Windows 8 battery life is going to be awesome, according to Microsoft

Windows 8 - Start Screen

Microsoft is building Windows 8 to be the best it can be and this time the company is explaining their work and goals improving Windows 8 battery life on all devices, from smartphone to PC.

The software maker wants to make sure that laptops and mobile devices aren’t just eating your battery, and desktop and computer servers do not waste as much power as they do now.

Microsoft is working hard to make Windows 8 energy efficient “Very small changes done well in Windows can result in a very large positive environmental impact because of our scale.” Said Pat Stemen, a program manager on the Kernel team, said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Microsoft also detailed three energy saving goals for Windows 8 power management:

  • Let the hardware shine. We built Windows 8 such that the power efficiency of the hardware platform shines through, regardless of whether the system is a SoC-based Windows tablet or an SLI-equipped gaming PC. We designed our power management interfaces in a consistent, standardized way across all platforms. This allows our hardware partners and application developers to focus on their unique innovations and experiences instead of the differences in platform hardware and power management.
  • Continue to deliver great battery life. Windows 7 delivered a significant reduction in power consumption and increase in energy efficiency, particularly mobile PC battery life. (In fact, you can read how we thought about it in this e7 blog post.) In Windows 8, we want to maintain that same level of efficiency on existing PCs even as we re-imagine the rest of Windows.
  • Enable the smartphone power model. One of the coolest things about the System-on-Chip (SoC) platforms you’ve seen us talk about at CES and //BUILD/ is their capability to quickly enter very low-power idle states. We want to leverage that ultra-low idle power to bring the constant connectivity and instant-on features of the smartphone power model to capable Windows 8 PCs.

Windows 8 includes 3 key innovations to improve how software utilizes power: Metro style app model, idle activity, and a new device power management framework.

The Metro style apps model was designed from the ground up to be energy efficient. This model makes sure that applications are only running at the time they are needed and then they are suspended, that way they don’t consume system resources, thereby less energy is consume. And, of course, this new model supports background activities (or background tasks) for applications that require such feature.

The other feature is idle activity, in Windows 8 Microsoft improved this component with what they called idle hygiene. Many PC platforms feature CPU and chipset idle states that allow the hardware platform to stop the clock or turn off completely parts of the chip that are not being used. This is important when saving battery life, Stemen explained. The software giant has made improvements in the idle duration of 15.6ms in Windows 7 to 35% to longer that 100ms in Windows 8. The duration is key, since components that come in and out of an idle state will use battery power during the transitions.

The last key innovation that Microsoft has created to improve Windows 8 battery life is a new device power management framework, that will enable devices to notify the operating system that they have power management capabilities with a new special driver called Power Engine Plug-in or PEP for short, that way devices can work together with Windows 8 to optimize power usage.

“Battery life and power consumption continue to be some of the most important topics in the computing industry” said Pat Stemen.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].