'Power Throttling' will enhance Windows 10 battery life with smarter multitasking

Battery life is always a top concern for anyone doing work on their PC while on the go, but Microsoft is making more strides in Windows 10 to extend your time away from the outlet as long as possible. In a new blog post, Microsoft's Bill Karagounis has outlined the tech giant's latest attempt at improving power efficiency with what it calls "Power Throttling." Currently in testing on the latest Windows Insider preview build (16176), Power Throttling essentially works to extend your battery by more intelligently managing multitasking.

Power Throttling - Task Manager

How does it work? To give great performance to the apps you're using, while at the same time power throttling background work, we built a sophisticated detection system into Windows. The OS identifies work that is important to you (apps in the foreground, apps playing music, as well as other categories of important work we infer from the demands of running apps and the apps the user interacts with).

Karagounis notes that it has already experimented with Power Throttling a bit, and it prove pretty effective with up to 11 percent savings in CPU power consumption for "some of the most strenuous use cases."

Currently, the feature only works with processors that support Intel's Speed Shift technology, which is only currentlyy present on Intel's 6th-generation Skylake and 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors. That said, Microsoft says it is working to extend support to other processors in the future.

If you're on the latest Insider build, you might already be noticing a slight boost in battery life thanks to Power Throttling. And while Power Throttling should work with most apps, you can leave feedback about any apps that are negatively affected in the Feedback Hub under Power and Battery > Throttled Applications. Power Throttling can also be controlled system-wide by adjusting the Power Slider between "Battery Saver," "Recommended," and "Best Performance." Alternatively, Microsoft says you can opt apps out of Power Throttling on a per-app basis with the following steps:

  • Go to Battery Settings (Settings > System > Battery).
  • Click on "Battery Usage by App".
  • Select your app.
  • Toggle "Managed by Windows" to "Off".
  • Uncheck the "Reduce work app does when in background" checkbox.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

36 Comments
  • Nice and good things are coming. Making my personal Windows 10 experience even better than it already is.
  • It's all great, but the core problem stands. The battery technology is old and needs to be renewed. I respect Microsoft's and other parties attempts at fixing it, but that's not their battle. They can only do so much, and also at the cost of limiting something else. At least for me throttling has a negative connotation. So until there's a breaktrough in batteries, we're not gonna see any major difference.
  • Well, if ARM chips are getting more power then we might see a little spike in battery life. But you are right. We need better battery tech. 
  • I agree that battery technology is old, and hope for some breakthroughs on it.  I can't see that happening to systems we can buy within the next year or two, though. I can also see the term "throttling" as a negative one, but am trying to look at this in a positive way: rather like a car that offers multiple gears.  If you can downshift a car to get more performance out of it when needed, or have it go into "ECO" mode to just glide along when you don't need the extra work, I can see this as postive.  I've seen Intel release chips that offer Base and Turbo frequencies.  You don't always run in Turbo, but typically in Base.  When you need the boost, it goes up to Turbo speed.  I see this as a reverse, where you might not need the Base performance, but could get away with less.
  • So basically everything Works worse in order to extend battery life... no thanks.
  • This is probably for Windows on ARWhatever and is being extended for Intel... hmmm.... is this the future of Windows mobile. lol i'm out.
  • Did you read the part where you can turn it off?
  • how does that change what i said? no thanks = i'll turn it off, but since it's a per app toggle, it is very inconvenient.
  • It's not like you'd need to turn it off for every app. If power is your gripe, you would only "need" to turn it off for demanding apps. You're just creating an issue where one doesn't exist.
  • ok
  • The lack of common sense here is Mind boggling. It's not "Working worse" to extend battery. It stops background stuff that you aren't using from using up a lot of battery. And this is NOT for Windows mobile. This is for PC, which you could EASILY tell just realizing something as simple as there is a picture of the task manger in the article.
  • i meant this is ongoing development to create a full PC in a Smartphone formfactor,,, the mythical Surface phone.
  • And that is what you find bad about this news?
  • That was my first thought as well but this will only be an issue when on battery power. Shouldn't be an issue during those times. Hopefully it is easily disabled when not needed.
  • Nah, that's oversimplified too much.  "Basically, everything you aren't using works worse," but the things you are using works better.  It's how multitasking on mobile platforms like iOS works, and how Android should work (if it wasn't such a resource hog). How many tabs do you actively use in your browser at one time?  Do you really need the image shifting to occur on a tab you haven't looked at for three hours?  If Microsoft could find a way to squeeze 11% of extra performance out of my system, with no noticable issues to me, I am all for it.
  • A couple years ago iOS like multitasking was dreaded in this site comment section, everybody wanted "true multitasking". With that aside, the example you are giving is overly specific, but it actually is very close to my heart, since i have wanted to have such a feature forever. I manage to make a mess of up to 3 hundred tabs every single time Lol. In chrome i use two extensions, one that deactivate unused tabs after a user mandated amount of time, and also "onetab" which acts like the new "set tabs aside" feature of edge, which i can finally say is ahead of competition (at least in that aspect). But do i want that to happen if i'm using several adobe applications at the same time? do i really need extra waiting time when i switch between them only to save "up to 11% battery in the most strenuous use case"? i think not. I'm not even speculating, they themselves are saying "up to 11%", sometimes it saves less. So now i am speculating: i think most of the times it will save a dissmisable amount of energy.
  • 11% is an extra hour and a half on a 12 hour battery.
  • where are they? they are lies!
  • I thought something similar; my laptop at work is connected to three external monitors, plus its own screen, so I can actually be working on multiple applications at the same time.  However, it is also docked to a power source, so battery performance isn't an issue. For this to be useful, we're only talking about devices with a single screen, running on a battery.  Although it's possible to be working in multiple applications simultaneously, it isn't as common.  And I'm expecting this power throttling experience to understand what is being used, and what isn't, and adjust accordingly.  (Actually, UWP/Store apps already do this - they are suspended whilst in the background, to reduce drain on system performance)
  • Really, who cares? Just add bigger batteries. 11 % of CPU power consumption is abysmal, the power these days is consumed mostly by the display. Add a fancy OLED screen to a Surface Pro and there you have your power savings.
  • and make it one mm thicker
  • Everyone who uses their laptop should care about this, even a 1% improvement can make the difference between finishing what you're doing or not (and being kinder to the planet). 11% is massive, coupled with other improvements in Windows 10 it could give people an extra couple of hours over an otherwise identical Windows 7/8 machine. I don't see how people are managing to spin this as a negative, it's one of the best bits of news I've heard from MS lately.
  • A lot of commenters are missing the point here. If 15-30 minutes of extra battery life enable you to get that one last thing done at work, isn't it worth it? This isn't supposed to be a game changer, things like solid state lithium batteries are going to do that, this is one of many worthwhile improvements being added to Windows to increase productivity and keep it competitive in a mobile-centric world. Like many other improvements, if you don't like it or need it, don't whine about it, just turn the dang thing off. Some if us actually like these features.
  • Well said. And while it's not my personal priority in life, there are a lot of people around the world who seem quite focused on being green and reducing their carbon footprint. Anything that reduces power usage contributes to that. For me, longer battery life just means more productivity. Either way, this is a pure win. These effects tend to be cumulative anyway. 10% here, 10% there, eventually that 4 hour laptop life is 8 hours, then 12. This is news about one of those incremental improvements.
  • Yeah, it's great news for users and the planet. I think people here are just so worn down with all the negative Windows Phone news over the last couple of years they can no longer be happy when they hear some positive MS news and are trying to find negatives. I don't know if Microsoft can ever recover the reputation, that killed WP, and it's going to kill Windows and everything else if they cannot do something about it. Personally I think they've mostly been doing great work lately, but the world on average just seems to love Google & Apple and hate on MS.
  • Finally some tablet features. 
  • Amazing features  
  • The slider for the battery doesn't show up on my Surface...
  • It's funny, I have had the Throttling feature on my Intel and Nvidia Chips for years now. Once again MS is late to the game. :) What I'm wondering is if I choose to enable throttling in Windows on top of my built in Intel and Nvidia throttling and enable throttling on throttling crime, will it cancel out my throttling?
  • CPU and GPU throttling is totally different. This is about the OS getting better and smarter at recognizing which tasks are just running in the background and forcing them to rest and use less battery without affecting the foreground application you're running or even background apps that may need full power. The throttling you are referring to slows down the entire system, including the foreground apps.
  • I know that since I updated to creators update,  My battery life has gone down.   Anyone have any ideas on why?
  • Mine did initially too, but that was because of a lot of reworking things immediately following the update -- reindexing, seems like some file moving, Defender scanning, etc. After that all settled down, it seemed to work at least as well as before. I can't say for sure that it's better, but doesn't seem any worse, and I think it's a little bit better.
  • So basically makes it work like Windows 10 Mobile..
  • They keep battery runtime balanced on a razors edge, just enough to get you through a day and pull down a good launch review. Anything more is eating into profits on the next device. If they gave you a battery that lasted two or three days and degraded to one over 4 years a prime mover for a new laptop sale would be gone. Why do you think they have them glued up tighter than a glove too?
  • Tesla should make batteries for Digital Hardwares too... no OEM cares to tackle battery issues on this planet
  • At least Msft does it on OS level to keep batteries from exploding or fall from 99% to 10% in a short period of time. Windows is a powerhouse both on PC and Mobile.