There are numerous ways to save battery life on a Windows 10-based laptop. However, many of these methods contribute very little to the overall battery life, while crippling functionality of the notebook. Because of that, we have made a list of the top three most effective ways to noticeably increase battery life on any Windows 10 laptop.
1. Reduce Screen Brightness for Longer Battery Life
Besides processors and graphics processors, displays are the biggest power consumers in laptops. You can greatly improve battery life if you lower the screen brightness of your notebook’s LCD screen.
On a laptop we tested (a 17.3” HP ProBook G5 with the Intel i5-8250U CPU), lowering display brightness from 100% to %50 improved the battery life by nearly 90%. The battery life almost doubled, while the display was still usable at the 50% brightness in a normally lit office.
Please keep in mind that brightness of different laptop displays varies depending on a model. On some models and in brighter environments, the 50% brightness level may be unusable. You should also keep in mind that battery life saving percentages achieved using brightness reduction decrease as the display sizes decrease. That’s because the smaller the display is, the smaller is its share in the overall power consumption of the notebook.
2. Reduce Computing Load to Improve Battery Life
The first and most obvious thing to do software-wise to reduce computing load and therefore increase your battery life is to close programs that you don’t use. For instance, if you are working only on a Word document while by habit have a web browser only minimized instead of closed, close it. To do so, use X (close) instead of – (minimize) in the upper right corner of the program’s window. Depending on a program, that can significantly offload your processor, graphics processor, RAM, and storage device and therefore consume less battery power.
Another step to take is to disable apps that run in the background. Here’s how you can disable background apps in Windows 10.
Furthermore, you can disable startup programs you don’t need. But in our test, disabling them didn’t deliver any meaningful battery life improvement.
To test battery life improvements by reducing computing load as described above, we were editing a light Microsoft Word document, while having five websites opened in a minimized Google Chrome window. Background apps were on. Chrome was utilizing around 5 % of the processor capacity, while the background apps were taking up additional 1% to 2%. By completely closing Chrome instead of keeping it minimized, we were able to improve the battery life by around 30%. Disabling the background apps saved additional 5% of the battery juice. In total, the battery life was around 35% longer with Chrome and background apps turned off.
Please keep in mind that computing load and power consumption greatly depend on involved programs and your activity inside these programs. For instance, playing a PC game can easily consume 10 times more power than web-surfing in a browser.
3. Make Laptop and its Display Go to Sleep Quicker when Inactive
On Windows laptops and other PCs, you can set how quickly the display and the whole computer go to “sleep” (a kind of stand-by mode) when you take a break from working on the computer. For instance, you can set the display to go to sleep after 3 minutes of inactivity. If you don’t type anything and don’t move the mouse pointer for three minutes, the display will be turned off. The same can be applied to the whole PC, which will enter the sleep mode after inactivity period you selected in Windows power settings. In sleep mode, the laptop’s display is turned off, while the main internal components “sleep”, with a very low power consumption involved.
Obviously, the shorter the timeout times you set, chances for a longer battery are greater. It, however, all depends on how many breaks you take when working on your laptop and for how long.
These are the best 3 ways to save the battery life on any Windows 10 laptop.
Extra Tip for Laptops with Dedicated Video Cards
We know of another one effective method, but it is related only to laptops with dedicated video cards.
Dedicated video cards are more powerful but also more power-consuming than weaker but more power-efficient integrated graphics built into the main processors. Laptops with dedicated video cards, which are mostly gaming laptops, usually have ability to switch graphics processing between the dedicated video card and integrated graphics. That can be done in settings of a program that comes with the dedicated video card, such as GeForce Experience for Nvidia GeForce video cards. To preserve battery juice, you can switch graphics processing from the video card to integrated graphics. But that will, of course, severely cripple gaming performance.
An alternative to switching to integrated graphics for more power-efficient gaming is to use the dedicated video card, but with lower resolution and graphics settings when playing a game. These savings heavily depend on a game. In light games, power saving by reducing the resolution and graphics settings isn’t as effective as in heavy games. Also, on entry-level video cards and on integrated graphics processors, battery savings won’t be as noticeable as on powerful video cards.
Less Effective Ways to Save Battery Life on Windows 10 Laptops
Other, less effective, ways to save the battery life on any Windows 10 laptop include:
– disconnecting USB-powered computer peripherals, such as USB mice and keyboards or external USB hard drives,
– turning off keyboard backlight if it’s present,
– turning off components like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,
– disabling the aforementioned startup programs,
– using lower resolutions and graphics settings when playing a game (if a graphics processor / video card is power-hungry this can actually noticeably increase the battery life, but on ordinary integrated graphics processors not so much),
– using lower resolutions when watching videos, for instance choosing 720p instead of 1080p when playing YouTube videos.
– set up your email client to check for new emails less often.
– and more.
As already mentioned, these “other” methods don’t generally affect the battery life much, so you probably don’t have to bother with them.