Monday 5 June 2023

Windows Power mode vs Power Plans

Windows, as an operating system, has undergone significant changes over the years. One notable evolution has been in the way it manages power, particularly for mobile devices such as laptops and tablets. As chip and device developers strive to maximize battery life, the old power management strategies need to be reviewed.

The Old Rule: High Performance as the Default

In the past, the prevailing wisdom was to set power plans to "high performance" for optimal performance. Any other option was seen as asking for trouble. As, Windows often struggled with waking up sleeping cores and even failed to do so at 100% utilization, causing frustration for users, particularly in server environments.

This approach is still recommended for servers and high-performance workstations but now is not suitable for battery-powered user mobile devices.

Considering Device Age

Device age also plays a role in power management decisions. Over time, devices naturally become slower, and users may need an extra performance boost before replacing them. In such cases, temporarily switching to the high-performance mode can provide a much-needed performance boost at the cost of battery run time, buying time to plan and prepare for a new device, but it should be done near the end of the devices life not at the start.

The Rise of Mobile Devices and Battery Life Concerns

With the rise of mobile devices and the increasing demand for longer battery life, the old rule of sticking to high-performance power plans no longer holds true in all cases. Mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets, now have better power management then they did years ago and newer built-in features that come enabled via the "Balanced" power plan or the customized plan some device manufacturers install for specific usage. Adjusting the power mode has become the better option for performance while still allowing the operating system to access power saving functions in the device drivers.

Configuring Power Modes in Windows

In Windows 10, changing the power mode is as simple as clicking on the battery icon located in the lower right corner of the screen. Windows 11 has reorganized this feature under the "Settings" menu and "Power & battery" options. These changes make it easier for users to switch between power modes and tailor their device's performance to their needs.

The evolution of power management in Windows reflects the changing needs of users, particularly in the mobile device landscape. While high-performance power plan were once the default choice, battery life concerns have prompted a revaluation of these strategies. Mobile devices now benefit from the balanced power plan or customized plans that strike a balance between performance and battery life. Windows 10 and Windows 11 offer straightforward options to configure power modes, making it easier for users to optimize their device's performance. Understanding the relationship between power management, device age, and performance is crucial for getting the most out of mobile devices in an increasingly mobile-centric world.

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