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Why Is a PC Battery Draining in One Hour or Less?

In the laptop world, the battery is the great equalizer. No matter how cheap or expensive your rig is, they’ll all suffer from battery degradation. If you can’t take your laptop with you and use it away from the power cord, you might as well own a desktop. Normal, expected wear is typically the culprit for poor battery performance, but other issues could be making the problem worse.

Typical Battery Wear

The battery in your laptop degrades as you use it. The more you switch from the power cord to the battery, the quicker it degrades. Unless your laptop or battery is brand new, this is likely the issue. Dell warns that your laptop battery will show a “noticeable reduction in run time” within just 18 to 24 months of use.

If you’re a power user, expect to notice the reduction in less than 18 months. The only way to really remedy the situation is to buy a replacement battery; you can’t bring your current one back from the dead.

Screen Considerations

Microsoft warns that your laptop’s screen can use up more power than any other component in your PC. If your screen’s brightness is cranked to the highest setting, you’ll lose battery life a lot quicker than you would with the brightness set to half or less. You can adjust brightness in the Settings charm by clicking “Brightness” and adjusting the slider.

In Desktop Mode, you can also click the classic battery icon in the system trey and switch to the “Power Saver” power plan. This dims your screen while you are using the battery, but it also alters other settings to help increase battery life.


Even if you have a powerful laptop capable of running many programs and apps at once, your battery may not be able to handle such strain. The more programs you have open at once, the more power your computer needs to keep each one up and running.

Similarly, resource-intensive programs like PC games will drain your battery much quicker than checking your email or writing a text document will. While your computer is on battery power, only open and use the programs you actually need at the time, closing them fully when you’re done.

Hardware in Use

Similar to running too much software at once, your battery life is shortened by your computer’s hardware components. Turning off hardware you’re not using can go a long way in extending battery life. If you’re not using the Internet, turn off Wi-Fi in the PC Settings’ Wireless menu.

To take this strategy further, edit your power plan’s advanced plan settings to put compatible hardware into low power modes when you are running the laptop on its battery.

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