How-To Geek

How to See Which Applications Are Draining Your Battery on Windows 10

Windows 10 includes a new “Battery Use” screen that shows you what’s draining your laptop’s juice. That means it’ll tell you exactly what apps–both desktop and Windows 10 “universal” apps–are using too much power.

This feature is part of the “Battery saver” screen in the new Settings app. Like some of Windows 10’s other new features, it was originally part of Windows Phone, but came to the desktop when Windows 10 was released. It’ll break down how much battery power your display and other hardware uses, too.

Find the Battery Use Screen

This feature is new to Windows 10, so you won’t find it anywhere in the old Control Panel. It’s located in the new Settings app, which you can launch by clicking or tapping the “Settings” option in the Start menu.

In the Settings app, select “System” and then select “Battery saver.” You can also just type “Battery saver” into the Cortana search box and select the “Battery saver” option to go directly to this screen.

On the right side of the screen, you’ll see an overview that displays how much battery life you have remaining, and how much time Windows estimates you’ll get from that. Click or tap the “Battery use” link under this heading to see more details.

Analyze Your Power Usage

By default, the Battery Use screen will show information from the last 24 hours. However, you can also have it show information from the last 48 hours, or from the last week.

To change this setting, click or tap the dropdown box under “Showing battery use across all apps from the last” at the top of the screen and select “24 Hours,” “48 Hours,” or “1 Week.”

Below this box, you’ll see “System,” “Display,” and “Wi-Fi” percentages. This shows how much battery power has been used by system processes, the display, and your Wi-Fi radio.

You’ll probably see that the display is using quite a bit of power. To alleviate that, try lowering your screen’s brightness, or tell your display go to sleep more often in Settings > System > Power & Sleep.

The “In use” and “Background” options show how much power is used by applications while you’re using them, compared to applications running in the background.

If apps are using power in the background, you can click or tap the “Change background app settings” link and configure apps to not run in the background. This only works for universal Windows 10 apps. They won’t automatically receive notifications, fetch new data for live tiles, or perform other background tasks. This can help you save battery power, especially if you don’t actually use those new Windows 10 apps.

Scroll down further and you’ll see a list of applications. This is the most useful part of the list, as it lists your desktop applications as well as universal apps. It’ll display a list of the apps have have used battery power in that period, and show you what percentage of your battery power each app has used.

If an app doesn’t appear in the list here, you never used it while you were on battery, so it never consumed any battery power.

You can view more information about a specific application’s energy usage by clicking or tapping it and then selecting the “Details” button. You’ll be able to see how what percentage of power the app used for system processes, the display, and Wi-Fi. You’ll also be able to see how much power the app used while you were actively using it, and how much it used when running in the background.

As with the overview of all apps on the main screen, you can choose to view details for the last 24 hours, 48 hours, or one week. For example, here’s how much battery Google Chrome used on my laptop in the past 48 hours:

You may see the word “Allowed” beneath some Windows 10 universal apps in the list. This indicates they’re allowed to run in the background. You can select an app and then select the “Details” button to see more details. From here, you can disable the “Allow this app to run in the background” option and prevent the app from using power in the background.

How to Increase Your Laptop or Tablet’s Battery Life

There’s no way around it: All applications you use will drain battery, and whatever applications you use the most will likely rank high in the list. Demanding applications–for example, demanding PC games or video compression programs–will also use a lot of energy.

The Battery usage screen provides options for controlling whether Windows 10 apps can run in the background, which should help you if you’re using that type of app. But there’s no way to control Windows desktop apps from the Settings screen.

If a desktop application is sucking down a lot of power while running in the background, you may be able to save power by closing it when you’re not using it. If an application is using a lot of power while you’re using it, there’s not necessarily much you can do. You could try looking for an alternative application that isn’t as power hungry, or try to make the application more lightweight–for example, by uninstalling browser extensions, enabling click-to-play plug-ins, and having fewer tabs open at once in your web browser.

It’s not just apps, either–plenty of other settings can affect your battery life. The display backlight uses quite a bit of power, so lowering your display brightness will help. Having your PC automatically sleep more quickly can also help if you’re not in the habit of putting it to sleep when you step away. Check out our guide to Windows battery life for more details on getting the most out of your laptop or tablet.

The Battery usage screen isn’t a one-stop shop for making applications use less power. However, it is a convenient way–and the only way in Windows–to see which apps are using the most power. This information doesn’t even appear in the slick new Task Manager.

With this information, you can get an idea of where your power is going and make informed decisions to help stretch your battery life.

Image Credit: DobaKung on Flickr

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 02/12/16

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