This new Windows 10 feature could be great news for your laptop's battery life

Microsoft releases a new tool that should help developers' apps use less CPU, reduce battery usage and help stop triggering fans.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has released a new tool aimed at developers that allows them to boost battery life and cut down on issues that cause overheating, fan noise and thermal throttling. 

Microsoft's new EcoQoS is a Quality of Service (QoS) level that makes up part of its effort to be carbon negative by 2030. Microsoft announced this new tool as the world marked Earth Day and Earth Month, which has been observed in April since 1970 and encourages organizations to address the climate crisis.  

According to Microsoft, developers can opt in to EcoQoS to ensure Windows 10 devices achieve "better energy efficiency/increased battery life, reduced fan noise and power/thermal throttling."

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

This might have an impact given there are one billion Windows 10 devices in use today and those laptops and PCs are being used more intensively during the pandemic for work, online games, and video meetings. 

Microsoft explains that "higher clock speeds provide higher performance but with exponentially higher power consumption"

"This higher power drain can result in worse battery life, higher temperatures, and louder fan noise. Not all tasks require the absolute highest performance, so Windows dynamically reconfigures the processor to provide the proper balance of performance and power efficiency," says Microsoft's Windows Fundamentals program manager Raymond Li

EcoQoS is rolling out with the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21359, released earlier this month by Microsoft. As the program managers for the Insider program noted, there is a new experimental feature in Windows Task Manager called "Eco mode" that lets users throttle processes. If a process is consuming a lot of resources, users can dial them down and release those resources for other apps.

Users can turn on Eco mode within Task Manager and clicking on the processes tab. Then they need to right-click on a child process or an individual process and click "Eco mode" in the context menu.

The Eco mode feature is rolling out to a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel. 

By opting in, developers can ensure workloads that don't require high levels of performance or low latency can always run more efficiently. 

"Developers can call APIs to explicitly opt in their processes and threads to be identified as EcoQoS, and Windows takes care of the rest," notes Li. 

"EcoQoS is ideal for background services, updaters, sync engines, indexing services, and more, where energy efficiency is the focus," he adds. 

SEE: Microsoft revealed the latest truths about working from home. One is truly disturbing

Microsoft claims it can reduce CPU power consumption by 90% by letting developers call these APIs. It would let a computer consume less than half the CPU energy to complete the same work. 

EcoQoS is not available to all one billion Windows 10 devices yet and is targeted at mobile processors. Initially, EcoQoS is only available for Intel 10th and 11th generation mobile processors, AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series mobile processors, and Qualcomm's Arm-based system on chips for Windows 10 PCs

Microsoft, however, says it will expand EcoQoS to desktop PCs and other laptops. 

Editorial standards