Windows 11 Draining Your Battery? Here’s How to Fix It

As you’re well aware, your laptop probably won’t make it through an entire day without connecting it to a power source at least once. It’s the price you sometimes pay for the convenience of having a portable computer, but there are other ways to extend your battery life just a little bit more.

If you’re on Windows 11, there are several tips and tricks, like stopping applications from constantly refreshing in the background or decreasing the time for your lock screen timeout, that can help conserve your PC’s battery life. Here’s what you need to know.

Are you still on Windows 10 and want to update? Here’s what you need to do before you can download Windows 11. And if you’re already running Windows 11, we can explain how to help minimize distractions and stay focused, as well as how to free up disk space when your storage is getting full.

Windows 11 Draining Your Battery? Here’s How to Fix It

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Stop apps from refreshing in the background

Applications on your computer run in the background, which allows them to continue working even if you’re not actively using them. For example, they can send you notifications when you receive a text message, email or comment on social media. However, you don’t always need your apps refreshing, especially when you’re low on battery, which is why you can stop them from doing so:

1. Open the Settings app and go into System.

2. Click Power & battery.

3. Under Battery click Turn on now (you must be unplugged from a power source).

Once enabled, certain notifications and background activity will be paused to help extend your battery life. 

power & battery menu in Windows 11

If your battery falls under a certain percentage, the battery saver feature automatically turns on.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

You can also mess with a couple of settings to improve the battery saver feature: you can change the battery percentage for when battery saver is enabled and lower your screen brightness when using battery saver.

Lower the refresh rate for your display

The refresh rate is how often the image on your screen refreshes every second: the higher the rate, the smoother the motion on your screen appears. For example, if you’re playing a video game, you want the highest refresh rate possible. Unfortunately for your battery, a higher refresh rate also means more power. If you don’t need a high refresh rate, you can lower it to help conserve battery:

1. Open the Settings app and click System.

2. Next, go into Display and then Advanced display.

3. Finally, change the number displayed next to Choose a refresh rate.

Depending on your laptop or desktop, you may see a different refresh rate number as your default. If you only have one refresh rate option, unfortunately there is no way for you to lower it. 

Refresh rate settings on Windows 11

Choose a lower refresh rate to help preserve battery.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Also, it’s important to be aware that if you lower the refresh rate, it will affect your computer’s performance. In certain instances, this may make it more difficult to do regular tasks.

Use a dark background or theme

If your Windows 11 computer has an OLED display, then it can take advantage of a dark background or theme to help improve battery life. Unlike older LCD/LED displays, each pixel is individually illuminated on an OLED display, which means that if the background is black, those pixels won’t light up and use the battery.

1. Open the Settings app and click Personalization.

2. At the top of the page, choose one of the dark themes.

There are a few dark themes to choose from. Each of them will darken your background, as well as all the windows and certain apps you can use in Windows 11. 

Personalization menu in Windows 11

Dark themes help preserve battery on OLED displays.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If you already have a personalized dark background, you can go to Settings > Personalization > Colors > Choose your mode and select Dark from the options that appear.

Decrease time for lock screen timeout

The longer your screen is on the more energy it eats up, which is why you might want your screen to quickly turn off when you step away from your computer, whether it’s for just a few minutes or an hour.

1. Open Settings and go to System

2. Next, click Power & battery.

Underneath Power you’ll find several settings for turning your display off after a certain amount of inactivity. You can change the number of minutes from whatever default you have to a lower number like 1 or 2 minutes. However, you should only change the time for the settings that are for battery power (and not when it’s plugged in to power), which is when you most need to conserve battery.

Power menu in Windows 11

You can automatically turn off your screen after 1 minute of inactivity.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET