Windows power plans have always been in the Control Panel in the Power Options section, but this has changed in the latest Windows update. In the past we had several different plans to choose from, such as Balanced, Power saver, High performance, and perhaps a manufacturer specific one.
These are gone and the latest Windows update (I am running Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update Beta), deleted them. There is just the Balanced plan remaining and no option to select any others. Here is what Power Options in the Control Panel now looks like.
You can change the plan settings, but there are no other power plans. I had at least three here before. If Create a power plan is clicked, there are options to recreate the deleted power plans.
Should you recreate your power plans? Windows 10 has replaced the old options with a new gadget. Click the battery/power icon in the taskbar and there is now a slider. Drag it to the left to increase battery life or drag it to the right to increase performance.
This is much simpler than before, but it does take a lot of customisation options out of the hands of expert users who could tweak the power settings for individual components. Now you just drag a slider. Is this an improvement?
Click Battery settings in this panel and the battery options in the Settings app is displayed. These haven’t changed much and there is the usual slider to determine when the battery saver feature automatically turns on.
There used to be an option to save battery while watching videos, but this has moved. It is now in a different section and you get there by clicking Change the battery settings for playing video.
In the Video playback section there is a choice of optimising the video for battery life or for video quality. There is also a new setting and this is Allow video to play at a lower resolution when on battery.
It is up to you whether you enable it or not. Tick the box if you prefer to maximise the life of the battery.
The battery life with the latest version of Windows 10 does appear to be better. I ran the laptop for several hours today on the battery and this included some heavy duty work that stressed the hardware. Even with running it hard, the battery seemed to last longer than it previously did.
I run the Windows 10 beta using Boot Camp on a MacBook and so I can use the MacBook as a Mac running macOS or select the Windows partition as the startup and boot to Windows 10.
The original Windows 10 release did not last anywhere near as long on the battery as macOS did. Apple’s operating system and software was way ahead of Microsoft’s on battery life.
Now though, it appears that Microsoft is catching up and has reduced battery drain and extended battery life quite a bit. The MacBook still lasts longer running macOS, but Windows 10 is closing the gap and becoming more energy efficient.