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Windows 10 will have a feature that throttles background apps to save battery

By Bryan Chan & Koh Wanzi - on 20 Apr 2017, 9:50am

Windows 10 will have a feature that throttles background apps to save battery

Rogue background apps suck a ton of juice on your phone, and the same goes for your laptop as well. As it turns out, Microsoft is cooking up a new feature that it says can help deal with the problem by forcing background tasks to run more efficiently.

In the latest Windows Insider Preview build (Build 16176), the company introduced something it calls 'Power Throttling' that can reportedly extend battery life without affecting performance too much.

If you have a 6th generation Skylake CPU or newer (it requires Intel’s Speed Shift technology to work), Windows can place the CPU in its most energy efficient mode when background tasks are active. In other words, these tasks still get completed, but they might just take longer and require less power.

In addition, Microsoft says it is working on expanding support to older processors, so you don’t necessarily have to own new hardware to benefit.

Of course, this raises concerns about performance, and you’re likely worried about overzealous application of the feature that could end up hampering the performance of an application you’re currently using.

The Task Manager will show which tasks are being power throttled. (Image Source: Microsoft)

However, Power Throttling is supposedly smart enough to detect which apps are important and which can be throttled. For instance, it looks at the demands of various apps and user interactions to identify whether a certain app is in the foreground, whether it’s playing music, and so on.

That said, the feature will probably take some time to perfect, which is why Microsoft is still testing it in an Insider Preview build and collecting feedback.

Fortunately, there will be the option to exclude certain apps from being throttled, or even scale back Power Throttling entirely (you control how aggressive you want it to be using a slider).

Power Throttling also differs slightly from Apple’s App Nap, which conserves power by pausing or slowing down an app. In comparison, Microsoft’s implementation governs the CPU directly and limits hardware resources available to the apps in question.

Source: Windows Experience Blog