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Which Windows “Power Plan” Should You Use?

By default, Windows sets the Power Plan to Balanced. This allows your computer to automatically increase CPU speed as demand increases and reduce it when less processing power is needed. Most modern CPUs will do this automatically unless the setting is changed in the BOIS.

Windows comes with 3 predefined Power Plans. They are named Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance. Power Plans are a group of recommended settings to control your computers power consumption. For example, Power Saver mode adjust settings to reduce the load on your battery which in turn would allow your laptop to run longer. The downside is performance and screen brightness are sacrificed to increase run time. Your computer manufacturer may have included a custom power plan.

Built-in Windows Power Plans


Increases your CPU speed as processing demand rises and decreases it as necessary to reduce power consumption.  This is plan is set by default and meets the needs of most users.

Power Saver

Reduces CPU speed, monitor brightness, and other components are set to low power mode to reduce power consumption. This plan sacrifices performance for increased battery life. Laptops will automatically switch to Power Saver when the battery has 20% remaining.

High Performance

The CPU speed is not decreased during periods of low demand. However, some systems may not honor this setting and still reduce the available CPU cores. If this occurs consult your manufacture for the correct BOIS settings that need to be adjusted. Other components like the monitor brightness, graphics, and WiFi are set to maximum performance.

When should you tweak your power settings?

Although most users will never need to adjust their power settings, there are instants when tweaking them resolves issues with devices and components. Often these issues arise when the computer power plan is set to Power Saver which make Windows very aggressive to save power. This can sometimes cause components and devices to malfunction.

External devices stop functioning after a period:  Depending on your set up this can be caused by either the USB or PCI Express power settings. Set the USB selective suspend and PCI Express Link Power Management to disabled.

Computer freezes or very slow to respond: If the issue occurs after the computer has been idle for a while, set the Hard Disk to “Turn off hard disk after” to 0 minutes.

WiFi disconnects: If you have already ruled out a poor wireless signal or malfunctioning hardware, try setting the Wireless Adapter Settings to “Power Saving Mode” Maximum Performance.

If you need help finding the power settings options in Windows, take a look at “3 Simple Ways to Change Power Settings”.

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