Warning: Vista May Drain Laptop Batteries

PC World is warning laptop users about the increased processor power that Windows Vista may use to power some of its flashy graphics. Thankfully, it seems like the problem can be avoided by using Vista’s battery optimization features.

    “If Vista is run in full Aero mode, with none of the Vista-provided power management settings turned on, it is likely to demand more power, and have an impact on battery life,” said Dell spokesman Ira Williams, in an e-mail interview. “That said, if you run Vista in battery-optimized mode (using a non-3D interface), we would not expect the battery life to be significantly different from XP in that scenario.”

So, if you’re upgrading to Vista and you’re really excited about those Aero windows, understand that they may come with a price, at least while on the go. —MEGHANN MARCO

Vista Could Sap Notebook PC Battery Life [PC World]

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  1. This is very similar to the complaints people had about battery life in Apple laptops nowhere near as optimized as when running OS 9… well.. duh?

  2. It ought to be interesting (when Vista is finally available in stores) to install it on a MacBook Pro and test battery life times in Mac OS X versus Vista.

    I’m betting Vista gets about 60% of the battery life of OS X on the same hardware. Unless you switch Aero off – which will give you a Vista machine that appears to be an XP machine.

  3. I’m running the beta and the battery life drain is certainly an issue. Thanks for the optimization tip.

  4. Sam says:


    Let me preface that this is not a jab at Consumerist, it’s a jab at PC World.

    “…if you run Vista in battery-optimized mode (using a non-3D interface), we would not expect the battery life to be significantly different from XP in that scenario.”

    How is this news?

    If you optimize Vista, you get the same performance as an optimized install of XP. Where’s the battery-eating?

    Vista eats up more battery life because people have more stuff running (most notably, Aero). It’d be different if vista was eating up because of bad code. But it’s not (debatable for some, but you get the idea).

    Would it be news if I said “Running XP with visual themes turned on uses up your battery faster than running XP without themes”?

    It seems to me that there’s a certain amount of crying wolf going on.

    Though, I’ll be happier when something equivalent to Speedswitch XP is released. (It’s a program to better control Speedstep in some notebook processors.) That program made a big difference in battery life for me.

    Anyhow, I’m waiting for the “Vista poisons babies” story to break…*checks Fox News*

  5. I hate to contradict so readily, yet all the comments including the story on this seem to be pure speculation as no one has admitted to actually testing this theory as Bruce Gain (wired magazine) did. Of course, this is only one test subject out of countless possible combinations. However I find it to be better evidence than the speculations that I see here.

    “During my test, I ran the laptop at full load — complete with a sample picture menu, 10 Internet Explorer windows open and a DVD of Endless Summer playing. The battery lasted 3 hours and 5 minutes with Vista, compared to just 2 hours and 35 minutes with Windows XP. Both XP and Vista became glitchy under the load with only 512 MB of memory, but the applications managed to run.”

    I would say that this is such a significant difference that maybe there should be more DOing and less TALKing.

    I do understand the argument that there are many variables at play here, but why dont we just test it instead of blabbing about it? I will start tomorrow. I have access to a lab with over 20 different notebook configurations available. Any suggestions?