The next major version of Windows 10 may include a feature that can extend the battery life of your notebook or tablet.
Microsoft has introduced a new feature that’s currently called Power Throttling. It’s designed to limit the resources used by background processes, which means that heavy multitaskers might be able to get a bit more battery life.
You don’t have to wait for Windows 10 Redstone 3 to be released to try the new feature though. It’s available in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16176, which means you can take Power Throttling for a test drive by signing up for the Windows Insiders Program and joining the Fast Ring.
The feature currently only supports systems with an Intel Skylake or newer processor, since Power Throttling requires Intel’s Speed Shift tech to work. But Microsoft says there are plans to add support for other processors in the future.
So does this mean Windows 10 will just start shutting down programs running in the background, causing music to stop playing, VoIP calls to end, and other features to stop working? Not if everything works as designed.
Instead, the operating system will figure out which processes are running in the foreground and give them a high priority. Background apps will continue to run, but “Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes” while running those programs. So music or video should keep playing, for instance… but I imagine some CPU-intensive activities may take longer to complete in this mode.
Keep in mind that this is a new and experimental feature available to members of Microsoft’s beta tester community. So it’s possible that not everything will work perfectly, but part of the reason Microsoft is rolling Power Throttling out to testers first is to solicit feedback to make sure all apps work as expected with the feature enabled. You can also disable Power Throttling for specific apps if the feature causes problems.
By the way, Power Throttling may get a name change by the time it’s available more widely. Microsoft says that’s a “temporary working name” that may change.