Windows 10: Meet the Feature That Will Save Your Battery Life

Richard Hay

Earlier this month, Microsoft made available to mainstream users the third major feature update for Windows 10, known as the Creators Update.

Normally the Windows team at Microsoft will take a couple of weeks after releasing the latest feature update to get their new development branch builds in place. It’s a breather for everyone before launching into the next round of work on the next major feature update.

However, in the case of the next feature build, Redstone 3, the developers have already released three PC testing builds to Windows Insiders. That is afaster pace than testing build releases following the initial release, November Update, and Anniversary Update of Windows 10.

What’s notable: The major feature/under the hood enhancement around which these initial builds have been focused is a new option called Power Throttling. (Note that this may not be the feature’s final name.)

Technically, this is not a new thing for Windows 10; in the late development stages of the Creators Update, Microsoft tested a power slider feature that would allow a user to set their system anywhere between “best battery life” or “best performance.” The data collected from that testing shows users wrung out an 11% battery savings.

Although the power slider feature did not make it into the Creators Update, it did appear in the second Redstone 3 testing build. And it should now be part of the system moving forward, and ultimately available when this feature update is made officially available in September.

So let’s take a closer look at how Power Throttling works.

The first thing to know is that Microsoft will set all apps on your system to be managed by Windows when it comes to handling app power consumption whenever the app is in the background. (You can tweak the default settings, though.) According to Microsoft, Power Throttling has been built to work with apps out of the box, but  they are developing a programming interface for developers so app makers can exercise more control of how their apps’ power resources are handled in the background.

You will be able to see what apps are being moderated in the background by opening the Task Manager and looking at the Details>Background Moderated column. As you can see below, the apps that are being managed by Power Throttling are marked in that column with a Yes.

Task Manager in Windows 10 Creators Update

Image via Microsoft

You will be able to control Power Throttling across the system by using the Power Mode Slider, which is accessible in the Action Center, and moving the indicator between Best battery life and Best performance. This will result in the OS throttling down to save more battery as necessary with background apps or not minimize the power consumption of apps in the background to provide better performance without regard to battery consumption.

Power Slider in Windows 10 Creators Update Action Center

Image via Microsoft

As I mentioned earlier, all apps by default fall under the Windows power management process but you can turn this off on an app by app basis in Redstone 3.

Just open the Windows Settings app and go to Windows Settings>System>Battery>Battery usage by app and then browse the list of apps to locate the app you do not want to be managed by Windows.

Once you find that app just select it and toggle the Managed By Windows button to off. The system I am currently testing Redstone 3 on doesn’t support this new feature yet so on compatible devices you will also see a checkbox in this view labeled Reduce work app does when in background which needs to be selected.

Windows 10 Redstone 3 Battery Usage By App

At this point in the development of Redstone 3 no decision has been made public by Microsoft about what this next feature update will be called. However, there is the Microsoft Education related event scheduled for 02 May in New York City and then the annual Build 2017 developers conference the following week in Seattle and either of those venues could give is an idea where they might be headed with Redstone 3.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2017-04-20:

Richard Hay

About Richard Hay

Richard, a 30-year Navy veteran, has been watching and writing about tech for over two decades. He is a Microsoft MVP and senior contributing editor at Penton's SuperSite for Windows.