5 ways to save battery on any Windows laptop and keep your computer running longer

  • The best way to save battery on a Windows PC is to adjust your power mode settings.
  • Another easy way to save battery on a Windows laptop is to reduce your screen brightness.
  • You can also disable Wi-Fi when you’re not using it, and close apps that are running in the background.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Even the best laptops struggle to keep Windows running for more than half a day on a single charge, which is a problem if you need to work all day and don’t always have your charger. 

Thankfully, Microsoft has spent the past few years improving the power management settings on Windows laptops. Now, most laptops have settings specifically designed to extend your battery life.

There are other steps you can take as well, including manually adjusting your screen brightness, turning off Wi-Fi, and keeping apps from running in the background. 

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How to save battery on a Windows PC laptop

Here are five of the best ways to conserve your PC’s battery and get the most life out of your Windows laptop.

Adjust your laptop’s power mode

The easiest and fastest way to dramatically improve your battery life is to use the “Power mode” control in the taskbar. This icon looks like a battery, and shows approximately how much battery life you have left.

1. Click the power mode icon. You should see the pop-up with details about how much battery life you have remaining.

2. Drag the power mode slider to the left. The further to the left you move it, the better your battery life will be — but the slower your PC’s overall performance will be. If you’re only going to be using your laptop for a short time, it makes sense to keep the slider towards the right. But if you need to run on power all day, move it as far to the left as possible. 

How to save battery on Windows PC 1

The power mode control in the taskbar is the single biggest lever at your disposal to extending battery life.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Make your laptop sleep faster

Windows can help extend the life of your battery by dimming the screen and putting the laptop to sleep automatically after being left idle for a short time. 

Usually, you don’t want it to sleep too quickly, because it can be annoying. But faster sleep can help get you more runtime.

1. In the Start button search box, type “Sleep.” Click “Power & sleep settings” when it appears in the search results. 

2. In the “Screen” section, choose how long your laptop should wait before turning off the screen. You can choose as little as one minute of inactivity.

3. In the “Sleep” section, choose when the laptop should go to sleep. Again, you can pick a value as low as one minute. 

How to save battery on Windows PC 2

Turn your screen off and put your laptop to sleep faster to extend the battery life.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

In general, if it’s critical that your computer’s battery stays alive, you might want to turn off the screen after two minutes and put the laptop to sleep after four or five minutes. 

Turn the screen brightness down

Keeping your display on is the single biggest drain on your laptop’s battery. So if you need to keep your computer running, you should dial down the screen brightness as much as possible. 

There are two primary ways to control screen brightness:

  • In the Start button search box, type “screen brightness” and click “Change brightness level” when you see it appear in the search results. Then, in the display settings, drag the brightness slider as far to the left as you can comfortably go. 
  • Use the keyboard shortcut to lower screen brightness. Most laptops assign brightness to a Function key – look for symbols on the Function keys indicating higher and lower brightness. 

How to save battery on Windows PC 3

Most laptops put the brightness control on a pair of Function keys, like F2 and F3 here.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

If you don’t need your laptop’s wireless features, you can save power by turning them off. Obviously, this is often a last resort, because you probably need Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. 

  • To temporarily turn off Wi-Fi, click the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar. You should see the Wi-Fi menu pop up, showing all the available Wi-Fi networks. Click “Wi-Fi” or “Airplane mode.” These will both power down the Wi-Fi radio until you return here and turn it back on.

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Turn off your Wi-Fi connection when you don’t need it.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider
  • To temporarily disable Bluetooth, type “Bluetooth” in the Start button search box and click “Bluetooth and other device settings” when it appears in the search results. Then just slide the switch for Bluetooth to the left to turn it off. You can return here later to turn it back on again. 

Disable background apps that are power hogs

Like smartphones, Windows now tries to keep certain apps running in the background to create a better user experience. But letting a lot of apps run in the background can eat your battery in a hurry. Instead, you can see which apps are using the most battery and disable their ability to run in the background.

1. In the Start button search box, type “Battery.” Click “Battery saver settings” when it appears in the search results. 

2. Under the battery percentage remaining, click “See which apps are affecting your battery.”

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The battery settings let you control a number of battery features, including which apps can run in the background.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. Windows will display apps in order of how much battery they’re using. Click one that’s taking up a lot of power and clear the checkbox labeled “Let Windows decide when this app can run in the background” and then check “Reduce the work the app can do when it’s in the background.”

How to save battery on Windows PC 6

You can force apps to not run in the background.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. Repeat that for any apps in the list that appear to consume a lot of power. 

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