Ultimate Tips to Max Out Microsoft Surface Battery Life



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Ultimate Tips to Max Out Microsoft Surface Battery Life


This is the ultimate tips to max out your Microsoft Surface battery life as long as possible when you are in the class, meeting or working on the site.

Note This guide is updated on November 19, 2017, to make sure that this tutorial is still valid for the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Updates.

There are two main factors that reflect battery life on every computer: “Battery Capacity” and “Power Efficiency”. There is nothing we can do here with the device’s battery capacity as it is already built into your device already. Check out here to see your Surface’s battery capacity.

In this article, we will guide you how to tune power settings and system settings to maximize your Surface’s power efficiency.

1 Real-time battery discharging monitoring

Before we deep dive into how to max out the battery life on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, we need to know how to track battery discharging in your current configuration. By monitoring the battery discharging we are able to know about:

From my experience, BatteryBar is the best battery monitoring tool out there. It has all features that we need to monitor battery discharging in real-time. Below is all the basic real-time battery information that available:

Real-Time Battery Discharging Monitoring

Above is the battery information captured on Surface Pro 3. Surface Pro 4 has a slightly smaller battery capacity.

As you can see my current Discharge Rate is 3,539 mW or 3.5W and with 82.9% of battery capacity, so it means that with the current system configuration and activities my battery life still remains 6 hours and 16 minutes.

Now you got the idea, to get more battery life you will need to minimize the discharge rate as possible. Now it’s time to max out your Surface Pro 4 battery life, please check out the following tips:

2 Surface Pro Optimization power plan

Note I have tested this section on my Surface Book with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update along with the Power Slider feature enabled. I can confirm that every power setting you set here is still working normally.

Every Microsoft Surface devices shipped with a predefined power plan called Balanced with very few advanced configurations as below:

Step 1: Turning off Connected Standby feature

The limited power configuration in Advanced Settings because of the Connected Standby feature that enabled by default on every Surface device. To create a new power plan with optimized advanced settings, we need to disable connected standby via Registry Editor.

  1. Configure Connected Standby via Registry Editor

  2. Full List of Power Advanced Settings

Step 2: Notice your default properties of the Balanced power plan

Before we move on to create the Surface Pro Optimization power plan, here are all the settings of the Balanced power plan that we will copy for creating our new power plan:

Step 3: Creating a new Surface Pro Optimization power plan

To create the Surface Pro Optimization power plan based on Balanced power plan:

  1. Creating a new Surface Pro Power Plan

  2. Change Advanced Power Settings of Surface Pro Optimization Power Plan

Important You need to reset the value of CsEnabled back to “1 to bring back the Connected Standby feature that allows you to instantly turn on/off your Surface. You will not see all advanced settings but everything you made changes to all power plants will still remain there. For more information about the “modern standby” feature check out.

Step 4: How to verify the new power plan settings via Command Prompt

After you turned on back the Connected Standby feature, you will no longer access the most advanced power settings from Power Options in the control panel you set before. Here is how you can verify those advanced power settings:

  1. List Power Plans with powercfg command

  2. Query Power Plan Settings with powercfg -query
  3. Maximum Power State query with powercfg

3Optimizing Cortana Settings

Cortana is a Windows 10 voice assistant, she runs in the background at all times to track your activities including speaking, inking, and typing personalization. She uses your internet connection to send those data to the Cortana server, and also synchronize suggestions, reminders,  alerts, and personalization information for you.

As you can see, those activities will eat up your battery life. If you want to max out your battery life, you need to optimize the Cortana settings to do as petty things as possible. To do so:

  1. Maximum Power State query with powercfg

Turn off Cortana completely on Windows 10 anniversary update

Since Windows 10 anniversary, you can’t disable Cortana completely via the Settings anymore. To disable Cortana, you need to change the Computer Configuration via Local Group Policy Editor.

  1. Disable Cortana on Windows 10 anniversary update via gpedit.msc

4 Turn off Wi-Fi while asleep

While connected standby is turned on Surface devices, when you hit the power button on your device, It will go into a sleep mode instead of being turned off your device or put your device into hibernation. It works just like your phone and other tablets; your Surface will remain connected to the WiFi to receive emails and notifications.

You can save more battery by turning the WiFi off while your device in sleep mode. To do so:

  1. Always disconnect from network while on the battery power

5Reducing display brightness

Display brightness can use more power than other parts of your computer. For Surface, Microsoft has recommended 25% of brightness for getting longer battery life. You might also need to turn off screen brightness auto adjustment to make sure that the brightness you set is good enough for watching.

  1. Turn off Change brightness automatically when lighting changes

6 Disable startup programs

You can benefit from a faster boot time, reduce your system loads, and save more power juices by disabling unimportant startup programs. To disable startup programs:

  1. Disable Startup Programs

7 Surf with Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is an optimized Web Browser for Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface. According to a discussion on Reddit, while you viewing videos on the YouTube, Microsoft Edge using H.264 codec which allows Intel Skylake processor to natively decode with much less CPU power consumption.

Similarly, for the Netflix streaming test that Microsoft conducted on identical Microsoft Surface Books, Microsoft Edge is the best battery efficiency.

Google Chrome Tweaks

However, if you are using Google Chrome you can disable the Flash Player plugin and install H264IFY to solve this problem. To disable the flash player plugin:

  1. Disable Google Chrome Adobe Flash Player Plugin

8 Turn on Battery Saver

Battery Saver is a new feature in Windows 10, by turning on the Battery Saver option, you can extend your battery life by limiting background system activity and push notifications. You can find the apps that run in the background even you don’t use them by going to Settings > System > Battery Saver > Battery use > Change background app settings.

When you turn on the Battery Saver option, all those apps will not run in the background. To turn on Battery Saver, you can click on the Battery icon on the taskbar and click on the Battery saver to turn on.

Note while your Surface is charging, this option will be disabled.

On Surface PC with Power Slider enabled, you just move the slider all the way to the left to activate the battery saver.

9 Turn off Bluetooth radio

Bluetooth on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book is a key feature when you are using Surface Pen for OneNote activation, Screenshot, and Cortana activation. However, if you think you don’t need these features, you can turn Bluetooth radio off by:

  1. Turn Bluetooth Radio Off on Windows 10

10 More tips to extend Surface Pro 4 battery life

Turn off backlit on your Surface Type Cover – Backlit on your Surface type cover also a minor part of battery draining, you can it off to get some extra battery life for your Surface Pro 4.

Close background power-hungry processes – Some CPU intensive processes appear to run in the background without your acknowledgment, those processes sometimes drain your battery extremely fast. You can go to Task Manager > Processes to check processes that have a high CPU usage if you believe that those processes are not important you can kill them by click on the End Task button.

Unplug USB devices you don’t use – On your Surface always comes with a single USB port for connecting a USB device to a mouse, external hard drive, flash drive, a phone, or a USB hub. Those devices use your Surface’s power while it connected, so you can unplug all those devices or using an externally powered USB hub for connecting those devices to stop them from draining battery from your Surface.

Turn off Windows Defender Real-time protection (do at your own risk) – If you stay away from the internet, you can earn more battery life and performance by turning off the Windows Defender Real-time protection. It will reduce CPU stress by not scanning all processes and files you access in real-time. To do that, go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender and turn off the Real-time protection.

Using an external battery pack (power bank)

Those are the ultimate tips that will extend your Surface Pro 4 battery life. However, it will decrease your Surface performance. This is not a big deal for note-taking or basic processing. If you want to play games, edit photos or videos, you should use an external battery pack for your Surface Pro or Book.

Here are our top picks external power pack for charging Microsoft Surface PCs:

BatPower ProE 2 External Battery Portable Charger Power Bank for Microsoft Surface
GISSARAL 24000mAh 90Wh External Surface Battery Charger
Baseus 65W 20,000mAh Portable Charger
Anker PowerCore III Elite 87W Portable Charger + 65W USB-C Charger
ZMI PowerPack 20K Pro USB PD Backup Battery & Hub
Anker PowerCore III PD 45W Portable Charger

For more information about the external battery pack for Microsoft Surface check out our buyers’ guide here.

Evan Forrest

Evan Forrest is Editor-in-Chief of Surface Tip, researching and writing articles about Surface-related news, tips, and accessories. He has been using Surface devices since the first release of the original Surface Pro. He is currently using a Surface Laptop 3 as a full-time daily-driver machine. Besides that, he also owns multiple Surface devices including Surface RT, Surface 3, Surface Go/Go 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface Book, and a bunch of Surface accessories to help in research and writing articles.

COMMENTS

We appreciate hearing your thoughts, questions, and ideas about “Ultimate Tips to Max Out Microsoft Surface Battery Life”.

    • For me, If I apply all above tricks, I will get around 3W to 5W discharge rate in average for a light task like note taking. It’s mean that for the full capacity of 42 Wh with a average discharge of 5W, I can get around 8 hours battery life.

  1. Can you put the .reg file to have all the power plan set like yours?

    • I can’t figure out a way to do that because there are many configurations that I don’t know where it is located in the registry database.

  2. I was looking for something like this. I was disappointed that my Surface has a one-hour battery life, whereas the cheapest Macbook lasts 13 hours. What a joke. Thanks for the article, though.

    • Why do Apple fanboys always feel the need to exaggerate the difference between products from Apple and other tech companies? Is it a need for attention because you own products that are underpowered, overpriced, and lack basic features such as face unlock, pen support, and a touchscreen?

  3. For me, what has actually worked is setting up the Max Processor to “40%” or something like that. It will bring down the performance of the Surface down to its knees. But when doing crappy tasks like Notetaking, reading, and surfing the web, they prove to be very useful when multitasking and using non-Edge browsers.

    On the other hand. I have downloaded a script that turns on the High Performance mode when I’m plugged in. The performance increase is considerable vs the predefined Balanced plan.

  4. Using a surface dock 4 with a surface pro 4. Is there any risk related to the battery leaving the surface connected long hours? Is there a technology related with the charger (or dock charger) that allows an intelligent switch (on/off charging) that doesn’t damage the battery when leaving the surface connected long hours?

    • Leaving your Surface Pro connected to charger for extended periods of time will eventually reduce your battery’s capacity. It’s best to charge your Surface Pro up to only 75% and discharge down to only 65%. You can do this while you’re at home or anywhere convenient.

  5. Hi. Recently, our Surfaces Pro 4 received an update that shows an Slide control in the battery icon. I’ve created a Custom Power Plan, but this new setting slide seems to be overriding my Custom Power Plan… Can you comment or update this article about this recent update? Thank you!

    • Hi Tbyte, Thank for letting me know about this issue on the new Surface Pro 4 update. I will check it!

  6. Tried to deactivate ( step 1-Final step changed value from 1- 0 and then restarting my com) the connected standby feature to activate the advance power saving option but it did not work for me. Any idea why?

    • To verify you have successfully changed CsEnabled from 1 to 0 run this command in CMD: REG QUERY HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPower /v CsEnabled

      If you get “CsEnabled REG_DWORD 0x1” it means CsEnabled still set to 1 (enable) and “CsEnabled REG_DWORD 0x0” it means CsEnabled set to 0 (disable). Tell me what you get before you restart and after.

  7. + TIP: Lower resolution proportionally see Czech article, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (2014): 3200x1800px (web, 256 min) –> 1600x900px (web, 454 min) => +77%https://www.cnews.cz/jak-se-meni-vydrz-s-ruznym-rozlisenim-displeje-notebooku-test/

  8. There is no toggle button to turn off Wi-Fi while asleep in the Power and Sleep Settings page. Maybe this has to do with the latest Windows 10 update? Where can you find the setting now?

    • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b68e1b8fd3efc5c79883d9cbe630981e4dec8fca7a9dc92a067d91223691c5a4.jpg Thank Charis Tan for remind me about that option. It does change it looks, however, it still located under Power & sleep section. Please take a look at the screenshot above.

      As the screenshot you showed me above, you might not yet re-enable the Connected Standby feature via regedit. You need to have Connected Standy (csenabled) turned on in order to have that such options in your Settings.

    • I’m having the same issue. Those settings aren’t showing up on my Surface Pro even though connected standby is back on. Regardless, great article! It has made an immediate substantial impact on my battery life from 4-5 hours to 8-8.5 hours.

  9. After doing most of the tips, my average discharge rate is around 5W. BatteryBar should allow us to set a 1 second real time update interval. I cant find Cortana. I am on the i5 version Surface Laptop Why am i seeing Processor Power Management and not Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework Settings? I personally think DPTF is better. Is it not supported by i5? My Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 is powered by Intel Atom and can use DPTF after getting the latest Windows 8.1 updates.

    • Yes it does, but is hidden by default. It only offers TDP config, all set to High by default. IDK if setting it to Nominal or Low does something, I haven’t post-tested it. I set it to Nominal on DC just for the likes of it ^^

  10. I’ve made a .reg file which reveals all the necessary power options for tweaking the battery life. Link here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvBLOpk7G74d5HokdLteLl3IaoHL

  11. Great article thanks. Can you update it with or advise on please? –

    1 Wireless Adapter Settings: Power Saving Mode: Maximum Power Saving on Battery

    I’ve left this on “Medium Power Saving” as I don’t want my Wifi performance to drop when on battery. Does Maximum Power Saving reduce performance much?

  12. I tried changing the 1 to 0 , several times- but I still don’t get the power options! any ideas?

  13. Hello and thanks for the tips!! Kudos to Ilie Codrut Ban with whose .reg file inserted, BatteryBar on my Surface pro 4, showed an impressive jump of 6 hours remaining to 10!! Of course , in Battery saver mode, but again impressive! Did nothting else more. Thanks for everything!

  14. This tutorial no longer seems to work (advanced options no longer appears), but Codrut Ban’s reg file seems to have done the trick. Very appreciative.

  15. My universal battery policy for Surface devices is to never use the system on battery, and to treat the battery as an emergency power backup only. I have owned SP2, SP3 and SP4 and in all these devices, I have simply always followed the simple rule to never use them on battery, so that the battery remains like new with all cycles available. I have found there is always a power plug anywhere I need or desire to use the systems, and so I just treat them like they have no battery.

    If I -should- need to use the battery, like in some emergency, I know the battery is still like new in all my tablets and can be used by special and rare exception if necessary. In this way, the lifetime of the device can be extended from a couple of years to a number of decades since there is nothing wearing out.

    • might be smart for you to enable the battery Limit option in the BIOS, it’s thought for kiosk use and could be help you keep your battery in a good state

  16. I assume that all these tips also apply to the Surface Laptop 3??

  17. This is worth a read as well for battery longevity:https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/battery-limit

  18. this is a completely stupid power setting. i have a 2020 HP Spectre 13. It has modern standby and very few power options. I want to change this one setting (below) to “prevent idling to sleep” while on battery. is this possible?

    Multimedia settings When sharing media on battery: Allow the computer to sleep plugged in: Prevent idling to sleep

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