Ultimate Tips to Max Out Surface Pro 4 Battery Life

This is the ultimate tips to keep your Surface Pro 4 battery life last longer as possible when you are in the class, meeting or working on the site.

This guide has been updated on November 22, 2016 to reflect the new Settings and limitation available on Windows 10 anniversary update.

The Surface Pro 4 is a major upgrade of the Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft, announced on October 6, 2015. Microsoft has kept the footprint of the device to be the same as its predecessor while pushing the display size up to 0.3 inches more and a thinner designed with just 8.4 mm.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has a lot of improvements in term of battery life. However, if you need to stay long in a classroom or a meeting, in this guide, we have useful tips to help you to extend your Surface Pro 4 battery life.

  1. Real-time battery discharging monitoring
  2. Surface Pro optimization power plan
  3. Optimize Cortana Settings
  4. Turn off Wi-Fi while asleep
  5. Reduce display brightness
  6. Disable startup programs
  7. Surf with Microsoft Edge
  8. Turn on Battery Saver
  9. Turn off Bluetooth radio
  10. More tips to extend Surface Pro 4 battery life

1 Real-time battery discharging monitoring

Before we deep dive into how to max out the battery life on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, we need to know how to track battery discharging in your current configuration. By monitoring the battery discharging we are able to know about:

  • How much power being used in the whole system in real-time.
  • What activities that will use much power to process.
  • Compare power usage when you customize your system configuration.

As my experience, BatteryBar is the best battery monitoring tool out there. It has all features that we need to monitor battery discharging in real-time. Below is all the basic real-time battery information that available:

Real-Time Battery Discharging Monitoring

Above is the battery information captured on Surface Pro 3. Surface Pro 4 has a slightly smaller battery capacity. For more information check out this article How Much Your Surface Battery Capacity in mAh?

As you can see my current Discharge Rate is 3,539 mW or 3.5W and with 82.9% of battery capacity, so it means that with current system configuration and activities my battery life still remains 6 hours and 16 minutes.

Click here to download BatteryBar For Windows

Now you got the idea, to get more battery life you will need to minimize discharge rate as possible. Now it’s time to max out your Surface Pro 4 battery life, please check out the following tips:

2 Surface Pro Optimization power plan

Every Microsoft Surface devices shipped with a predefined power plan called Balanced with a very few advanced configurations as below:

Default Balanced Power Plan on Microsoft Surface

The limited power configuration in Advanced Settings because of Connected Standby feature that enabled by default on every Surface devices. In order to create a new power plan with optimized advanced settings, we need to disable connected standby via Registry Editor.

To turn off connected standby, on your type cover, press + R, and type regedit to open Register Editor. Now you need to go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power

Double click on CsEnabled and change Value data from 1 to 0, and click OK.

Configure Connected Standby via Registry Editor

You need to restart your computer to apply these changes to your system. After restarting your computer, now you can access the full list of Power Plan Advanced Settings.

Full List of Power Advanced Settings

Before we move on to create the Surface Pro Optimization Power Plan, here are all settings of Balanced Power Plan that we will copy for our new power plan:

OptionsOn batteryPlugged in
Require a password on wake-upYesYes
Hard disk
Turn off hard disk after
1 Minute1 Minute
Internet Explorer
JavaScript Timer Frequency
Maximum Power SavingsMaximum Performance
Desktop background settings
Slideshow
PausedAvailable
Wireless Adapter Settings
Power Saving Mode
Medium Power SavingMaximum Performance
Sleep
Hibernate after
180 Minutes180 Minutes
Allow wake timesDisableImportant Wake Timers Only
USB settings
USB selective suspend setting
EnabledEnabled
Intel(R) Graphics Settings
Intel(R) Graphic Power Plan
BalancedBalanced
Power buttons and lid
Lid close action
SleepSleep
Power button actionSleepSleep
PCI Express
Link State Power Management
Maximum power savingsModerate power savings
Processor power management
Minimum processor state
5%5%
System cooling policyPassiveActive
Maximum processor state100%100%
Display
Turn off display after
4 Minutes10 Minutes
Display brightness40%100%
Dimmed display brightness50%50%
Enable adaptive brightnessOnOn
Multimedia settings
When sharing media
Allow the computer to sleepPrevent idling to sleep
When playing videoBalancedOptimise video quality
Battery
Critical battery action
HibernateHibernate
Low battery level6%6%
Critical battery level2%2%
Low battery notificationOnOn
Low battery actionDo nothingDo nothing
Reserve battery level4%4%

To create the Surface Pro Optimization power plan based on Balanced power plan:

  1. Right-click on Start > Control Panel
  2. Navigate to Hardware and Sound > Power Options
  3. On the left navigation pane, click Create a power plan
  4. type “Surface Pro Optimization” in the Plan name textbox. You can also use whatever name you want here:

Creating a new Surface Pro Power Plan

After creating the power plan, you will need to Change advanced power settings as below:

Change Advanced Power Settings of Surface Pro Optimization Power Plan

Here are all the settings that you will need to change in the new power plan.

OptionsOn batteryPlugged in
Internet Explorer
JavaScript Timer Frequency
Maximum Power SavingsMaximum Performance
Wireless Adapter Settings
Power Saving Mode
Maximum Power SavingMaximum Performance
Sleep
Hibernate after
30 Minutes180 Minutes
Intel(R) Graphics Settings
Intel(R) Graphic Power Plan
Maximum Battery LifeBalanced or
Maximum Performance
PCI Express
Link State Power Management
Maximum power savingsModerate power savings
Processor power management
Minimum processor state
5%5%
System cooling policyPassiveActive
Maximum processor state30% – Maximum Underclocking
50% – Medium Underclocking
99% – Full Speed (without Turbo Boost)
100% – Full Speed (with Turbo Boost)
Display
Turn off display after
4 Minutes10 Minutes
Display brightness25%100%
Dimmed display brightness50%50%
Enable adaptive brightnessOffOn
Multimedia settings
When sharing media
Allow the computer to sleepPrevent idling to sleep
When playing videoOptimise power savingsOptimise video quality

After finish changing, click OK to accept all changes.

Note: After creating the power plan, you will need to turn on Connected Standby feature by change Valuedata of CsEnabled to 1 and restart your computer.

3 Optimize Cortana Settings

Cortana is a Windows 10 voice assistant, she runs in the background at all time to track your activities including speaking, inking, and typing personalisation. She uses your internet connection to send those data to the Cortana server, and also synchronize suggestions, reminders,  alerts and personalization information for you.

As you can see, those activities will definitely eat up your battery life. If you want to max out your battery life, you need to optimize the Cortana settings to do little things as possible. To do so, click on Cortana icon > Settings and turn off all options there.

Turn off Cortana completely on Windows 10 anniversary update

Since Windows 10 anniversary, you can’t disable Cortana completely via the Settings anymore. To disable Cortana you need to change the Computer Configuration via Local Group Policy Editor.

To do that:

  1. Click Start and type “gpedit.msc” and press Enter.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
  3.  Double-click on Allow Cortana to change the policy.
  4. Select Disabled.
  5. Click Apply and OK

Disable Cortana on Windows 10 anniversary update via gpedit.msc

4 Turn off Wi-Fi while asleep

While connected standby is turned on Surface devices, when you hit the power button on your device, It will go into a sleep mode instead of being turned off your device or put your device into hibernation. It works just like your phone and other tablets, your Surface will remain connected to the WiFi to receive emails and notifications.

You can save more battery by turning the WiFi off while your device in sleep mode. To do so, go to Settings > System > Power & sleep and uncheck the “On battery power, stay connected to network while asleep” checkbox under Network connection section.

5 Reduce display brightness

Display brightness can use more power than other parts of your computer. For Surface, Microsoft has recommended 25% of brightness for getting longer battery life. You might also need to turn off screen brightness auto adjustment to make sure that the brightness you set is good enough for watching.

To turn off automatic brightness adjustment goes to SettingsSystemDisplay and turn off Change brightness automatically when lighting changes.

Turn off Change brightness automatically when lighting changes

6 Disable startup programs

You can benefit from a faster boot time, reduce your system loads, and save more power juices by disabling unimportant startup programs. To disable startup programs:

  1. Go to Task Manager
  2. Click on Start-up.
  3. Select all programs that you want to disable and click on Disable button.

Disable Startup Programs

7 Surf with Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is an optimized Web Browser for Windows 10 and also Microsoft Surface. According to a discussion on Reddit, while you viewing videos on the youtube, Microsoft Edge using H.264 codec which allows Intel Skylake processor to natively decode with much less CPU power consumption.

Similarly, for Netflix streaming test that Microsoft conducted on identical Microsoft Surface Books, Microsoft Edge is the best battery efficiency.

Google Chrome Tweaks

However, if you are using Google Chrome you can disable Flash Player plugin and install H264IFY to solve this problem. To disable flash player plugin, go to Chrome address bar and type: chrome://plugins, and click on Disable under Adobe Flash Player as below:

Disable Google Chrome Adobe Flash Player Plugin To install h264ify extension, you can go to this URL:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/h264ify/aleakchihdccplidncghkekgioiakgal

8 Turn on Battery Saver

Battery Saver is a new feature in Windows 10, by turning on the Battery Saver option, you can extend your battery life by limiting background system activity and push notifications. You can find the apps that run in the background even you don’t use them by going to Settings > System > Battery Saver > Battery use > Change background app settings.

Manage Apps Run in the Background

When you turn on Battery Saver option, all those apps will not run in the background. To turn on Battery Saver, you can click on Battery icon on the taskbar and click on Battery saver to turn on.

Turn on Battery Saver

Note: while your Surface on the charge, this option will be disabled.

9 Turn off Bluetooth radio

Bluetooth on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book is a key feature when you are using Surface Pen for OneNote activation, Screenshot, and Cortana activation. However, if you think you don’t need these features, you can turn Bluetooth radio off by going to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth and switch off the Bluetooth as the picture below:

Turn Bluetooth Radio Off on Windows 10

10 More tips to extend Surface Pro 4 battery life

Turn off backlit on your Surface Type Cover – Backlit on your Surface type cover also a minor part of battery draining, you can it off to get some extra battery life for your Surface Pro 4.

Close background power hungry processes – Some CPU intensive processes appear to run in the background without your acknowledgment, those processes sometimes drain your battery very fast. You can go to Task Manager > Processes to check processes that have a high CPU usage, if you believe that those processes are not important you can kill them by click on End Task button.

Stop Power Hungry Processes - Improve Surface Pro 4 Battery Life

Unplug USB devices you don’t use – On your Surface always come with a single USB port for connecting a USB device to a mouse, external hard drive, flash drive, a phone, or a USB hub. Those devices use your Surface’s power while it connected, so you can unplug all those devices or using an external powered USB hub for connecting those devices to stop them from draining battery from your Surface.

Turn off Windows Defender Real-time protection (do at your own risk) – If you stay away from the internet, you can earn more battery life and performance by turning off the Windows Defender Real-time protection. It will reduce CPU stress by not scanning all processes and files you access in real-time. To do that, go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender and turn off the Real-time protection.

Turn off Windows Defender Real-time protection feature

Using external battery pack (power bank)

Those are the ultimate tips that will extend your Surface Pro 4 battery life. However, it will decrease your Surface performance. This is not a big deal for note taking or basic processing. If you want to play games, edit photos or videos, you should use an external battery pack for your Surface Pro 3/4 or Book.

Here are our top picks external power pack for your Surface Pro 3, Pro 4 and Book:

Some external power pack doesn’t include Surface Connect cable. You can buy it separately here:

Further Reading: , ,

Surface Deals

Comments (8)

Share your idea about "Ultimate Tips to Max Out Surface Pro 4 Battery Life".

  1. Steven John says:

    What’s your average Discharge Rate?

    • Karry Eyota says:

      For me, If I apply all above tricks, I will get around 3W to 5W discharge rate in average for a light task like note taking. It’s mean that for the full capacity of 42 Wh with a average discharge of 5W, I can get around 8 hours battery life.

  2. Can you put the .reg file to have all the power plan set like yours?

  3. garydx25 says:

    I was looking for something like this. I was disappointed that my Surface has a one-hour battery life, whereas the cheapest Macbook lasts 13 hours. What a joke. Thanks for the article, though.

  4. Jose_49 says:

    For me, what has actually worked is setting up the Max Processor to “40%” or something like that. It will bring down the performance of the Surface down to its knees. But when doing crappy tasks like Notetaking, reading, and surfing the web, they prove to be very useful when multitasking and using non-Edge browsers.

    On the other hand. I have downloaded a script that turns on the High Performance mode when I’m plugged in. The performance increase is considerable vs the predefined Balanced plan.

    Using SP4 + i5 + 8GB RAM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *