Windows 10's power-throttling feature will benefit battery-hungry laptops

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Microsoft revealed today that an erstwhile Windows 10 feature called Power Throttling is making a comeback. More importantly, Microsoft is initially testing Power Throttling in Windows 10 with Windows Insiders.

According to Microsoft, "Power Throttling" is now available only for processors with Intel's Speed Shift technology, such as Intel's 6th-gen (and beyond) Core processors.

"In this latest Insider Preview build (Build 16176), we leveraged modern silicon capabilities to run background work in a power-efficient manner, thereby enhancing battery life significantly while still giving users access to powerful multitasking capabilities of Windows", Microsoft Director of Program Management Bill Karagounis explains.

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Microsoft also said it will enable the Power Throttling feature for other processors soon as well-potentially referring to both AMD processors as well as Qualcomm's ARM-based Snapdragon 835. This allows for the operating system to give the control over the chip's frequency and voltage back to the processor, where it arguably belongs. Microsoft notes that "Windows will keep the processor in its efficient ranges when you've selected "Battery Saver" or "Recommended" and turns off completely when you've selected "Best Performance". The experiment should have no noticeable impact on your user experience". Only when a foreground application-or certain classes of important background task, such as music apps-needs processor time will the processor have its speed increased. This will make sure your CPU's power and device's battery isn't being wasted on the handful of background tasks created by Google Chrome - instead, it'll be used where you actually need it. There will also be APIs to allow developers greater control over this. The company claims the new detection system for Power Throttling "works well for most apps" but the company wants Insiders to provide feedback if the detection system doesn't work as expected.

A new, sophisticated detection system in Windows 10 determines which apps are to be throttled, when and by how much, inferring by the frequency of use of other apps.

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