Manufacturers often mention a static number regarding how long a laptop battery will last, such as 10 hours. In the real world, that varies, as what you do on any given day is reflected in overall battery performance.
Learning how to monitor its lifespan is essential – it’s the difference between ending that report with a coffee or banging against the wall because you forgot the power cord.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can get a pretty accurate measure of battery life, not just from your laptop model, but specifically from your gear and usage habits. Follow the steps below for some easy to use methods.
1. How to configure your laptop battery
Before you begin, make sure your power plan options are appropriate for the way you want it to run normally. Windows works hard to provide a long battery life with the default settings, but if you decide to adjust it for your particular use, you can.
In Windows 7 and later, the tool we need is Power Options. Here, you can find it in Windows 10 :
Step 1: Right-click on the battery icon next to the system clock.
Step 2: Select Power Options from the pop-up menu, or you can also find it the hard way by following this path: Control Panel > Power Options.
Step 3: With the Power Options window opens, you may see two plans by default: Balanced and Power Saver. Select Change plan settings next to either one to adjust it, or click Create a power plan from the menu on the left to generate a new one.
This option allows you to change between settings at any time. The next menu, shown below, gives you basic options for what happens if your laptop is plugged in or runs on battery; we are interested in the last one. You can select when the screen should turn off automatically or when the computer turns off after a certain inactivity period.
Step 4: If you want more customization, click the blue link. Change advanced power settings.
Step 5: When the new window opens, click to expand the Battery section at the bottom, as shown above. This allows you to adjust when various alerts and changes occur.
Step 6: When you’re done, click, OK.
2. How to Test Your Laptop Battery Life Using Windows 10
Of course, the easiest way to measure battery life is to time yourself while using your laptop. Windows’ built-in battery estimate isn’t much help, it’s just a guess, and it will go up and down as you use your machine in different ways.
The simplest solution is to use a stopwatch app (the default Clock app on Android and iOS includes one), make sure your laptop has a full battery. Stop the clock every time you turn off the computer or put it to sleep, and check how long it lasts.
Use your laptop as you do most often during a full workday. You’re not looking to verify the theoretical maximum battery life; you need to have a useful metric of how long it will last while in service.
For best results, run multiple tests and get an average. Doing these calculations provides an excellent necessary number of how long your laptop will last under typical use.
You can test in multiple conditions, such as playing a looping video or playing a demanding game. In case you are not actively using your laptop. At the same time, you perform the test, make sure to set the Suspend parameter to Never, both for the screen and the computer, within the Configuration options (By clicking the Start button and selecting the gear) Start/stop and suspend.
3. How to access technical information about the battery life of your laptop
Windows 8 and Windows 10 have a built-in battery meter that most users are unaware of: the Energy Efficiency Diagnostic Report tool. This utility provides you with data on the exact times since your laptop turned on and off. To run it, you will need to open the command prompt or Windows PowerShell as Administrator.
Step 1: Type “CMD” in the Windows search bar.
Step 2: Right-click on the command prompt that appears in the results and select Run as administrator from the pop-up menu. Alternatively, you can right-click Start and select Windows PowerShell (Administrator) from the Power User Menu.
Step 3: Type exactly the following command and hit the Enter key: powercfg / battery report / output “C: battery.html”
Note that you don’t necessarily need the / output part; it just saves you from looking in the default Windows / System32 folder to find the results. Also, you can change the output location to anywhere you want on the computer.
Step 4: Click on the folder icon on the taskbar to open File Explorer. It should open in My Computer by default.
Step 5: According to the command executed above, double click on the battery.html file stored in your “C:” drive to open your default browser’s results.
This report is invaluable. It gives you all kinds of important hardware information about your laptop battery (or batteries, if your device has more than one). You can review a ton of data here, but what you’re looking for is Recent Use.
This data provides an accurate record of the battery level and the hours it was logged, including a new entry each time the power cord is plugged in, or when the computer is turned off or put to sleep.
You can use these methods to get accurate battery level recordings whenever you want; it’s quite useful. For an accurate overall reading, run multiple tests and take the average.
4. How to track battery status
Over time, your computer’s battery will begin to lose power capacity. There’s no getting around it; it’s just an unfortunate physical limitation of the technology.
In addition to the general measurement, you can refer to the Capacity section in the power report to see the exact values of milliwatt-hours (mWh) in different percentages.
Compare these values to the official capacity in the battery manufacturer’s specifications to see if you need to replace it, or your entire computer if the battery is sealed. If the values match the recall specifications, it would be a great time to check if your battery is still under warranty.
5. How to use other tools to check battery status
If you want to do even more to measure battery life, there are third-party programs that will automate the process. These will be accurate measurements under strict conditions and allow you to do this compared to other hardware that has performed an identical test.
However, it is generally less helpful than the more personal methods mentioned above. Battery Eater is a popular and free third-party tool that does this, but you can also use BatteryCare in any modern browser.