We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Windows 7 slashes netbook battery life by a third

Complaints roll in about run times

Netbooks running Microsoft's new operating system Windows 7 will see their battery life slashed by a third, says a number of users.

Laptop magazine revealed that during a recent test, a Toshiba netbook lost 2.5 hours of battery life when running Windows 7 instead of XP, or about 30 percent (6:53 for Windows 7, versus 9:24 for XP).

Tom's Hardware also reported a similar finding when it tested an Acer Aspire One netbook running Windows 7 release candidate, only to find it lasted 2.5 hours less than when it ran Windows XP Service Pack 3 (5:54 versus 8:28, when both were at a low-power idle state).

Complaints have also surfaced on netbook user forums such as eeeuser.com for Asus Eee users, AspireOneUser.com for Acer netbook users and MSIWind.net for MSI fans.

The complaints follow gripes that Windows 7 hastens the vampire-like battery drain of running Windows on MacBooks, either in virtualisation or via Apple's Boot Camp software.

Long battery life is one of the key selling points of netbooks, due to their high portability. Many vendors heavily tweak their netbooks to ensure that they can run a full business day on a single charge, or more.

Microsoft previously promised that Windows 7 would improve laptop battery life by about 11 percent over Vista.

That would be due to better use of the graphics chip during tasks such as DVD playback, and improvements in the kernel so that CPU can more quickly switch to an idle state when not in use, and generally run more efficiently, Microsoft said.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment about the recent reviews and reports, but did point to a white paper, last updated June 23, 2009, describing to driver developers and hardware engineers how to optimise hardware and components for better battery life under Windows 7.

Of course, battery life for Windows Vista was widely perceived to be worse than under XP, due to its bloated codebase, which prevented Vista from running well on netbooks, as well as the poor availability of Vista drivers for many months after its launch.

Hardware drivers and how they interact with an operating system are key for battery drain. For instance, a driver that fails to let Windows turn off a Wi-Fi chip when users aren't surfing the web could accidentally result in poor battery life. Same with a graphics driver that isn't able to shift processing work from an overtaxed CPU to a fresh GPU.

NEXT PAGE: Be patient


IDG UK Sites

Nokia branding killed in place of 'Microsoft Lumia': Windows Phone moves into new era

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't buy the iPad mini 3: No wonder Apple gave it 10 seconds of stage time

IDG UK Sites

Halloween Photoshop tutorials: 13 masterclasses for horrifying art, designs and type

IDG UK Sites

Should you update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8? iOS 8.1 brings back Camera Roll, adds Apple Pay in...