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Identifying Battery-Draining Problems in Windows 8.1

written by: •edited by: Ryan Tetzlaff•updated: 5/26/2015

This article will show you how to run an energy audit of your computer or Windows 8.1 tablet to pinpoint areas where you can improve battery performance and power usage.

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    Battery Drain Got You Down?

    Nothing hinders productivity quite like that low-battery warning when you’re trying to knock out some work on a long flight. Even when you’ve done due diligence by disabling Wi-Fi and dimming the display, there never seems to be quite enough juice. Although Windows can’t solve that problem entirely, it can analyze your system for potential drains and present its findings in a comprehensive report. Furthermore, this little-known feature isn’t designed exclusively to combat battery-drain; it’s also useful for conserving energy while plugged in, so you can do your part for a greener tomorrow at home or on the road.

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    • Right-click the Windows 8.1 Start button and click Command Prompt (Admin). Alternatively, type CMD in the Windows Search screen, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator. Click Yes or enter an administrator password if you see an authentication dialog.

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    • Type the following command at the prompt and press Enter to start the scan: powercfg -energy

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    • Wait 60 seconds for Windows to observe your system and generate an energy report. However, you cannot open this report directly from its present location using your browser, because you’ll encounter an error. Presumably, this is some Windows security feature to restrict access to files in system folders. Therefore, you must first copy it out of the System32 folder.
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    • Type the following command at the prompt and press Enter to copy the report to the C:\ root folder: copy c:\windows\system32\energy-report.html c:\
    • Alternatively, open that folder in File Explorer and drag the report to the C:\ location in the left pane.

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    • Type the following command at the prompt and press Enter to open the report in your default browser:c:\energy-report.html
    • If you already have File Explorer open, locate the file in the C:\ folder and double-click it to open it in your browser.

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    • Look through the report for problem areas and recommendations to achieve better energy efficiency.
    • In this snippet from a report, you can see the computer is anything but energy efficient. The Power Options are set to High Performance and sleep is disabled while running on battery and when plugged in. There’re also some BIOS tweaks, such as Radio Power Policy PCI Express ASPM features, that could be made. And that’s just the few items in this partial list.
    • Your full report will likely be lengthy with many possible recommendations, too many for this article to cover. However, the report describes them well enough that you can search keywords online to find further instructions, if needed.


  • Screenshots taken by author.