Internet hotspots. You can use the Internet connection at a hotspot to surf the web or check e‑mail. Some hotspots are free; others require a one-time fee or a monthly subscription. Many hotspots provide specific instructions on how to connect, so if you're having trouble, look for posted instructions or ask someone who works there. For information about how to connect to a wireless network, see View and connect to available wireless networks.

    You might also be able to use a PC Card from your mobile phone service provider to connect your laptop to the Internet anywhere in your mobile phone coverage area. Contact your mobile phone service provider for more information about this service.

Make your battery last

One of the most common problems with laptops is running out of battery power before you're finished using your computer. Battery Status in Windows Mobility Center shows you how much charge is left in your battery and offers a quick way to change power plans so that your battery lasts longer.

Using the right power plan, adjusting the screen brightness, and unplugging computer peripherals that you're not using help make your battery last longer between charges.

  • Power plans. Windows includes three power plans—Power saver, High performance, and Balanced—to conserve battery power, make your computer perform better, or strike a balance between the two. Unless you change the power plan, your laptop uses the Balanced power plan to automatically balance system performance and battery life. To make your battery last longer, choose the Power saver plan.

  • Screen brightness. The brighter your screen, the more battery power your computer uses. Power plans will automatically adjust the screen brightness, but to maximize battery life, you can make the screen dimmer by changing the brightness setting in Mobility Center.

  • Unused peripherals. An external mouse, music player, or other USB device uses your computer's power when it's plugged in. Unplug these devices if you're not using them, and try using a built-in pointing device, such as a touch pad or tablet pen, to conserve battery power.


Safety first

If you take your laptop with you everywhere you go, you need to be extra careful. Help protect the information on your computer by using a strong password and frequently backing up your files. To help protect your computer from getting lost or stolen, don't let it out of your sight when it's not in your home or office. Use a cable lock whenever you need to step away from your laptop (even at the office). You can get a cable lock at almost any store that sells computers. For more information and tips about keeping your laptop safe, see Protecting your laptop when on the go.