By default, Windows XP comes with a pretty good set of power schemes. But if you're a control freak, you'll really love the Power Saver application that Toshiba ships with its Tablet PCs. You can create an unlimited number of additional power schemes, give each scheme its own icon, and then play around with 20 different sliders and 2 drop-down boxes. And that's just on the most useful tab! On other tabs you can configure power alarms and emergency hibernation settings, toggle power to system devices, and generally do everything possible to eke out the last usable millivolt from your batteries.
Of course, it's also easy to spend more time playing with this application than you'll ever actually get back from it in terms of battery life. So here's some hard-won advice from a former addict on the 12-step road to recovery.
First, work out the number of distinct ways that you use your tablet. I seem to use mine in one of three different modes, regardless of whether or not I'm plugged in:
Next, think about what's most important to you in each mode:
Now create matching power schemes, using the "Details..." button to tune the power settings for each. The settings are pretty self-explanatory, except for three that interact to affect speed and noise:
The magic settings for everyday computing seem to be high processor speed, automatic speedstep, and performance cooling. With this combination the fan never turns on unless the CPU gets pegged for more than a few seconds - which is generally a sign that I'm doing something wrong…