Whether you want to use Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system or not, you're almost certainly going to get it if you buy a new Windows laptop. While reviews of Vista have been mixed, one thing is certain: some of Vista's features, such as the Aero interface and Windows Sidebar, can suck the life out of a laptop battery in no time. In particular, the Aero Glass interface has shown to be a major energy drain.
Luckily for new Vista laptop users, open-source software from Tamir Khason can help considerably. Titled Vista Battery Saver, the little 900K application determines whether you're using battery power and how much is left, then it turns the Aero user interface and the Windows Sidebar off or on, depending on your settings.
You can select specific power-plan management settings for whenever you are using an AC source or battery power, and specify that Vista Battery Saver send you an alert every time it makes a change to the Windows Sidebar or Aero interface. Simple percentage sliders let you determine what battery-power limit will switch off Aero and the Windows Sidebar, and a check box at the bottom specifies whether Vista Battery Saver should start when Windows does.
The Vista Battery Saver demonstrates the power of community development once again. Leave it to an independent programmer to come up with an elegant, efficient, and open-source solution to one of the most glaring problems in Microsoft's new operating system.