How to Change Laptop Performance Settings

Windows 10 includes a performance mode, but don't expect a big boost.

What to Know

  • Access your laptop's performance mode by selecting the battery icon in the Windows 10 taskbar.
  • Use the slider in the pop-up menu to switch performance modes.

Windows 10 laptops have at least four performance modes ranging from Battery Saver to Best Performance. These modes make minor tweaks to hardware settings and display brightness to either boost performance or conserve battery life. Here's how to change laptop performance settings.

How to Change Laptop Performance Settings

Windows 10 lets you quickly tweak a laptop, 2-in-1, or tablet's performance mode. Here's how to do it.

  1. Select the battery icon on the Windows 10 taskbar.

    Windows 10 desktop with the battery icon highlighted.
  2. A pop-up will appear with a slider indicating the current performance mode. Slide to the left to enable a battery saving mode, or to the right to enable a performance mode.

    Windows 10 performance mode slider highlighted.

    Windows 10 laptops have four performance modes that range from Battery Saver (tuned for maximum battery life) to Best Performance (which, as it says, is tuned for best performance).

How to Change Advanced Laptop Performance Settings

You can fine-tune your laptop's performance settings through the Power Options menu in the Windows Control Panel. Here's how to do it.

  1. Perform a Windows Search for Edit Power Plan.

  2. Select Edit Power Plan when it appears in the Windows Search field.

    Windows 10 search menu with Edit power plan highlighted
  3. A window will open showing basic power plan settings. Select Change advanced power settings.

    Windows 10 Power Plan menu with Change Advanced Power Settings highlighted
  4. This will open the Power Options menu, which includes a long list of settings you can change. The exact settings available will depend on your laptop, but most will at least let you change sleep settings, hibernation settings, display brightness, and critical battery level.

How Do I Enable High-Performance Mode on My Laptop?

Follow the instructions in the first section of this guide. In the second step, move the performance mode slider all the way to the right. This will select Best Performance mode.

Do Laptop Performance Settings Make a Difference?

Changing your laptop's performance settings is often more useful for conserving battery life than enhancing performance.

Most laptops sold in the last five years are quick enough to easily handle tasks like web browsing, document editing, and messaging. Switching to Performance Mode won't lift a cap that's otherwise limiting these tasks. Performance Mode will only provide a useful boost in a demanding task like video editing or gaming. Even then, the difference can be hard to notice outside of performance benchmarks.

The Battery Saver mode, however, can noticeably enhance battery life. It not only dials back the laptop's maximum performance but, more importantly, limits the display brightness. A laptop display can consume a lot of power at its maximum brightness, so this cap can prevent the battery from draining rapidly.

Your Laptop Might Have More Performance Modes

Every Windows 10 laptop offers the basic options described in this guide, but some laptops have more performance settings controlled through a separate app installed on the laptop. This is most common on gaming laptops and workstation laptops. A handful of gaming laptops even have a physical "Turbo" or "Boost" button.

Take a look at your laptop's manual if you suspect it has additional performance settings. A performance mode created by a laptop's manufacturer can make more significant tweaks than the default modes found on every Windows 10 laptop. Gaming laptops, for example, often have a mode which enhances performance by turning up the speed of the laptop's cooling fans enabling the CPU to run faster (and therefore generate more heat) because the fans can now whisk away the heat.

  • Why won't my Windows laptop use high-performance settings?

    First, see if the High-Performance power plan is visible: Right-click the battery icon, select Power Options, and see if there's a high-performance power plan in the list. If it's missing, you'll need to create a new high-performance power plan. Click the battery icon and select Power Options > Create a Power Plan, then place a check in the box next to High Performance. Name your new plan and click Next. Finally, go back to the Power Options menu and select the new plan.

  • How do I get all the power options in my Windows 10 Start menu?

    From the Windows 10 search box, enter Power Options, then select the Power Options result. Click Choose what the power button does, then select Change settings that are currently unavailable. Scroll down to Shutdown Settings and check any Show in Power Menu item that isn't already checked, such as Hibernate or Sleep. Select Save Changes.

  • What are the best power settings for my laptop?

    Windows 10 gives you many power options, but managing your settings is important as you strike a balance between productivity and energy expenditure. Be mindful of saving energy, and watch out for signs of your laptop overheating. Consider saving energy by lowering your screen's brightness, and specify when your laptop should enter Sleep Mode (usually after about 20 to 30 minutes of idle time). Experiment with customizing your power plans in the Power Options menu.

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