When we think about reducing power consumption of our systems, it's typically through more efficient hardware. Improvements in manufacturing allowing for die shrinks is a clear way to reduce power consumption, but there's also something that software can do.
Microsoft claims that Windows 7 will be better than Windows XP or Windows Vista in power management.
"With Windows 7 we've gone a lot further, focusing on core innovation to enable energy efficiency, when both in use and in idle mode," said Elliot Katz, Windows Client product manager for Microsoft Canada, in an ITBusiness story. "And not only have we focused on the OS, but we continue to be engaged directly with our hardware and software partners to continue to improve the efficiency. The whole world is looking at being more energy efficient, and with Windows 7, we've taken some strong steps on delivering that from an OS perspective."
Windows 7 now manages hibernation and standby modes more reliably and efficiently, thus now users would likely be more inclined to use those features rather than leaving the computer on all the time. Furthermore, new IT management and troubleshooting tools are built into Windows 7 to help improve power management. These tools will also help diagnose devices and applications that are causing power issues.
The upcoming operating system is also smarter in power management when idle. Katz said that Windows 7 is better able to manage power saving at times even between keystrokes, which should not only reduce the electricity bill but also stretch laptop battery times.
"PCs are idle for long amounts of time and short amounts of time, and idle efficiency is critical because that's where you gain a lot of power savings," said Katz. "When it's one of those days where you have lots of meetings and you forget to bring your power supply, these kinds of features really help your battery go a lot further."