How to make sense of the advanced power settings in Windows 10?

By Alexandra Bagratian | November 9, 2018 |

greater than 9 minutes

‘There is more power in unity than division’

Emmanuel Cleaver

Windows 10, being the most polished Microsoft’s OS, is well known for delivering optimum performance and long battery life, which makes it capable of satisfying even the most demanding digital nomads. That said, there is always room for improvement, right? Thus, we recommend you to do some reading to know how to open advanced power settings in Windows 10 and fine-tune your operating system.

What are advanced power settings in Windows 10?

In a nutshell, these are pretty handy options that allow you to set up and enjoy just the right performance and battery balance on your computer. By tweaking them, you can favour performance over battery life and vice versa. In addition, they are what enables you to switch between power plans, choose what closing the lid and pressing the power button lead to, react to a critical battery level, etc.

How to open advanced power settings in Windows 10?

Advanced power settings on Windows 10 can be easily accessed. Here is what you should do to find them:

  1. Click on the Windows logo icon available on your taskbar.
  2. Locate the Control Panel tile and click on it.
  3. Go to Hardware and Sound and click it.
  4. Select Power Options.
  5. Navigate to Change plan settings.
  6. Locate and click Change Advanced Power Settings.

Now you can change the advanced power settings on your PC to what you want. Below is the list of possible tricks and tweaks you are welcome to give a try. However, if you do not have enough time to carry out manual adjustments and improvements, you can use Auslogics BoostSpeed: this intuitive software will do the job for you and force your Windows to work at its best. The tool in view optimizes your system settings, removes all the junk present and enhances your security so that you can get the most out of your PC.

How should I set up power settings on my PC?

Understandably, there is no universal answer as to how you should get things done. It’s generally your hardware that dictates what changes you can perform. While some Windows computers have plenty of power options to choose from, there are machines with which you are not spoilt for choice. For instance, certain laptop users can work on multiple “On battery” and “Plugged in” settings; nevertheless, modern standby system owners are limited to configuring only a small list of options such as wakeup password settings, display brightness, background slideshow, battery actions and levels, and power button and lid switch policies.

With this in mind, make sure to carefully examine your hardware configuration – it really means a lot. Nonetheless, we need hardly tell you that it is your needs, preferences and requirements that define how your system should act.   

All things considered, we recommend you to sift through the power options laid out below and ensure that nothing gets left out. This way you can set things right and decide the best power policy for your device.

Here is an exhaustive rundown of advanced power settings on Windows 10:

Hard Disk -> Turn Off Hard Disk After

Note: This setting works only for hard disk drives (HDD); if you are using a solid-state drive (SSD), feel free to skip this part.

Whenever your PC is idle, you hard disk can be turned off after a specified period of inactivity to save power and prolong your battery life. While this may initially seem a great policy, things are not so straightforward. It takes effort for your PC to power your hard disk on when waking up, which spoils your system performance. Besides, if your hard drive is a bit of an old-timer, turning it on and off too often may cause its head to wear.

The best way to deal with this problem is to choose the right period of time of inactivity after which your disk gets powered off. This will let you strike a balance between your PC’s battery life and your Win 10 performance.  

Internet Explorer -> JavaScript Timer Frequency

Note: This setting will prove useful only for Internet Explorer users. Those who use other browsers may save their time by ignoring it.

Choosing between “Maximum Performance” and “Maximum Power Savings” in the JavaScript Timer Frequency menu allows you to either speed up or slow down JavaScript performance on web pages when browsing with Internet Explorer.

Desktop Background Settings -> Slide Show

Although a background slideshow on your desktop is quite an appealing feature, you might wish to pause it when you see it is time to start saving your battery life. The option in view allows you to stop the slideshow when on battery and turn it on when your device is plugged in.

Wireless Adapter Settings -> Power Saving Mode

This policy comes in extremely handy when you need to adjust your wireless network strength and performance to your current power needs. You can get the most out of your PC’s battery by selecting the Maximum Power Saving option.  However, you should keep in mind that your wireless network performance might drop significantly in such a scenario. On the other hand, if you favour performance over power savings, feel free to switch to Maximum Performance. To improve your power-performance balance, you can try setting the power saving mode of wireless adapters to Low Power Saving or Medium Power Saving, depending on how much battery life you have left.

An important point to mention here is that the power saving options you can find here may cause connection issues on your PC. If that happens and you find your Wi-Fi connection intolerable, your best bet is to revert to your previous settings and search another way to squeeze more work out of your battery.

Sleep -> Sleep After

It often makes sense to let your PC go to sleep when you are not using it. Your computer can do that automatically if properly configured. Just specify the period of inactivity before your PC enters a low-power state with most of its hardware turned off. This setting is pretty convenient in that your PC resumes almost instantly when it is necessary. In the Sleep After menu, you can also set your PC to avoid going to sleep – this may prove really useful in certain cases.

Sleep -> Hibernate After

This option lets your PC hibernate when not being used. This way your power is saved and your system state is stored in the hard disk – you can easily restore it from there and resume your work.  

Sleep -> Allow Hybrid Sleep

Hybrid Sleep is a convenient combination of sleep and hibernation states. It is designed to save your system state to your memory as well your hard disk and quickly wake up your machine when you need to resume your work. This setting is especially useful for desktops because it prevents you from losing your work in case of a power outage.

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Sleep -> Allow Wake Timers

Wake timers are settings that serve to wake up your PC at a specific time – for instance, when important updates have found their way to your system and are waiting to be installed. That said, you might wish your computer to keep sleeping whatever is happening around – for this, select Disable from the menu. If you wish your PC’s sleep to be disturbed by nothing but Windows itself in case of an important event that is about to occur in your system, consider using the Important Wake Timers Only policy.

USB Settings -> USB Selective Suspend Setting

To save your battery life, you can power off the USB devices connected to your PC when you are not using them. The only catch is, this setting may cause issues with some USB devices – they may fail to resume properly when you want to begin using them. However, such occasions are quite rare.

Intel(R) Graphics Settings -> Intel(R) Graphics Power Plan

If you are an Intel graphics user, you can tweak your graphics power plan in accordance with your Windows power plan. The options here are quite straightforward: you are supposed to choose between saving your power and enjoying the best graphics performance.

Power Buttons and Lid -> Power Button Action

It’s time to decide what your physical power button does when your press on it:

  • Do Nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shut Down
  • Turn Off the Display

Power Buttons and Lid -> Lid Close Action

This is where you can select what should happen when you close your laptop lid while your computer is on:

  • Do Nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shut Down

Power Buttons and Lid -> Sleep Button Action

If your PC has a physical sleep button, when pressed on, it may lead to one of the following options:

  • Do Nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Turn Off the Display

PCI Express -> Link State Power Management

With this setting in place, you can control the Active State Power Management protocol designed for managing serial-based PCIe devices. When you do not need them active, it is possible to put them into a low-power state, using this setting. Thus, select the option which suits you best in terms of power consumption.

Processor Power Management -> System Cooling Policy

This option is also a trade-off between power usage and performance. Choose Active to increase the speed of your fans, cool your processor and increase your PC performance. However, if you need to reduce power consumption, you can opt for Passive, which leads to longer battery life but lower performance.

Processor Power Management -> Maximum Processor State / Minimum Processor State

These settings are for adjusting the limits of your processor’s speed. The default values are fine, so we do not recommend changing them.

Display -> Turn Off Display After

For the purpose of power usage reduction, your display can be turned off when not in use. It is up to you to decide the period of inactivity after which your display is powered off.

Multimedia Settings -> When Sharing Media

When your PC is acting as a server, you can keep it awake by choosing Prevent Idling to Sleep. On the contrary, the Allow the Computer to Sleep option will let your PC go to sleep even when you are streaming. Also, you can go for Allow the Computer to Enter Away Mode, which is the state that clearly indicates you are away. The Enter Away mode allows background media sharing and recording while your display is off and your sound is muted. To wrap things up, it lets your background tasks continue and yet prolongs your battery life.

Multimedia Settings -> Video Playback Quality Bias

We know that video quality is extremely important for many users, but unfortunately, in certain scenarios, you have no other choice but to trade it off against power consumption. Switching between video quality and power-saving is easy these days since this setting provides you with the Video Playback Performance Bias and Video Playback Power-Saving Bias options.

Multimedia Settings -> When Playing Video

Here you can choose either to “Optimize Video Quality” or to “Optimize Power Saving” to meet your current needs while playing video. Bear in mind that “Balanced” might prove the best option to reach a compromise.

Battery -> Critical Battery Notification

This setting ensures you know it when your battery is running critically low. Critical Battery Notification is enabled by default, but you can turn it off if need be.

Battery -> Critical Battery Action

To prevent your PC from dying suddenly when your battery reaches a critical level, you can configure your system to sleep, hibernate, or shut down properly when your battery is empty.

Battery -> Critical Battery Level

This is where you can set what level of your battery should be considered critical. When your battery reaches it, Windows will take the action you specified in the Critical Battery Action section.

Battery > Low Battery Level

Here you can specify the battery level your system will consider low. When your battery reaches this value, you will be notified of that so that you can react appropriately.

Battery > Low Battery Notification

With this setting on, you are notified whenever your battery starts running low.

Battery > Low Battery Action

This is the menu where you can decide how your PC should act when the battery power gets low. Here are the possible options:

  • Do Nothing
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shut Down

Battery > Reserve Battery Level

Here you can specify the battery level where your system should reduce power consumption and focus on extending your battery life.

All in all, advanced power settings offer a convenient means by which you can reach a compromise between your performance and battery life on Windows 10. Should you have any questions or suggestions regarding this issue, do not hesitate to contact us through the comments section below.

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