Laptop Performance Slow When Unplugged (Battery Mode)?

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laptop performance is slow when battery is unplugged

Laptops are an important part of everyone’s day to day lives and are used for all sorts of activities from work to gaming. However, it can be quite frustrating to perform your tasks when your laptop is super slow and the problem might not necessarily mean you just have a slow laptop. Sometimes, the main culprit might be your laptop’s battery.

You might have noticed that when your laptop is unplugged from it’s charging cable it is relatively slower. If you have a gaming laptop and play competitive games like, PUBG or Fortnite, having this huge drop in FPS could leave you with a massive disadvantage. Sure, you could use it while plugged in but that defeats the whole point of a laptop – which is it’s portability.

In this article, I’ll discuss why this exactly happens and how you can increase your laptop performance with battery unplugged.

Why is my laptop slower on battery?

Before we dive deep into the solution to this problem we need to understand why some laptops perform slower on battery. There are mainly two reasons your laptop might be slower when the battery is unplugged:

  1. If you are on Windows, you would have the default Battery Saver settings. This setting allows the laptop’s processor (CPU) to slow down the performance of your laptop to preserve battery and make it run longer.
  2. If you have a gaming laptop and some experience in installing a graphics card, the graphic card might come with a power-saving option. This underclocks the CPU and GPU of your laptop causing the performance to slow down.
  3. If your computer performance is slow even when you’re not running power-intensive apps, it might just mean that your battery is old and not able to perform very good. If this is the case it might be time to replace your battery. Read our article on How Long Do Laptop’s Last? to know more about the average life-span of a laptop’s battery.

The above issues could still occur on your laptop even if you have it optimized for full performance. Fortunately, the above issues are totally normal and can be easily fixed.

How to increase laptop performance on battery

There are a few easy and effective ways with which we can increase the laptop performance with the battery unplugged.

1. Change Power Settings on Windows

If your laptop is running faster while plugged in this could mean that the main issue might be coming from the battery. However, before we try to get over-technical you should always check what power settings your laptop is using and if any changes can be made to increase the performance. To do this just follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to Start and search for Control Panel.
  2. Open Control Panel and select Power options or Battery settings depending on your version.
  3. On the new screen you’ll see 2 options: Balanced, which is the default power plan, and Power saver which prioritizes battery life over performance. Below there is another option “Show additional plans” click on the drop-down arrow to reveal the High performance option and select it as your new plan.
windows power settings

By selecting the High performance option you force the laptop to operate on peak performance despite using a lot of battery. This is great for running power-heavy apps or games with a lot of assets such as, SIMS 4.

2. Disable GPU Power Saving (Nvidia)

A graphics processor unit or GPU is computer chip installed in the laptop to render graphics. The most common GPUs used by most laptop users are made by Nvidia. GPUs require a lot of power to operate and do their job well and the more power-intensive the program is the more power it consumes. This amount of consumption can lead to your laptop’s battery to drain pretty quickly. To counter this, Nvidia’s GPUs have a power saving restriction which caps how much power the GPU is allowed to use however, this sacrifices some performance.

By disabling power saving on your GPU you can increase the performance of your laptop when it is unplugged. But, before we disable the power saving we need to update the graphics driver to it’s latest version. You can do that by going to Nvidia’s official website and checking what the latest driver. If your driver is not update to the most recent version it would guide you to the page you can download it from.

Now, with the driver updated it’s time to disable the power saving:

  1. Open the Nvidia control panel by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting it from there or go to Control Panel > Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. In the Nvidia control panel go to 3D Settings > Manage 3D settings.
  3. Now, under the program settings tab, from the drop down menu, select the program you want to disable power saving on and set Power management mode to Prefer maximum performance.
nvidia control panel for configuring GPU power saving

Note: It is important to set the maximum performance under program settings. If you apply the change to Global settings the GPU would consume your laptop’s power even when it is not being used.

3. Delete and Reinstall Windows

If the above methods did not work for you then there might be an issue in the overall operating system of your laptop. These are usually difficult to troubleshoot as you would have to manually check all the system files which gets way too technical. The best way to fix it would be to delete and reinstall windows as this would return your laptop back to it’s default settings removing any bug or glitch in the system.

If you have any confusions on how to do this, check out this helpful video that guides you through the process of reinstalling windows without losing your data:

4. Purchase a New Battery

If you had reinstalled windows and the problem still occurs this means the system is not at fault which might mean that the main issue is in the battery. When your battery gets too old it becomes difficult for the laptop to run at it’s max performance. Unfortunately, the only solution to this is to purchase a new battery and replace it with your current one.

Why Is My Laptop Slow When Plugged In?

One strange thing that happens with some laptops is that they are slow when plugged in. This is an issue as the AC power cord usually gives the laptop a speed boost as it is able to run on full performance. If you are having this issue there are two easy fixes to the problem.

1. Reset Your Power Plan Settings

Windows OS has a power plan for their laptops which instruct the computer on how to use and control the power consumption of the laptop. It might be that your settings are flawed which is causing the laptop to give undesired results.

You can fix this by opening the Control plan and going to Power settings > Change power plan > Restore default settings for this plan.

windows default power plan settings interface

2. Remove and Replace the Battery

Another thing you can try is to completely remove the battery from your laptop and use it directly with the AC power source. If your laptop’s performance increases this means the battery might be old and have to be replaced.

Conclusion

You might see your laptop’s performance slow down when you unplug the laptop from it’s charging cable. This is caused by the laptop’s default settings as laptops are designed to preserve the battery for longer work sessions so they sacrifice some performance features to keep the laptop running on battery. To run your laptop on max performance even when unplugged you would have to disable it’s power saving capabilities so that the CPU doesn’t compromise on the speed.

This could mean changing your battery settings and tweak them so that it gives you max performance or configure your GPU by disabling it’s power saving and setting to max performance to run your programs quicker.

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