Manufacturers typically provide a static number for laptop battery life, e.g. B. 10 hours. Battery life varies in the real world. What you do on a particular day depends on how the battery works overall. It's important to learn how to monitor a laptop's battery life – it's the difference between quitting this report while having coffee or kicking because you didn't bring your power cord with you.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can measure battery life accurately, not only for your laptop model, but also for your specific machine and usage habits. Follow the steps below to get some user-friendly methods.
How to configure your laptop's battery settings
Before we start, make sure your power plan configuration is the way you want it to run normally. Windows is working hard to provide a long-lasting battery with the default settings. However, if you want to customize it for your specific use, you can do so.
In Windows 7 and higher, the desired tool is power options. You can find it on Windows 10:
Step 1: Right-click the battery icon next to the system clock.
Step 2: From the pop-up menu, choose Power Options.
Alternatively, you can find it the hard way by following this path: Control Panel> Hardware and Sound> Power Options.
Step 3: When the Power Options window is open, two plans may appear by default – Balanced and Low Power. Click Change plan settings next to one to adjust it, or click Create power plan on the left to create a new one.
Here you can switch between the settings at any time. The next screen shown above gives you basic options for what happens when your computer is connected and when it is running on battery. We are interested in the latter. You can change when the display switches off automatically and when the PC switches to idle status after inactivity. These are standard options.
Step 4: If you would like further adjustments, click on the blue link Change advanced energy settings.
Step 5: When the new window opens, expand the "Battery" section below as shown above. This allows you to make changes when various warnings and changes occur.
Step 6: When you're done, click OK.
How to run Windows 10 laptop battery life tests
Of course, the easiest way to get a measure of battery life is to determine the time it takes to use your laptop. The battery estimate built into Windows isn't much help – it's just a guess, and it will go up and down if you use your computer in different ways.
For the simplest solution, use a stopwatch or a stopwatch app (the standard watch app on Android and iOS includes a stopwatch). Start when you use your laptop with a full battery. Stop the watch when you turn the device off or put it to sleep and check how long it takes.
Use your laptop for the best results, like most often, for example during a whole working day. You don't want to see the maximum theoretical battery life. You are looking for a useful measure of the operating time.
For best results, run several tests and average them together. If you do these calculations, you will get an excellent base number for the life of your laptop when used typically.
For example, you can test in several conditions while watching a looped video or playing a demanding game. If you are not actively using your laptop during the test, you must set the "Put the computer to sleep" parameter under "Edit plan settings" to "Never" (see How to configure your laptop's battery settings).
How to access technical information about your laptop's battery life
Daniel Martin / screenshot
Windows 8 and Windows 10 have an integrated battery indicator that most users don't know about: The Power Efficiency Diagnostic Report Tool. This utility provides you with information about the exact times when your laptop is operating at full power and when it is finally shutting down. To run the report, you must open Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell as an administrator.
Step 1: Enter "cmd" in the Windows search bar.
Step 2: Right-click the prompt that appears in the results and choose Run as administrator from the pop-up menu.
Alternatively, you can right-click the Start button and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the Power User menu.
Step 3: Type the following command exactly and press Enter:
powercfg / battery report / edition “C: Batteriebericht.html”
Note that you don't necessarily need the / output part of the command. It just prevents you from browsing the default Windows / System32 folder to find the results. You can also change the output location anywhere on the PC.
Step 4: Click the folder icon on the taskbar to open File Explorer. By default it should be open for "My PC".
Step 5: Based on the above command, double-click the batterie-report.html file stored on your "C" drive to open the results in your default browser.
This report is invaluable. Here you can find all the important hardware information about your laptop's battery (or even the batteries if your computer has more than one). You can comb through a lot of data here, but what you're looking for is current usage.
This data provides an accurate record of your battery level and the times it was recorded, including a new entry when your power cord is plugged in or when the computer is turned off or in sleep mode.
With these methods, you can get precise records of your battery level at any time – this is very convenient. To get an accurate general reading, run several tests and average them together.
How to track battery status
Your computer's battery will lose power over time. There's no way around it – it's just an unfortunate physical limitation of technology. Aside from the general measurement, you can review the Capacity section of the performance report to see accurate milliwatt hour (mWh) values with different percentages.
Compare these values with the official capacity in your battery manufacturer's specifications to determine if you need to replace your battery – or your entire machine if the battery is sealed. If the values match the retirement specifications, it is an excellent time to check if your battery is still under warranty.
Use other tools to check battery health
If you want to do even more to measure battery life, there are third-party programs that automate the process. These are precise measurements under severe conditions that allow you to measure battery life compared to other hardware that has been tested identically.
However, it is generally less useful than the more personal methods mentioned above. Battery Eater is a popular (and free) third-party tool that makes this possible. However, you can also run BatteryCare in any modern browser.