One persistent issue that some Windows users seem to be having is battery drain. If you’re also experiencing this, don’t worry – help is here. This post will show you how to fix the battery drain issues and also improve your battery life.
Why Your Windows PC Battery Drains Fast
There are various reasons behind battery drain issues on Windows. The most common are:
- Multiple apps running in the background
- PC in fast startup mode
- High screen brightness on your PC
- PC’s display is set for a high refresh rate
- High-performance graphics for apps
How to Check Your Battery Health
A PC’s battery backup largely depends on the health of its battery, which is why you should check your system’s battery health first to assess whether it’s actually the cause of the poor backup. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re using Windows 11.
- Press Win + X and select “Windows Terminal (Admin)” from the menu.
- Type the following in the command prompt and press Enter.
powercfg /batteryreport /output "C:\battery_report.html"
- Your battery report will be saved in your “C:\” drive. Open it from there.
- Scroll down the battery report until you find the “Battery capacity history” section. The “Full charge capacity” displays the present capacity of your battery to hold power, while the “Design capacity” shows the maximum power the battery is designed to hold. Over time, the full charge capacity of the battery will decrease, but if it is much lower than the design capacity, your battery’s health is poor.
- You will see the “Battery life estimates” section below the “Battery capacity history” section. This will give you an idea about the battery life at full charge compared to the design capacity of your battery. Drastically reduced battery life at full charge also indicates poor health of your PC’s battery.
1. Run Power Troubleshooter
You can use Windows’s built-in power troubleshooter tool to find and resolve battery-related issues that might be affecting your system.
- Press Win + I to open “Settings” on your PC.
- Click on “System” from the left sidebar, then select “Troubleshoot” on the right. In Windows 10, you’ll need to go to “Settings -> Update & Security” to find the relevant option.
- Click on “Other troubleshooters.”
- Scroll down until you find the “Power” option and click “Run.”
- Go through the troubleshooting report to check for any issues and tweak settings accordingly.
2. Choose the Right Power Plan
Your Windows 11 PC has three power modes: “Best performance,” “Balanced,” and “Best power efficiency.” You’ll need to switch to the last one if you want to conserve the most battery life.
“Best power efficiency” mode works by lowering the system’s performance. (In Windows 10, it might be called “Best battery life.”) On the other hand, if you want your PC to automatically adjust energy for optimal performance according to the tasks you’re doing, you can choose the “Balanced” mode.
- Go to “Settings -> System.”
- Scroll down the tabs on the right side and click on “Power & battery.”
- Click on “Power mode” to reveal a drop-down menu and select the “Best power efficiency” option.
3. Configure Battery Saver
The “Battery Saver” feature conserves power as your laptop battery reaches critical levels. By default, your device will turn “Battery Saver” on automatically when the battery hits 20%. However, you can change when you want “Battery Saver” to kick in using the instructions below.
- Go to “Settings -> System -> Power & battery.”
- Click on “Battery saver” to reveal a list of options.
- Press on the option next to “Turn battery save on automatically at” to select the desired percentage. You can set it as high as 50%. If you’re really concerned about battery life, opt for “Always.”
4. Customize Display Settings
You can also tweak your PC’s display settings to prevent it from consuming a lot of power and draining your computer’s battery.
Dim Screen Brightness
- Go to “Settings -> System -> Display.”
- Use the “Brightness” slider to configure your desired brightness levels.
- Also check the “Help improve battery by optimizing the content shown and brightness” box.
Change the default screen resolution of your laptop in the “Display” section and opt for a lower resolution.
Reduce Screen Refresh Rate
A higher refresh rate offers smoother-looking motion but consumes more battery power. Fortunately, you can reduce your screen’s refresh rate.
- Go to “Settings -> System -> Display.”
- Scroll down and click on the “Advanced display” tab.
- Click on “Choose a refresh rate” to bring up a menu of options. Choose the lower refresh rate.
5. Adjust Video Playback Settings
The quality of videos you’re playing also impacts battery power, but Windows offers the option to optimize video playback for power saving,
- Open “Settings -> Apps.”
- Click on the “Video playback” option on the right side.
- Select the “Optimize for battery life” option from the drop-down in the “Battery options” menu. In Windows 10, go to “Settings -> Battery -> More saving options” to find this feature.
- You should also check the “Play video at a lower resolution when on battery” option.
Also adjust your system’s settings to optimize the display while viewing HDR video. This will prevent your Windows 11 laptop display’s brightness from automatically turning up when playing this type of video.
- Go to “Settings -> System -> Display -> HDR.”
- Choose “Optimize for battery life” from the drop-down menu under “Battery options.”
6. Close Background Apps
Apps running in the background may be another cause of battery drain in Windows. Make sure you close them properly to save battery power.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager on your PC.
- Select the unnecessary processes and click the “End task” button to close them.
7. Disable Fast Startup
Windows comes with a default Fast Startup feature designed to lower system boot time. Unfortunately, it ends up consuming quite a lot of battery power, but you can disable it.
- Press Win + R to open “Run.”
- Type “control panel” and click “OK.”
- Click on “Hardware and Sound” on the left, then open “Power Options.”
- Click on the “Choose what closing the lid does” option.
- Uncheck the “Turn on fast startup” option.
- If you can’t uncheck it, click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable” above, which should allow you to uncheck the Fast Startup option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can switching to Windows' dark theme help conserve battery life?
Using the dark theme can save battery life if your laptop has an OLED display. It doesn’t make much of a difference for other screen types. On top of that, enabling Windows’s dark theme may help reduce eye strain. You may want to enable dark mode on your Windows PC if you’re not already using it.
How can I make my laptop battery last longer while I'm gaming?
Can undervolting increase my PC's battery life?
Yes. Put simply, undervolting is a process that reduces voltage reaching the CPU. So if you decide to undervolt your PC, it will draw less power from the battery. As a result, your computer’s battery will last longer.
Image credit: Panos Sakalakis via Unsplash. All screenshots by Sandeep Babu.
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