7 Ways To Improve Battery Life on Windows 8 Tablets & Laptops

Chris Hoffman 13-05-2014

Windows 8.1 offers many of the same battery-saving features found in previous versions of Windows, but they’re often in different places. These options will help you make your tablet or laptop’s battery last as long as possible.


Disable Bluetooth

Your Windows 8.1 tablet or laptop probably comes with Bluetooth support that’s enabled by default. If you don’t use wireless Bluetooth devices, leaving the Bluetooth radio running will just drain battery power.

To disable Bluetooth if you’re not using it, swipe in from the right or press Windows Key + C to access the charms, select Settings, and select Change PC settings. Navigate to PC and devices > Bluetooth and toggle Bluetooth off. If you’d like to use Bluetooth, you can easily re-enable it from here.


Adjust Display Brightness

Your screen’s backlight uses quite a bit of power. Reducing your display brightness will save that power. Windows 8.1 uses automatic brightness on devices with brightness sensors, but you can also adjust the brightness setting yourself.

To access the brightness slider, open the charms bar and select the Settings charm. Tap or click the Screen icon and adjust the brightness slider.



Choose a Power Plan

Windows 8.1 still has standard Windows power plans, which are basically just groups of settings you can change all at once. For example, the default power plan is Balanced, but you can select Power Saver to save some power. In most cases, you’ll want to stick with the default Balanced setting. Power plans also expose additional options to you, so you can dig into this dialog and adjust a variety of power settings Windows 7 Power Options and Sleep Modes Explained When Windows 7 launched, one of Microsoft's selling points was that it was designed to help your battery last longer. One of the main features users will actually notice is that the screen dims before... Read More to control how your power-saving settings work. We don’t necessarily recommend changing the more advanced settings unless you know what you’re doing.

To modify power plans, open the desktop Control Panel by pressing Windows Key + X Every Windows 8 Shortcut - Gestures, Desktop, Command Line Windows 8 is all about shortcuts. People with touch-enabled PCs use touch gestures, users without touch devices must learn the mouse shortcuts, power users use keyboard shortcuts on the desktop and novel command-line shortcuts, and... Read More and clicking Control Panel. Navigate to Hardware and Sound > Power Options and select your power plan.



Adjust Display and Computer Sleep Times

While you probably won’t want to get too deep into the power plan options, you may want to adjust the “turn off the display” and “put the computer to sleep” times. Click the Change plan settings links in the Power Options screen to access these settings.

You can control what happens when you step away from your computer or set it aside and stop using it from here. To save battery power, you’ll want the computer’s display to turn off as quickly as possible and to put the computer to sleep as quickly as possible. With the display off — and especially with the computer asleep — you’re using less power.

Of course, everything you adjust here is a trade-off. If you set the times too low, the computer will turn off its display and sleep while you’re still using it. You can also save power by putting your device to sleep when you’re done using it instead of waiting for it to time out and go to sleep on its own.



Unplug Devices

Devices you have plugged into your computer use power. For example, if you have a USB mouse plugged into your computer, that USB mouse is drawing power through your computer’s USB port so it can run. It’s not a huge amount of power and you shouldn’t fret if you’re actually using the mouse, but you’ll want to unplug devices you’re not using if you really want to save power.

Some USB devices use more power than others, of course. A tiny USB stick won’t use as much power as a mechanical external hard drive, for example.


Use Airplane Mode

Airplane mode will disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and any mobile data connection. if you don’t need network access, this is an easy way to squeeze some more battery life out of your device by disabling the wireless features.


To enable airplane mode, click the wireless icon in your desktop system tray and toggle the Airplane mode slider. You can also open the charms bar, tap Settings, and tap the Wi-Fi icon to access this menu.


Disable Automatic App Updates

If you’d prefer updating apps manually, you can prevent Windows from updating “Store apps What Are The Best Apps To Get Started With Windows 8? Read More ”  automatically. To do so, open the Windows Store app, swipe in from the right or press Windows Key + C, and navigate to Settings >  App updates. This won’t save much battery power, but it will allow you to update apps when you choose to update them.


Windows RT Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More and some full Windows 8.1 devices with Intel Atom processors also support a new feature called Connected Standby. The device can go into a low-power mode, waking up regularly to fetch new updates and emails — just like smartphones, iPads IPad Air Vs IPad Mini - Which Should You Buy? If you want to buy an iPad, you have a tough decision ahead of you. Apple's new iPads are very similar, but they're still noticeably different in many ways. Read More , and Android tablets receive emails and messages while sleeping. This does use additional battery power, as the device isn’t really asleep when it’s asleep. Unfortunately, there’s no way to disable Connected Standby that we know of. However, putting the device into airplane mode or just disabling Wi-Fi before putting it to sleep will prevent it from waking up to download new information.

Image Credit: Windows 8 Tablet by K.G.23 on Flickr

Related topics: Battery Life, Windows 8.

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  1. Rajesh Datt Bhatt
    July 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Windows 7 is better than Windows 8 for laptop's battery life, as it uses less graphical interface.

  2. RedHat
    May 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

    While you did mention changing power options I think more detail could have been used to help users figure out things like how to use the power settings to lower you P-state essentially under-clocking your cpu. Laptops that get great battery life tend to have a cpu that is around the 1.2-1.6ghz range by under-clocking your cpu to a P-state in that range you can increase your battery life, best of all you can just re-clock it back up when you need better performance. The easiest way is just to make 2 separate power plans. 1 for saving battery life and one for performance. Obviously this only works if your cpu has a lower P-state than the one you are currently using. To find your lowest P-state use a setting like max 5% min 5%. For example my cpu is a 2.30ghz quad-core that turbo's to 3.2ghz, but it has a couple lower P-states available. As you can see in the screenshots, my lowest is around 1.36ghz.

    screenshot cpu normal =
    screenshot cpu lowered P-state =

  3. Hildy J
    May 14, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Windows also has a poorly named desktop program - Windows Mobility Center - that gives you direct access to your screen brightness and power plans as well as some other widgets like volume and sync.