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Battery Life - Windows 8.1 vs 10

Sven

Member
So I've been monitoring battery life using the built in reporting and manual observations and these are my findings.

TL;DR:

Windows 8.1 consistently gave me 8 hours of real world use.
Windows 10 gives me 6.5 hours.
That's a major drop, all things being equal.


The long version:

Windows 8.1 (factory image with my standard install of apps mentioned below) gave me around 8 hours of use.

Windows 10 - initially upgraded over 8.1 and all was fine, averaged around 6.5 hours.

Decided to clean install, using the Win 10 image using a USB flash drive, same story.

Jumped onto Fast track insider builds, same story.

Reverted back to 8.1 using recovery image and kept things stock (no apps, clean image). Things went back to around 8 hours.

Then upgraded to 10, and we're back at around 6.5 hours.

I have Office 2016 installed, with some minor other software. Nothing otherwise CPU taxing (wunderlist, drawboard PDF and Power BI toolset - a pretty vanilla productivity setup).

For me, Windows 10 is a battery downgrade.

Typical brightness level for my use case is 50%.

I've disabled some indexing, and disabled real-time windows defender settings. Doesn't seem to help.

While I'm loving Windows 10 as an OS, the less than stellar battery performance has been a major disappointment.

Not sure what others have observed.

Other observations:
  • Edge CPU activity spikes often, and randomly. Flash is disabled
  • System background tasks ("System") while not aggressively nailing the CPU, is definitely seeing a higher average load than on 8.1
  • Could be linked to new mail, calendar and photos apps - they seem to be polling and updating quite a bit.
  • No Cortana In use (my language pack and region are not supported)
  • Fan on AC power and battery comes on often. On 8.1 hardly ever. Seem to be related to system processes.
  • Windows shows OneNote and Edge as the top 2 battery using apps. Don't use them any more than I would have with OneNote / Explorer 11 under 8.1.
Guess we're all still beta testers even with the RTM image.

If MS are trying to get us to upgrade to the Surface Pro 4, they're doing a fine job (and I mean it, please give me back my all day battery life).
 
Last edited:

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
Guess we're all still beta testers even with the RTM image.
Yep. We will see what the November Threshold 2 update brings but I expect W10 will still have some pretty rough edges at least till Spring. I guess we could have to wait a year and a half like with 8.0 to 8.1 but you have to upgrade to 10 in 11 months to get it free.
 
OP
S

Sven

Member
So it seems Edge is a major culprit.

I closed the browser yesterday and was reviewing and marking up PDF's in Drawboard, had mail and calendar apps open plus OneNote and PowerPoint.

Managed 8 hours.

When Edge is active, that drops to around 6 hours.

WTF MS ... Edge is a process hog, even when hardly used.
 

hughlle

Super Moderator
Staff member
So it seems Edge is a major culprit.

I closed the browser yesterday and was reviewing and marking up PDF's in Drawboard, had mail and calendar apps open plus OneNote and PowerPoint.

Managed 8 hours.

When Edge is active, that drops to around 6 hours.

WTF MS ... Edge is a process hog, even when hardly used.

I wonder if this is one of those issues that effects half the camp but not the other. It also seems hit and miss for me.

Sometimes it can be, as you say, a complete hog for seemingly no reason, and other times it is just fine. For instance, with three tabs open,
Screenshot (24).png

And yet other times i'll just be sat on google.com and it'll be using 20% and 300mb of ram.
 
OP
S

Sven

Member
That's my experience as well - although way more miss than hit :)

I've also tried with and without a custom hosts file, doesn't seem to make much difference.

Sometimes it will spike to 20-30% CPU for a few seconds then come down to 4,3,2% CPU utilisation. Sometimes, it will drop to 1 or 0% (not very often).

Edge is definitely not ready for primetime, and it's a pity as its detracting from an otherwise great OS upgrade.

No way the SP3 on Windows 10 can live up to initial battery claims when it released on 8.1 That's for sure.

I wonder how the SP4 and battery life will fair - perhaps it will ship with a newer build ?
 

jnjroach

Administrator
Staff member
Disabling Flash in Edge will increase battery life tremendously.... also TH2 brings much needed performance and stability to Edge.
 
OP
S

Sven

Member
Disabling Flash in Edge will increase battery life tremendously.... also TH2 brings much needed performance and stability to Edge.

I've had flash disabled in Edge since day 1 fwiw.

Will try insider builds to see if they make a difference - imagine you are spot on with TH2 improvements.
 
I can 100% concur with @Sven

Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 took an hour from my estimated my battery life. Have "upgraded" it back to Win 8.1.

I may try Win 10 out again down the track. Hopefully battery life improves. At least will be on par with Win 8.1.
 

bluegrass

Well-Known Member
I am happily enjoying W10. I must admit, I don't dig into details like how long the battery lasts. As a matter of fact, I rarely have the need to total boondock. AC is almost always at my disposal so I'm generally plugged in. I am also the type of user that closes any apps that I'm not using. Why not. It takes only a couple seconds to open most apps. I find the biggest complaint from my users, is their computer is running slow. I go check things out for them and I typically find eight or more apps running. Running slow eh. Duh!
 

mohcho

Active Member
I hadn't noticed the battery drain issue until last week when I was working at home on my SP3 at the kitchen table. I normally have it plugged into the charger and never noticed the battery drain. I was working and I think I got at most about 4 hours before it drastically and instantly demanded that I plug in the charger.

Just now, I unplugged the charger and it said I had 2 hours 30 minutes of battery use on a full 100% charge. I found this thread, closed Edge and the estimated battery life went up to 3 hours 20 minutes. I disabled Flash in Edge and closed it again, and now it's showing 8 hours 57 minutes.

I will have to do a full battery test to see how accurate the battery meter is and to see how long of a charge it holds now with W10.
 

macmee

Active Member
Does anyone have any good tips for W10 battery? I get around 5-6 hours with just casual onenote and edge
 

mohcho

Active Member
It's 4:52 and I'm about to leave and I have 32% remaining and it says I have 3 hours 5 minutes, but I don't believe it. It drained 68% in a matter of 3.5 hours. Not looking good.
 

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