Laptop Batteries, Wireless Keyboards and Mice – Oh My!

Battery StrengthLaptops can be viewed as the best friend of midsize businesses. This is because laptops are necessary for presentation preparation, off-site customer meetings, telecommuting, and much more.

But if you’re a laptop or ultrabook user, and you leave it plugged in all day, you might want to rethink that habit. Leaving a laptop plugged into an electrical outlet WITH its battery inside can cause your battery to develop what is called the memory effect.

Over time, while plugged in, batteries inside laptops become unable to hold a charge. In addition, over time, your laptop will be able to remain disconnected from the charger for a shorter and shorter period of time. But by removing your battery, while the laptop is plugged in, you will extend the life of the battery.

Another benefit of removing the battery while the laptop is plugged in is that the laptop will remain cooler. Microprocessors produce heat, but did you know that batteries also produce heat? Without the battery, the laptop will be 10-to-15% cooler while it is stationary.

Finally, you can save money by removing the battery. As laptops age, the price to replace batteries rises. Since third-party batteries are not as reliable as those made by original equipment manufacturers, you will save money by not having to replace the battery.

Of Keyboards, Mice and Men (and Women, Too)

Do the people in your office use Logitech mice and keyboards? The Logitech brand is famous for quality products, and I have used them over the years. But they have one little flaw you should be aware of. They use what is called a unifying receiver. This receiver allows users to connect up to six Logitech devices on one receiver. But here’s the problem: If you are in an office with employees who work in cubicles located approximately 10-to-12 feet of each other, the receiver can control multiple devices at once.

Here’s an example: I installed two mice on two computers – one a laptop and the other a desktop. There was no problem until both devices were turned on. I was using one mouse, and my colleague began to use hers. She was using Word and was typing. When she went to use her mouse, her pointer started moving all over the screen. This happened at the same time as I was using my mouse. I thought she might have launched a virus and went to look at her computer. But when I walked over to her computer, the problem stopped. I went back to my laptop, began using my mouse, but the same thing happened again. After the second time this craziness happened, I realized that the mice were communicating, or in other words, interfering with each other. Once I turned off my mouse, my colleague’s mouse was once again fine. When I installed a mouse from a different manufacturer, the problem ceased to exist.

There is a way around this problem. There’s a security setting in the Logitech software that allows you to lock the device to its transceiver. The software creates a four letter/number code that you type into the security field. This should eliminate the problem. Most people never use this feature, so that’s why it’s not more widely discussed. But as system administrators everywhere know, it only takes one user to cause technology headaches.

So if you have a mouse and/or keyboard that makes the device it’s attached to go a little squirrelly, before blaming the user, check to see if a cube mate has another Logitech device with a unifying receiver. If so, lock the device that is malfunctioning to its receiver. The problem should be resolved. Otherwise change one of the devices to another manufacturer.  While this happened awhile ago, Logitech may have created a workaround, but as you know, mice and keyboards have a long life.


Read more about the topics discussed in this post:

Memory Effect:

Unifying Receiver:

Image credit:  Digitalart via


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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About Allan Pratt

Technology and cybersecurity professional with focus on tech news, cybersecurity, networking, infrastructure, data protection, consumer electronics, and social media.
This entry was posted in Tech Equipment, Telecommuting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Laptop Batteries, Wireless Keyboards and Mice – Oh My!

  1. Great info Allan – regarding the laptop battery, I really wish you had sent me this a year and a half ago – I bought this really great extra capacity 7 hour battery for my laptop that will now hold a charge for about 45 minutes at best, all because I did exactly what you said don’t do!

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