How to get more out of the battery in Windows 10

Get more time on battery power with your Windows 10 laptop

If your laptop battery does not last long enough, this guide will help you to find out what is using all the power and then configure Windows to last longer away from the mains power.

Your battery is never big enough - your're going to need a bigger battery!

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.

System Settings

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.

 Windows 10 Settings app - the place to configure the way Windows works

Battery saver

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.

 Battery saver settings in Windows 10 Settings app

Battery usage

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.

 Battery usage statistics in Windows 10 Settings

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.

Battery use

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.

 Battery usage statistics ins Windows 10

To reduce the power consumption and lengthen the battery running time, avoid those programs at the top of the list.

Dig deeper

Click an app in the list and it expands to reveal a Details button. Click it.

 Check the battery usage to see which apps use the most battery power

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.

 Check the power used by apps in Windows 10

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.

 See which apps run in the background in Windows 10 and stop them to reduce power usage

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.

 Configure the battery saver settings in Windows 10. Make it come on earlier to extend battery life.

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.

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