Vista drain a battery! and Vista Battery Saver is very useful

15 במאי 2007

34 תגובות

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Yesterday, I posted a beta version of Vista Battery Saver. It made a lot of wind over the statement, that Vista Aero Interface together with Windows Sidebar drain your laptop battery.

The same day at night, Nick White from development team wrote, that he has a hesitation about this statement in Windows Vista Blog. Even Jeff Atwood called me to stop voodooing… But now I have evidence, that approve my doubts. Here is comes.

Dell Latitude D820 with Windows Vista Ultimate on it works one hour more on battery without Aero and Sidebar running

If you do not believe me, here my proves.


Here the comparison of 20 minutes of working (regular everyday working) in my computer with and without Vista Battery Saver. It 5% difference of final charge rate. We can solve simple equation to understand, that if my battery loss 16% with Aero and 11% without in 20 minutes, it'll be completely empty within about 2 hours with and within about 3 hours without those fun features. So I was completely right, writing this simple yet useful program.

I realize, that it's possible that the part of sidebar is much more, then the part of aero, but it still makes a lot of sense to use such savers.

For those, who really interested with calculations, raw excel file is attached.

UPD 18-May-07: Following James comment, I've check the influence of hardware disabling on battery power. Results speaks for itself. Take a look.

I disabled everything I can – WiFi, DVD, wire and wireless modem, soundcard, BlueTooth, SmartCard reader and Audiocard and run the same test


Here comes the king results


For those, who need explanations – that exactly the same results as it was with Aero On. So, what's the conclusion? You tell me 🙂

Attachment updated as well with new results

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34 תגובות

  1. James16 במאי 2007 ב 12:32

    I don't think anyone would argue that the Aero interface does use extra battery power, however your results are flawed in several ways.

    1) You state that you were doing "regular everyday working" using a laptop in this way will cause large power fluctuations anyway. Loading files from un-cached locations, windows update checking, pre-fetching kicking in, drivers checking for updates, even clicking the startbar once more will cause extra cycles. Using a stored macro, or defined usage pattern will give better results.
    2) You've only have two results, using several defined runs (as part 1) each testing different parts of the OS will give a better pattern. Try stacking several bar's ontop of each other over media player another test moving windows about etc.
    3) Battery charge cycles and charge speed make a huge difference to it's discharge time. Slowly charging a battery will give a slower more linear discharge while charging quickly will give a faster higher voltage range discharge. Just charging a laptop and testing charging it again and testing is not good enough. You need to allow the laptop to cool to room temprature and charge it for enough time to fully charge +1 hour (at least) then leave it to cool again (this will help it stabilise)

    I'm bored ofpicking holes now, you never know do it properly and you may get even more spectacular results next time.

  2. tamir16 במאי 2007 ב 12:54

    James, I completely agree with you, however here is my points
    Regular work is regular work – you are right, that I'm not working in special benchmark laboratory and check each time in absolutely same enviroment. I know, that I should check it from the beginning until the end several times, but I have neither time nor wish for this. It's for sure, that after each discharge cycle my battery loss it's capabilities more and more.
    BUT, this article come only for prove the concept, that as less as I'm running on my computer, I'll save more battery and you can not disagree with me for this point. Don't you?

  3. James17 במאי 2007 ב 19:33

    Running anything on a computer will cause extra power drain so I do of course agree with you. My point was really that to test the power drain of a software feature acuratly is very hard, if you intend to save as much power as possible there are lot's of more effective ways.

    1) Screen backlight intensity
    2) Speaker's sound level,
    3) Hard disk and CD-ROM's
    4) Wifi
    5) Bluetooth
    6) Unused startup programs

    Don't get me wrong if you wish to maximise your battery life then by all means switch of aero effects, but there are many other more important things to consider first.

  4. tamir17 במאי 2007 ב 21:21

    James, thank you for your comment. You are right (as usual 🙂 ). Tomorrow, I'll try to disable everything possible to check the power saved. From other hand, you'll agree with me, for sure, that Sidebar and Aero are less functional, that WiFi for example, while running on battery. Hold up tomorrow for me to check this and post results

  5. James18 במאי 2007 ב 22:56

    "Wow" (-; That's actually a really surprising set of runs. Thanks for running the test's no-one else can be arsed to do! It would certainly appear that you were right and the extra GPU effects do make a substantial difference on battery performance.

    What GPU does your laptop have? It would be very interesting to see the test's tried on another laptop (more specifically a different GPU). Perhaps a high end nVidia or ATi dedicated chip set.

  6. tamir19 במאי 2007 ב 14:46

    Hi, James
    My machine has 512MB NVIDIA® Quadro® NVS 120M (256 own, 256 shared). You are right, it's better to run this small test on other machine. I have no other laptop, so someone could do it for me?

  7. Damina24 במאי 2007 ב 5:31

    Happy to run the same sort of test on my new laptop for you. Can you please advise what software you used to generate the graphs so I can use the same for my tests? Thanks

  8. laptops30 ביוני 2007 ב 11:34

    Lithium batteries are really dangerous when punctured They evidently go into thermal overload this is where all available energy turns into heat and the cell catches fire. As each cell in the battery heats up this in turn will catch fire and before long the whole battery is on fire. Lithium cells burn at 700 degrees Centigrade. I am surprised they allow them on aeroplanes. have battery waste solutions advertised on their website

  9. Charles M. Barnard26 ביולי 2007 ב 6:22

    LiMH batteries dangerous.

    ALL forms of energy storage are hazardous!

    Try this (outside, at your own risk, caution danger hot fire caustic chemicals–and all other warnings from attorneys.)

    Take a cheap D cell.

    Take a small bit of steel wool, about twice the volume of the cell.

    Stretch the steel wool in the middle until the two ends are connected by a piece about 1cm dia.

    Hold one end to the "+" pole of the cell.

    Keeping away from the middle of the steel wool, touch the other end to the "-" pole.

    Iron/steel burns at well over 1000 deg C.

    This is, by the way, a decent way to start a fire in the wilderness if you have a battery and a soap pad.

    The ONLY truly safe way to keep someone from bringing down an aircraft is to strip them, search with x-ray, neutron and chemical detectors, anesthese them, bind them in plastic wrap, load them into locked coffins, ship their luggage by boat or train and only awaken them upon arrival–and even then, someone will find a way.

    For over 30 years we have tried to stop skyjackers by forbiding weapons on board aircraft. Still planes were bombed, skyjacked etc..

    It is not a workable option. Never was, probably never will be.

    But terrorism is a really extreme and awful problem–why terrorists kill an average of 2,000 people world-wide per year, mostly in Israel and Malaysia.

    Obviously this is a much more important problem than the millions of people who starve each year.

    If you told the people of the 1970's about the travel restrictions currently in effect they would have protested and rioted in the streets–a visitor from that time would assume that the USSR had invaded America.

    But today's sheep, uh I mean PEOPLE, not only tolerate such limits, but have convinced themselves that they are somehow safer with them in place.

    In January 2008, US citizens will be required to show a valid passport to EXIT the country. Effectively the "land of the free" becomes a locked pasture for sheep.

    You DO know what happens to sheep eventually…?

    Oh, the software: looks useful, a joule saved is a watt earned.

    Are there other things you can do? Sure. But the interface is probably the least offensive thing to lose–the programs function perfectly without it–perhaps even more efficiently.

  10. skeevs27 ביולי 2007 ב 4:27

    I couldn't agree more that since switching to Vista(ultimate) from XP(pro) on my DELL D620, I noticed the battery life has been pathetic. What typically could've lasted for 2-2.5hrs now only lasts 1hr or less.

    I have a dedicated NVidia Quadro NVS 110M on this laptop.

    I just installed Tamir's app, so I will just gauge first based on my typical usage(usual hardware are enabled) to see how it goes.

  11. Michael10 באוגוסט 2007 ב 5:03

    This program doesn't appear to at all on my Sony Vaio. Aero is only killed when in Power Saver mode, which Vista does on its own anyway. The program does kill the sidebar sometimes, but will never bring it back once plugged in.

    I think this may be due to the way Sony's systems work with batteries. When mousing over the battery icon, the percentage of power left is the only thing that is displayed… not the actual time remaining.

    Any insight you might have would be great, though!

  12. cbhacking23 באוגוסט 2007 ב 2:47

    Michael: In Vista, I've never seen the estimated time remaining number you got with XP. That said, Sony does like to put weird proprietary stuff in their laptops, so you might be right about it not working for that reason.

    I haven't tested this yet – just read about it from the Slashdot article about the 25 best projects on CodePlex – but it looks handy. In case anybody is confused, Power Saver mode, as it is built into Vista, does not actually disable Aero; it just turns off titlebar/taskbar transparency and pauses DreamScene (if you're using it). Both these help, but your GPU is still getting hit pretty hard – the fact that Flip3D and Taskbar Thumbnails still work is proof enough of that.

    Turning off the desktop compositing should save considerable power; on machines with a dedicated GPU it's an extra power-consuming chip you can turn off, on machines with Integrated graphics it will make it possible to slow the CPU way down, which also saves power (Vista automatically downclocks the CPU if it isn't being heavily loaded, unless you're in High Performance mode).

  13. battery new16 באוקטובר 2007 ב 12:45

    Lenovo will not gurantee us that we have cells that are not defective. In fact they have confirmed that our Lenovo battery packs have the same battery cells that are know to be contaminated. I am very upset that Lenovo is not doing a similar recall of the known contaminated cells!

  14. rei30 באוקטובר 2007 ב 1:23

    This is ridiculous.

    How much batteries Sidebar drains depends on what kind of gadgets are running. Some gadgets chew up 100% CPU time; some use 0.

    Your benchmarks are meaningless until you tell us which gadgets are running.

    Try running the same benchmark with Aero on and only slow animated static gadgets running — ie, the clock, currency, calendar, notepad, weather etc.

  15. Tamir Khason30 באוקטובר 2007 ב 11:01

    Rei, you are right, however I measured general performance. That's right, it dependes on many factors (including hardware provides and patches installed), however, as you can see this measurements done on my machine, with stuff, I'm running

  16. Mike17 בנובמבר 2007 ב 23:00

    Installing VBS do i have to uninstall my current Power Manager from my OEM?

    I am using power maximizer from lenovo.

  17. Tamir Khason18 בנובמבר 2007 ב 9:56

    Mike, absolutely not. You have not uninstall anything. VBS works aside with any of OEM software. It makes your notebook works even more.

  18. atal20 בפברואר 2008 ב 20:13

    its really working

  19. atal20 בפברואר 2008 ב 20:14

    yo its really working

  20. popcorn-man4 באפריל 2008 ב 12:07

    vista battery saver FTW!! without VBS, i get about 2-2.25 hrs battery life and now i can even get 3.25!! that said, my laptop is powerful [2ghz core2duo, 3gb ram…] and sometimes i only get 2.25hrs with battery saver, but at least its more than without it!!

  21. money saver4 באפריל 2008 ב 21:47

    This program should be useful for desktop computers as well.
    Disabling the the power hungry features should reduce my electric utility bill.

    Thankyou for helping me save money…. and making my pc more green.

  22. battery16 ביוני 2008 ב 7:00

    Thank you for this outstanding article.I thought Centrino was the best technology for laptop battery performance.

  23. batteries16 ביוני 2008 ב 9:07

    thanks,Other small improvements in battery life may be gained by the ability to turn off USB ports individually to save power.

  24. tool battery16 ביוני 2008 ב 9:11

    good article,How about not keeping your laptop battery plugged in all the time. Take it out when you are using the power cord.

  25. laptop battery16 ביוני 2008 ב 9:13

    thanks,How about not keeping your laptop battery plugged in all the time. Take it out when you are using the power cord.

  26. laptop battery5 ביולי 2008 ב 10:44

    Thank you for this outstanding article.I thought Centrino was the best technology for laptop battery performance.

  27. cheap batteries30 ביולי 2008 ב 5:52

    good method,Here is another tip for you. Just keep your laptop turned off, and your laptop battery will stay fresh.

  28. AboutOnlineTips17 באוגוסט 2008 ב 22:08

    I will indeed try for at lest once..Vista consumes a lot of energy man!!

  29. Brandon24 באוקטובר 2008 ב 8:58

    How do you get the program?

  30. zhi1 בדצמבר 2008 ב 23:15

    Does anyone know of a similar program that works in Windows XP? The feature I particularly want to have is to be able to control when a laptop with both AC and battery should charge the battery. My situation is, even with AC plugged in and a fully charged battery inside, the battery will somehow show to be 99% left. Then the battery begins to charge… I do not want the charging taking place all the time; so what I want is a software with which I can tell only below what % charge left should I let the AC charge the battery.