A new preview build of Windows 10 has unveiled an 'eco mode' that could make a huge difference for the battery life of many laptops. When even the best laptops (opens in new tab) still struggle to provide exceptional battery life at times, a mode that can thwart battery drain sounds immediately promising.
Right now, the Eco Mode is considered an experimental feature forming part of build 21364 (opens in new tab) of Windows 10's preview build program. It ties into the operating system's Task Manager and looks fairly straightforward to use. All you need to do is open up Task Manager, look for any battery sapping applications that are currently running then right-click on the app and switch on Eco Mode.
Task Manager can look a little intimidating if you're new to it but it's the home of all the information you could need about how an application is running, including the CPU, memory, and disk usage involved while it's being used. With this new Eco Mode, Task Manager also highlights all apps currently running in the low-battery mode in the Status column so you can easily see what's going on.
A dev blog post (opens in new tab) by Microsoft has explained how Eco Mode works. Effectively, it reduces the priority level of the process (or app) to low with an EcoQoS mode making said process run in the most power efficient manner possible. Microsoft has seen up to four times improvements in UI responsiveness by activating the mode while also potentially improving battery life on laptops. It's an impressive feat given much of it is down to dropping the clock speed of the processor so there's better thermal performance (your laptop doesn't run so hot) yet you shouldn't notice a difference in performance. In fact, apps such as Task Manager itself can be sped up significantly by the mode as well as the likes of Microsoft Word, Edge, and other web browsers (opens in new tab).
When will Windows 10 eco mode launch?
There's no official word yet on how non-Microsoft apps perform although Chrome has been cited in Microsoft's look at the new feature. It could be a game changer when seeking out the best laptop for college (opens in new tab) and work though if you don't have to worry about battery life so much.
At the moment, Eco Mode focuses solely on CPU usage as that's the main thing that will affect power efficiency but it's expected that other system resources could also be tweaked here. As you'd expect, it's early days for Eco Mode with the preview build only rolling out to a small number of testers so far, but it's promising stuff for the future. Laptops continue to be held back a little by their often limited battery life so anything that could improve that is sure to be a positive change.