Alternative battery indicators for Windows are installed using the same method as any other program; you do not need any extra software or programming skills to install an more detailed battery program on your laptop. While you can't remove the default battery meter, you can set your system tray to hide the icon by default. With the Windows battery indicator hidden, you only see the battery meter of your choosing.
Alternative Battery Monitors
Different battery offer variable features, some more detailed than others. The BatteryBar Pro application adds a small indicator to your taskbar, which shows your battery status at a glance and provides detailed statistics in a popup window. Power Meter Plus instead imposes a transparent meter in the corner of your screen, which becomes more prominent as your lose power. BattStat adds the battery indicator to your system tray, like the stock Windows indicator; it offers detailed statistics not just on battery use, but also your CPU speed and load, and your hard drive temperature.
BatteryBar, Power Meter Plus and BattStat all provide executable files for installation like most programs for Windows. After you download the executable file, run it on your computer and follow the installation instructions. These don't differ from other computers. Likewise, if the battery indicator doesn't work for your needs, you can uninstall it from the "Add/Remove Programs" option in the Control Panel.
The most attractive feature in alternative battery meter may be use of advanced statistics, which aren't present in the stock Windows battery indicator. BattStat offers the most detailed statistics of any battery indicator mentioned here. In addition to computer statistics, it reports the status of your battery and its overall capacity. BatteryBar's status popup shows you not just your battery's overall capacity, but also the original capacity of the battery and how much of that capacity has been lost. The exception is Power Meter Plus, which focuses on giving your battery reading at a glance, without adding extra statistics.
While the advanced statistics and options offered by an alternative battery indicator gives you more control over your battery usage, be aware that these indicators may stop working over time. Many of them were developed for Windows 7, and may not work as advertised with Windows 8. The developers may also drop support for the indicators at a later date. As with any third-party software, it may not behave correctly on every machine. Not all programs offer new information; for instance, Power Meter Plus displays the exact same information as the Windows battery indicator, just in a different format.