PowerCfg details about the battery and energy efficiency of your mobile computer
Hardly anyone need to be convinced that the battery is one of the most important components of a laptop or tablet. Without her, away from the constant and power is just a useless piece of plastic and metal. That’s why attentive care battery should be among your main priorities if you are an active user of the mobile computer.
Of course, everyone working with Windows knows that the operating system has a bunch of built-in functions for power management. Many of them we have already discussed, and probably you know that with their help you can adjust the level of energy consumption so as to obtain maximum battery life.
However, very few Windows users know that it includes another quite powerful tool that can help in this regard. It is available in all recent versions of the operating system, including Windows 10, and his name PowerCfg.
We are talking about the tool that you run from the command line, so it can be classified as «hidden extra features» of the operating system intended for use by advanced users and system administrators. However, it can be very useful even if you do not belong to any of these groups – you simply need to know two things: how to run PowerCfg and how to read the detailed reports generated by this utility.
PowerCfg includes many interesting features, but mostly only two of them are important if you want to take good care of the battery of your mobile system and optimize energy consumption.
The first is called Battery Report (report on the battery) and it enables you to get detailed information about the battery of your device.
To create a report, run the Windows command prompt (Command Prompt). To do this, click the right mouse button on the Windows logo in the lower left corner of the screen, or just press + X on the keyboard. In the context menu select «Command prompt (admin)».
At the prompt, type:
Wait for the command, and then open the folder with your user name in C:Users. There you will find the report file (battery-report.html) in HTML format, which you can open in any browser.
The report consists of several sections, the first of which contains purely technical information about the system: computer name, BIOS version, support for Connected Standby (Windows 8.x and Windows 10, which allows to reduce energy consumption to a minimum, but without interrupting the connection to the Internet) and the like.
Then follows the section with data about the installed battery (or batteries, if the device has more than one): name of manufacturer, serial number, type. The most important information that you should pay attention is the Design Capacity (design capacity), Full Charge Capacity (actual capacity) and Cycle Count (number of charge cycles).
Don’t be surprised if you notice a difference between the first two parameters. Usually an indicator of design capacity (Design Capacity) is higher than the actual capacity (Full Charge Capacity) – especially if it’s a laptop or tablet, which is in operation for some time, and not purely a new car, which was extracted from the box just a minute ago. The reason for this is that over time (and with a recharge cycles) chemical composition of the battery changes. In other words, the battery will eventually wear out and, consequently, the amount of power accrued to them in each of the next charging, becomes smaller. The longer you use the device, the greater the difference between these two indicators, the design capacity established by the manufacturer and the actual charge, which may be stored in the battery at the time of report generation.
Data on recharge cycles (Cycle Count) can tell the age of the battery. All batteries are designed for a certain number of cycles of charging and discharging, after which the active battery life is exhausted and it ceases to accumulate and hold a charge. The term «cycle» means a full charge (100% capacity) battery to exhaustion (to 0%). Since this rarely happens in practice, the internal counter of any modern battery is adjusted to account for the number of charge cycles is more reasonable – for example, full charge to 100%, is exhausted to 50% capacity with further charging to 100% and subsequent discharge to 50% will be registered as one cycle.
Please note that the maximum number of charge cycles varies depending on the battery type, brand and capacity.
The next major section is called Recent usage (last used). In it you will find information about the energy consumption of the laptop/tablet in the past three days: when the device has been running, how often and in what periods of time the system has gone into sleep mode or hibernation, which battery was spent and what the remaining capacity, expressed as a percentage and mWh.
Section Battery usage (battery usage) will offer a clear graphical model of the depletion charge over time. As in the previous section, the scheme covers the data for the last three days.
Usage history (usage history) shows what fraction of the time the device is used offline and an external power supply. Unlike the previous sections, the information in this section covers the entire active life of Windows – that is, the recording of these data begins with the installation of the operating system.
In the section Battery capacity history (the history capacity) you can trace the history of the process, which was mentioned in the beginning – a gradual deterioration of the battery and reduce its capacity compared to the originally pledged to the project specification. Here again the data cover the whole period of active life of the operating system since it is installed on survey laptop or tablet.
The last section – Battery life estimates (battery life), shows approximately what kind of battery life you can expect at the currently observed average consumption. Interesting in this section that it also includes comparative data showing what would life of the battery, if it still used the full capacity in accordance with design factory specifications.
As you can see, the Battery Report is a powerful tool that gives detailed information about the current state of the battery and is able to suggest that his active life is coming to an end and it’s time to replace it. However, Battery Report can not bring direct benefits, if you need specific instructions and recommendations for optimizing the energy consumption of your portable device.
For this you need another built-in PowerCfg function, which is called the Energy Report.
The command to create this report are not much different from that which was mentioned in the beginning of the article. Use the same steps to launch the command prompt with administrator privileges, and then type:
Within 60 seconds PowerCfg will perform a full system scan and will offer a report on the current state of energy consumption as a detailed list of recommendations to optimize its efficiency.
This file (energy-report.html) will also be generated in HTML format, and to go in the system folder C:Windowssystem32.
The report consists of four main sections. First again purely informational – General information about the system, BIOS version, manufacturer.
The second, painted in red color, called «Bugs» (Errors). It noted issues with serious impact on the energy consumption.
The following section «Warnings» (Warnings) – highlighted in yellow. In it you will find problems with secondary impact on power consumption and battery. Unlike the instructions in the previous section, they are not critical, but removing them may improve the energy efficiency of the mobile computer.
The last section contains information about the components of the system that is tested during the execution of the command. The details here are not related to the overall energy status of the device.
Created by the PowerCfg reports does not seem like the most interesting and enjoyable reading matter on the planet, but the information in them can be very useful if you want to optimize the energy consumption on a laptop or other mobile computers. That’s all, good luck!