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QOTW: Has Windows 7 Affected Your Battery Life?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 60 comments

Today we're learned that Microsoft was investigating an issue concerning the battery life of notebooks running Windows 7.

Windows 7 users have been complaining about battery problems on Microsoft's official forums since June of last year, months before Redmond pushed out the full, public release Windows 7. Some complain that their battery life has dropped significantly, while others say the OS is suggesting they go as far as to replace their battery with a brand new one.

One user named tigger1962 says,

"Until yesterday it used [to] state that I had 7 hours battery life after a full charge; today after a full charge, it states that I have 4 hours left. I've only had it on now 15 minutes and my charge has now gone down to 2 hours 24 minutes."

Reverting to Windows XP or Vista doesn't work and neither does charging the laptop while it is off or booting to another OS to charge.

Has installing Windows 7 had a negative effect on your battery? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • 1 Hide
    theuerkorn , February 3, 2010 6:49 PM
    Don't know, computer came pre-installed with Win7 x64. (Acer) Battery life seems normal, but not great. (certainly not the rated 3.5 hours, but that could be marketing)
  • 1 Hide
    graymen , February 3, 2010 6:49 PM
    After installing Win 7 on my Acer Aspire 5920 my battery life went from ~2 hours to about 20 minutes. wtf? Now Win 7 recommends that I replace my battery. Seems a bit fishy to me but I typically dont go far from a power outlet when using it so its not usually a big deal.
  • 1 Hide
    tethoma , February 3, 2010 6:52 PM
    So your suggesting in that last sentence that Windows 7 has some how physically hurt the battery life even if you installed a different OS? I have a feeling that last sentence is a typo or something.

    Yes windows 7 has lowered my battery life by roughly 10% on an Compaq 2510P when coming from XP. I am sure if I put XP back on, that I could get that 10% back, but since I get 7 hours of life its more than enough still.
  • Display all 60 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , February 3, 2010 6:52 PM
    no battery issues on my laptop (Lenovo T500).

    It came with vista, and I got a copy of win7 to replace that. I can still get 2-4hrs of use and the battery life gauge frequently reads 6-7hrs.

    Interesting that the 2 posters above me both have Acer laptops.
  • 0 Hide
    rembo666 , February 3, 2010 6:53 PM
    Huh, I haven't seen that. I installed Win7 on several laptops and no complaints so far.
  • 2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , February 3, 2010 6:54 PM
    So what is this suggesting that windows 7 causes a battery to loose capacity to hold a charge? Ridiculous sounding imo.
  • 6 Hide
    jerreece , February 3, 2010 6:58 PM
    Ever since I installed Windows 7 on my PCs, I've noticed all my batteries have gotten worse too! The AA batteries in my TV Remote (which are rechargeable) and the AA and AAA batteries in my 2 year old's toys need constant recharging. :( 

    Obviously I'm being sarcastic. I'm not thinking the OS itself can have some sort of physical and permanent affect on a laptop battery's ability to hold and keep a charge. That just doesn't make any sense.
  • 4 Hide
    jerreece , February 3, 2010 7:00 PM
    LOL ON second thought, maybe Win 7 partitions the laptop battery and stores the original battery life in the backup partition. Just like it does when you install over XP or Vista. :) 
  • -3 Hide
    zelannii , February 3, 2010 7:01 PM
    It hasn't hurt the battery that I can tell, but I can say my wife's MacBook Pro runs for well over 6 hours, even with the 9600GPU active and WiFi enabled, under OS 10.6. With Win 7 running in a VM, it runs about 5 hours (much heavier RAM and disk IO lolad running 2 OS concurrently, so that's not surprising). However, that VM is actually a boot camp partition, and if I boot into it directly, the machine won't last 3 hours on a full charge. It's not recommending battery replacement, but it runs it down way faster... I can confirm, it;s not just a bad sensor, as once Windows 7 goes down, booting into OS X confirms the battery only has a few minutes left in it.

    Win 7 is recommending battery replacement on another older notebook i have, but I can't say that's a problem as it won't run 5 minutes anyway on a charge, that battery's long since passed it's usable life... i use it exclusively while plugged in. i only keep the battery in it as it gives me a cushion on usabiltiy if I have to change seats in the living room (and thus outlets) or if our 2yrold gets a hold of it...
  • 0 Hide
    datawrecker , February 3, 2010 7:01 PM
    I have installed Win 7 on three Dell laptops and have not seen any changes in battery life. One of the laptops has seen installs from XP and Vista as well, none of which decreased battery life.
  • 0 Hide
    michaelahess , February 3, 2010 7:03 PM
    On my Lenovo R60, no. On my Dell Mini 9 I have about a 10 minute shorter period with win 7 vs osx, but I don't think that's this problem.
  • 8 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , February 3, 2010 7:05 PM
    Absolutely no problem for me. I don't have a laptop! :lol: 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2010 7:14 PM
    i have a lenovo y550 ideapad, which came with vista when i got it, since i installed Win7 i have actually seen a slight improvement in the battery life prediction from the system, although the actual battery life hasn't changed at all
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2010 7:17 PM
    i have a lenovo, battery meter has become slightly more accurate in my opinion, but actual battery life is the same
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , February 3, 2010 7:21 PM
    Nope, no battery problems for me

    (except when I forget to charge it after using it all day on battery)
  • 0 Hide
    SAL-e , February 3, 2010 7:29 PM
    jerreece... I'm not thinking the OS itself can have some sort of physical and permanent affect on a laptop battery's ability to hold and keep a charge. That just doesn't make any sense.

    Actually the OS can permanently damage the battery. The problem starts with the hardware and the charging circuit used in the laptop. Lithium batteries are very sensitive and quickly can be damaged if not charged properly. If the charging logic is moved into the driver there is small chance that due to software bug could overcharge the battery and destroy it. For example the OS sends command for quick charge, but battery heats up the driver should detect that and reduce the current. If the battery gets hot its life is reduced significantly. That is why many people recommend to charge your battery only to 60% of its capacity in order to protect the battery. And if you working plugged-in most of the time the best thing to do is to remove the battery. It is much cheaper to get $40 UPS then using notebooks battery as UPS.

    I am sure MS will figure it quickly.
  • -4 Hide
    seraphimcaduto , February 3, 2010 7:44 PM
    yes, I'm running a macbook unibody and I can get 4.5 hours while on OSX, but only 2ish hours on windows 7. I am really hoping for a fix since having both OSX and Windows 7 has been a timesaver for me.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2010 7:45 PM
    Lenovo T500 - Just under a yer old.
    Was shipped to me with Vista, and they gave me a free upgrade to Win7 (full install disc).

    My battery life has gone down since the switch. I know my laptop (I use it every day), and was very used to what I could/could not get out of it in terms of battery life throughout a day.

    Vista - I could squeeze just over 7 hours out of the battery (mid-screen brightness, wi-fi enabled.)

    Win7 - Same configuration as Vista, it gets about 45 minutes less.

    The change in battery occurred immediately after installing Win7. Yes my bios is up to date.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2010 7:47 PM
    Windows 7 actually tripled the life of my battery on my D630 latitude, I think most people are not logical as they forgot to reset their power options (aka balanced in win 7 = power user in vista and = balanced in win XP) (aka power saver = normal in vista = balanced + in win XP)
  • 0 Hide
    vanka , February 3, 2010 8:15 PM
    I too started experiencing extremely short battery life rather suddenly after installing Windows 7. I use my laptop on AC power 90% of the time, and Vista always gave me decent battery life (apx 2 hrs, but that's with a 17" screen and dual internal hdds). After installing Windows 7 I noticed that the battery starts dropping visibly as soon as I unplug the AC power, taking just a couple of minutes to drop to the low 80% level; in addition to this I keep receiving notifications that I should replace my battery. All this happens even though a week before installing 7 the battery was working like new. I just assumed that it decided to die spontaneously, but reading this I'm being to wonder if that's really the case.
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