Can You Extend Battery Life with Windows 10 Battery Saver?

Brad Jones 15-05-2015

Battery Saver is Microsoft’s latest attempt to give users running Windows on a laptop the ability to allocate resources in the best interests of battery life. Here’s a primer on how the utility works, and how much of a difference it will actually make to your battery usage.


Why is Battery Saver Necessary?

Windows 10 represents Microsoft’s desire to expand their flagship OS beyond the confines of the PC. Universal apps (aka Windows apps) allow for the same user experience across phones, tablets, and hybrid devices, as well as conventional laptops and desktops.

With Windows 10 being available on more battery-powered devices than ever before, there’s a need for more tools and utilities that allow users to keep abreast of how much charge they have available and how best to conserve it. A range of third party utilities can help you analyze your computer’s battery life The 6 Best Tools to Analyze Laptop Battery Health Do you pay attention to your laptop's battery? Here are the best tools to stay on top of your laptop's battery life and health. Read More , but Microsoft’s proprietary tool Battery Saver is a potent way of mitigating battery issues in its own right.

Battery Saver can help you reclaim battery life by limiting the amount of resource-hogging background processes the app-friendly Windows 10 makes full use of. Battery Saver is not a silver bullet that will work for every single user, but it’s well worth testing out to see how much benefit can be had.

Setting Up Battery Saver

To get Battery Saver up and running, either search for it via Cortana Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More or press Windows + I to open the Settings app, then navigate to System > Battery Saver. An on/off switch will tell you whether or not the utility is active — by default, it’s set to kick in when your laptop is without AC power and your battery level drops below 20%.



Once it’s turned on, take a moment to look over Battery saver settings. You can set the charge level that prompts it to kick in, but more important is the list of apps that are always allowed to run in the background. Battery Saver works by cutting down on background processes that are unnecessary, but there might well be some apps that you want to be exempt from this list.

For instance, if you’re using an email app that constantly refreshes to alert you of new messages, it might be worth adding that to the always allowed list. Conserving your battery is a smart move — unless it’s at the cost of the work you’re doing on your laptop.


With Build 10074, you can check the status of Battery Saver directly from the battery icon on the Toolbar. The intention seems to be that users will be able to turn the tool on and off from that window, too — but, as of the time of writing, that functionality doesn’t quite work as intended.


Possible Alternatives

While it may be the latest battery utility to hit Windows, there are plenty of battery extending options Get More Runtime From A Single Laptop Battery Charge Does your laptop battery charge not last long? This guide will offer tips on how to get more runtime from a single charge, using simple Windows settings. Read More outside of Battery Saver available to Windows users. You might want to tweak your power options 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 or establish a customized power plan Save Energy & Extend Your Battery Life With Custom Windows Power Plans Read More that fits in with your individual usage.


Adjusting your display’s brightness settings can make a sizeable difference to your battery life — not to mention offering up other advantages, like making sure your eyes aren’t being damaged by your monitor 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity Do you spend many hours in front of a computer screen? If you do, you’re probably familiar with the inescapable eye strain that comes with it. Headaches, burning eyes, itchiness and just being tired, are... Read More . While laptops aren’t generally thought of as being quite as modular as a conventional PC, there are some methods of improving battery life via hardware Four Hardware Upgrades That Will Boost Your Laptop's Battery Life Read More . Upgrading your hard drive, Bluetooth module, Wi-Fi card, or the battery itself can make a real impact; just make sure you know what you’re doing before you open up your device.

Is Battery Saver Worthwhile?

Battery Saver is a useful tool for Microsoft to include in Windows 10, if only for its capacity to make the most of that all-important last 20% of your charge. However, its utility beyond that will be determined by how much the individual makes use of background apps.


You can check your own usage by heading to the Battery Saver overview — press Windows + I, then navigate to System > Battery Saver. Click on Battery Usage and use the dropdown to see stats for the past day, two days or week. If your background app usage percentage is high, there’s plenty of potential for Battery Saver to amend the situation.


My percentage was rather low indeed, but there was still a noticeable increase in my available battery life. Having it enabled on a fully charged battery offered about 45 minutes more charge than using my laptop without it under the same conditions — obviously, different devices and usage will cause that figure to fluctuate dramatically. My system’s overall performance did seem to dip slightly, but given that I tested the Windows 10 Technical Preview, it’s difficult to pin that entirely on Battery Saver.

On the whole, Battery Saver does good work, but your mileage may vary depending on how much you actually use apps that run in the background. If you do so frequently, you’ll have the most potential gain from the tool; the downside to that being that disabling those apps running in the background will disturb your routine the most. It’s something of a double-edged sword, but one that might turn out to be very useful when you need it the most.


What has your experience with Battery Saver been like? Do you know of a useful alternative? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related topics: Battery Life, Energy Conservation, Windows 10.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I just clicked on battery saver and it decreased my battery life by more than an hour from 4h20m to 3h05m. I don't know what battery saver actually does, but perhaps my normal settings conserve battery life better than the battery saver's settings. Then again, it seems confused because while I've been writing this comment the battery life has gone to 3h35m and then 4h16m.

    • Christian
      December 15, 2015 at 4:41 am


      When you first turn it on your computer does some work to tidy up and shutdown background processes, so it could make the meter drop for a few minutes before you start seeing the benefit