You wouldn’t think that battery technology had improved much in the last 10 years and laptop computers still don’t last as long as we would like. Many laptops, especially at the cheaper end of the market, don’t last much more than two or three hours. A good laptop might last four.
There are many reasons for this and there are ways to discover why the battery is not lasting very long and ways to make the laptop more efficient. Everything you need is in the Settings app in Windows 10.
Hold down the Windows key and press I to open the Settings app. Click System because this section in settings is concerned with display, notifications, apps and power. We need to access the power settings.
Select Battery saver in the settings categories on the left and then click Battery use on the right. We want to see why the battery is not lasting long enough and see what is using all the power.
At the top you can choose a time frame, such as the last 24 hours, 48 hours or one week. Try each one and see if there are any differences.
Here you can see that the display – the screen – is using the most battery. Turning down the brightness when the laptop is running on batteries can help reduce the power used and lengthen the battery life.
Below the blue line is In use and Background. This shows how much power was required by applications when you were using them and how much power was used by programs running in the background. Antivirus software is just one of many programs that can and often do run in the background. They add to the background figure shown here and a high figure indicates a problem.
Scroll down until you see a list of apps. They are in order with the app using the most battery at the top. In my case it is Google Chrome because I am always on the internet, but if you play a lot of games you might see a game here. It all depends on what software you use.
To reduce the power consumption and lengthen the battery running time, avoid those programs at the top of the list.
Click an app in the list and it expands to reveal a Details button. Click it.
App power usage
What this shows at the bottom is the amount of power used when you were actively using the app and the amount of power used when you weren’t using it. In other words, when it was in the background. Apps that use too much background power should be avoided.
If you find an app that is using far too much power in the background, you might want to consider uninstalling it and finding an alternative. It will make the battery last longer. It all depends on whether you need the app and if you could live without it.
Disable background apps
Go back a few steps and click the link, Change Background app settings. Here you can choose which apps are allowed to run in the background and clearly Alarms & Clock and Calendar are useful for notifying you of meetings and other events. Leave them turned on.
Some apps do not need to run in the background and an example is Facebook. Do you really need to let it run? Can you live without Facebook notifications every few minutes? Turn it off. Scroll down to see all the other apps and turn off those you can live without. The laptop’s battery will last longer.
Battery saver settings
Return to the Battery Use section of Settings (third screenshot) and click Change battery saver settings. Battery saver is a feature in Windows 10 that extends the battery life by turning off unnecessary features. It gives you valuable extra minutes of work time when running on the battery.
It is up to you what level you set to turn on battery saved. I set it to 40% because my laptop has an annoying habit of turning off at 25%. So 40% is really just 15% above the point at which it shuts down. It gives a few extra minutes running on battery power.