Microsoft revealed today that an erstwhile Windows 10 feature called Power Throttling is making a comeback. And it looks like this feature will finally ship in the “Redstone 3” release that is expected in the second half of 2017.
Note: Even I can’t look at the phrase “Power Throttling” and not see my own name. Weird, right?
“In this latest Insider Preview build (Build 16176), we leveraged modern silicon capabilities to run background work in a power-efficient manner, thereby enhancing battery life significantly while still giving users access to powerful multitasking capabilities of Windows,” Microsoft Director of Program Management Bill Karagounis explains. “With ‘Power Throttling’ enabled, when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes – work gets done, but the minimal possible battery is spent on that work.”
So it’s like Game Mode. But in reverse.
According to Karagounis, Microsoft had experimented with adding Power Throttling to the Windows 10 Creators Update back in build 15002, which at the time was the biggest Windows 10 Insider Preview build yet. But I didn’t even mention this functionality in my own write-up for some reason, so I had to go back and look at Microsoft’s announcement to see what they had done. As it turns out, it was a limited experiment only.
“We are running experiments on a small set of Insider devices to evaluate an upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update feature which helps improve Windows battery life,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar wrote at the time. “Depending on the experiment configuration, you may see one or more applications reported as ‘throttled’ in the task manager. The experiment should have no noticeable impact on your user experience.” She noted that there would be more updates in February, but I think that was the end of it until now.
According to Karagounis, those Power Throttling experiments resulted in about a 13 percent battery life improvement. And they’ve made improvements since then, so the real-world improvements could be even higher now. For now, Power Throttling is available only in PCs powered by Intel 6th-generation Core processors or newer. But Microsoft is looking at expanding support to other processors soon.