Windows

Windows Vista sucks the life out of notebook batteries


Windows Vista notebook batteriesThe Aero Glass interface in Windows Vista is pretty cool to look at, but it will suck your notebook battery dry faster than previous Windows operating systems. Understandably, consumers aren't happy with the decrease in battery life, and PC companies are scrambling to customize the default power management setting on Vista laptops. A recent article from CNET Networks' News.com discusses this dilemma in detail: "Vista draining laptop batteries, patience."  

Here's a snippet from the article:

"Microsoft made some important changes in Vista that do improve some aspects of battery life, such as smarter hibernation modes that override applications that want to keep running, and simpler options for choosing a power management setting. But laptop users who spent extra money on powerful laptops to handle the graphics requirements of Vista and the Aero interface are forced to run the aesthetic equivalent of Vista Basic, the low-cost version of Vista, if they care about battery life."

Is it the responsibility of Microsoft to improve Windows Vista or the responsibility of PC companies to tweak the power management settings? According to a Microsoft statement, "We actively encourage (PC companies) to customize the default power profiles so that users get the most out of their hardware."  However, IDC analyst Richard Shim believes that "Microsoft, for its part, will likely have to improve Vista's battery life performance over time through the release of service packs and other tweaks."

Who do you think is responsible for improving notebook batteries that run Windows Vista: Microsoft, PC companies that sell the hardware, or a combination of the two?

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About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

142 comments
jerie
jerie

If I buy a laptop and it has Vista preinstalled, I expect it to support all of Vista's features and run as expected.

meetinmaui
meetinmaui

I have to agree with you Jerie, If I purchase the software thats one thing. I have a lot of concerns after reading the posts, Dell is replacing my XPS M 140 with a M1210 with VISTA, I had XP pro and was happy with it. however they did not want to put more parts in the XPS M 140. But the warranty covers the replacement OS, they told me if I installed XP pro that they would not support it. This does not make sense to me since the warranty was for the XPS M140 with XP pro. I don't no if I will be happy with the new laptop and from the post I have read here I'm not going to be happy with VISTA. FEELING SCREWED. Mahalo, Randy

Fil0403
Fil0403

So your evaluation of an OS resumes to battery life drain? I recommend you Windows 3.1.

bpsull
bpsull

If the vendor/OEM for your system is making an independent decision as to the supplied OS or is recommending a specific hardware config to go with a specific OS sure, it's the fault of the hardware supplier. But in the case of most of the major OEMs the decision about just what OS to use is usually made for them by Redmond when the guys over at Microsoft start making threats about pulling supply unless they use their latest offering. Just look at what happened to Dell the last few times they started talking about offering alternative OS choices on their pre-built machines.

jerie
jerie

That's a valid point, but I think it is still up to the manufacturer/vendor to make sure the hardware supports the software, otherwise why bother selling it? I should hope the manufacturer would be more aware of new OS hardware requirements than the consumer. In the case of my new Vista laptop, I get three hours battery life with Aero turned off, about half that with it on. Battery life isn't my big concern anyway, the OS itself is a waste of time. In fact I always thought XP was a waste of time, I still have pcs running Windows 2000... As for MS forcing its new OS, yep, I just found out we can't get any additional corporate licenses for XP and Office 2003 unless we buy Vista and Office 2007 with it.

apotheon
apotheon

I hadn't thought of it that way.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I just don't see how he can even believe that himself, assuming he knows only what he has said outright: "High quality graphics will always eat battery time, and I do not [b]reasonably[/b] expect any hardware manufacturer to guarantee me long battery life if I am dumb enough to run Aero at full performance on batteries." Maybe the key word is "reasonably", and he is subtly, but intentionally, admitting that it is not his intention to speak reasonably? Nothing else I can see will make his statements logically compatible...

apotheon
apotheon

It seems that the point of disagreement is that jerie wants to blame Dell for the fact that Vista's power drain is absurdly high with all the useful stuff turned on.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Here you suggest that a "power scheme" is a feature that could be implemented by the [u]hardware vendor[/u]. [i]The laptop vendors, at the very least, can just make the necessary adjustments with their usual proprietary add-ons - that could mean nothing more than the vendor adding their own power scheme to prolong battery life.[/i] My understanding is that resource utilization is controlled by software: BIOS & operating system, and application software via operating system. The hardware has to either be available to be utilized by these abstraction layers, or not. It's up to the software to provide "power schemes" -- to be more exact, algorithms with lower resource utilization. The way you phrase this is strange to me because later in the same post, you match my reasoning on this, exactly: [i]High quality graphics will always eat battery time, and I do not reasonably expect any hardware manufacturer to guarantee me long battery life if I am dumb enough to run Aero at full performance on batteries.[/i] Right, when running on battery power you should instead use the "power scheme" that does not run the Aero Glass crap. What's to disagree about here?

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]You said, 'you have to live with it.' That's my point. The hardware vendor has to know what parts to buy to support the software.[/i]" You did a pretty good job of . . . uhh, something, there. Wait. What? Dude, my point is that someone writing software that [b]sucks the life out of your batteries[/b] cannot just magically be "fixed" by the hardware vendor. If you really want Dell to start shipping laptops with snap generators, I guess that at least would explain your position on the matter, but somehow I don't think they're going to do that any time soon. The heat, radiation, expense, and illegality of snap generators as laptop batteries would be prohibitive to say the least. Meanwhile, a gigantic gigawatt capacitor array makes a laptop somewhat less portable. "[i]The laptop vendors, at the very least, can just make the necessary adjustments with their usual proprietary add-ons - that could mean nothing more than the vendor adding their own power scheme to prolong battery life.[/i]" Yeah -- like only selling laptops that don't have AeroGlass installed. There's your power scheme to prolong battery life. Wow, man -- you seem to miss the point, perhaps intentionally. "[i]I do not reasonably expect any hardware manufacturer to guarantee me long battery life if I am dumb enough to run Aero at full performance on batteries.[/i]" Then . . . why are you arguing that it's the hardware vendors' fault?

jerie
jerie

You said, "you have to live with it." That's my point. The hardware vendor has to know what parts to buy to support the software. The parts manufacturers have to keep up with software demands and create new technology to support it. That is just SOP in any industry. The laptop vendors, at the very least, can just make the necessary adjustments with their usual proprietary add-ons - that could mean nothing more than the vendor adding their own power scheme to prolong battery life. I will always expect a preinstalled OS to run on the hardware it's shipped with. That does not mean however, that common sense does not prevail. High quality graphics will always eat battery time, and I do not reasonably expect any hardware manufacturer to guarantee me long battery life if I am dumb enough to run Aero at full performance on batteries.

apotheon
apotheon

I could probably write a "useful" Perl script in five minutes that would stymie any attempt Dell could make to produce a laptop that wouldn't suffer massive power drain while that script is running in, say, the next five years. If someone writes software that just causes massive power drain, you have to live with it. You can't just magically decide that since you're the hardware vendor you're going to conjure up a super-battery using technology that doesn't exist yet.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Let's hope for the better this time around with Ubuntu. For the neigh sayers in the croud, at least we'll get one companies more realistic OS distrobution satistics. Goodness knows the current "who's running what OS" statistics can never be accurate with all the Windows defacto sales included and other OS sales missed do too anonymous self downloads and daul boot systems. ;) That's not to start a (yet another) Windows versus any alternative debate, just simply the way it seems to be these days.

Absolutely
Absolutely

The resource allocation problem that is draining the batteries is within Vista, period. There is nothing hardware manufacturers or vendors can do about other than inform their customers that battery life will be less if they use Aero Glass. Would Microsoft get their panties in a bunch over such recommendation? I hope vendors do as I've suggested, so that we can see Microsoft's reaction.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Enabler and victim CAN be the same person/thing, but are not the same by definition. A woman who is abused by her husband can be thought of as a victim AND as enableing his abuse if she does nothing to escape the situation or end the abuse. A crack dealer is an enabler for the victim, the user. Enablers facilitate the use or development of a situation or behavior. Victims are the recipiants of unwanted, negative attention or behavior.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]Hmmm..its a toss up on if the market is an enabler or "accidental victim."[/i] Not real expert here, but don't "enabler" and "victim" roles tend to be performed by the same persons?

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Hmmm..its a toss up on if the market is an enabler or "accidental victim." I like to compare it to crack, if no one wanted to use it, no one would sell it. But, dealers go out of their way to get new people addicted to maintain long term customer bases. The corporate strategies use dby larg tobacco companies are almmost identical, pass em out, get em hooked, they will then pay what ever you want. It is interesting to note that large corporations may be sociopathic, but societies at large tend to be psychopathic. Corporations quietly go about making money, when"busted" they try to spin the issue and move on, no remorse as a corporate body. Societies posture, threaten, steal, kill, and rape other societies, and usually after a period of FFG, they show some form of remorse in terms of international aid or humanitarian work.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Do you think it would be equally accurate to compare the market to some sort of enabler? :|

apotheon
apotheon

Hopefully you can find your way to a dream job sooner rather than later.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I do still work a 9-5 in a Microsoft shop. :(

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Sorry, I didn't mean for you to clarify anything Abs; was just chiming in. My comment about sociopathic coprorations is taken from the documentary Corporation which may or may not be skewed too the producer's opinion. They interviewed an FBI profiler and had him profile corporations as if they where people; sociopath was the final outcome. You mention a good point though, I handn't added in that extra balance. While a Corp is required to be sociopathic by law in it's function to generate invenstor's equities, I'd missed considering customer response as the other side of the balance.

apotheon
apotheon

It's always fun to find someone that recognizes these things about corporate law and its consequences. By now, you'd think I'd stop being surprised at how smart you are.

Absolutely
Absolutely

It's pretty easy to see how collective ownership tends to alleviate personal accountability for "mistakes" performed within collectives, thus undermining the mechanisms that protect personal liberty, in any social sphere in which collectives are respected as anything other than the individuals who compose them. But, I have to admit that frequent reading of your posts has reminded me of that observation, kept it at the forefront of my mind, and clarified a lot that I had only considered vaguely. I analyze more business and political questions, and more often include in my analysis the questions "Could this problem exist without collective ownership?" and "Would it be as likely?"

apotheon
apotheon

You're starting to sound like me.

Absolutely
Absolutely

If hardware vendors "inform their customers that battery life will be less if they use Aero Glass", I considered that an implied "recommendation", but didn't explain or clarify that in my post above. Apologies. On corporations & FBI's classification of them as sociopathic: Your mention of "the requirements of corporate law" is right [b]on the money[/b]! Similar to individuals, collectives (composed of individual$) tend to respond to reward and punishment. If they are rewarded for behaviors that are elsewhere considered "evil" and punished for behaviors that are elsewhere considered "good", the voters & the market who thus punish and reward must at the very least [b]share[/b] the blame for "corporate evil".

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'd love to see MS forced into improving the quality of there software as a result of true market forces. Sorry, I'm not sure what your recommendations to vendors where though I can guess it was "threaten to dump MS and see if they respond". It may be wishfull thinking as long as MS is focused more on profits than quality but such is any big enough business. Heck, even the FBI phsycologists clasify corporations as sociopathic by nature and the requirnments of corporate law. (Edit "and the requirnments of")

apotheon
apotheon

I guess it's the vendor's fault for selling something with Vista on it in the first place. Shoulda stuck to software with reasonable power demands if they didn't want their customers complaining.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]I guess it's the vendor's fault for selling something with Vista on it in the first place. Shoulda stuck to software with reasonable power demands if they didn't want their customers complaining.[/i] And they would magically conjure continued cooperation with Microsoft, while offering such an option? Ha!

Absolutely
Absolutely

Now I know it again! Thanks, that was really annoying to not know. Relief!

apotheon
apotheon

I'd forgotten about it, though. The other is "abstemious". Sequoia has all five vowels, but not in alphabetical order. I don't know of any others off the top of my head, though.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I was being facetious too! This is fun! Speaking of changing the subject, do you know that "facetious" is one of only two words in the English language that includes all 5 vowels, [b]in alphabetical order??[/b] The other one? Sh*t, I was afraid you'd ask me that!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If Vista takes over the game industry's job of pushing the envelope, think what rocking hardware we'll have to run other software on. I know you where being facetious but damned if there wasn't a golden nugget in there for the optimist.

apotheon
apotheon

. . . but as I'm sure you're aware, I was being facetious.

jchap100321
jchap100321

As a result of Microsoft trying eliminate DOS they revisited trying to use a Non-DOS Partition you will still need to get a DOS program so you can run drivers. By not doing that the program will eventually fry your computer because it will surge it every time it boots up. Laptop 90 Days Cascade failure and Desktop 15 Days if you platform off of XP and the motherboard will be history.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

Do you have any links from reputable sources?

jchap100321
jchap100321

Here is the reality. COMPUSA is shutting down 1,000 stores nationwide. They are in recievership because of VISTA. Each of the computers that was turned in that had VISTA on them were unservicable. I also tested this myself and have 20+ years of Hardware Tech experience certified through the Military. VISTA destroyed a Desktop in a matter of 3 days after being platformed off of XP. If you do a naked installation it will destroy a computer even faster. Each time it boots up it gets slower and slower and eventually your computer will not turn over. My engineer friend could put in more technical terms for you on how VISTA destroys a computer.

sstudley1
sstudley1

It was supposed to be over the pricing of large screen tv's, nothing to do with Vista. But around Tampa, the 2 stores are so close together that it's redundant anyway. You just go to one to cut down on the lines...

Absolutely
Absolutely

insufficient total volume available from other suppliers to stimulate suppliers to actually compete [b]amongst themselves[/b].

pikeman666
pikeman666

My local Comp USA is the LAST place I'd go for anything. The wife had bought a high-end Canon photo printer and the service policy since it included two cleanings. OK, so fast-forward to the free cleaning. Comp USA managed to ruin the printer. And since we had the insurance, and the printer wasn't sold anymore, it resulted in a full refund, including the price of the insurance! How the hell can you make money with this level of stupidity?

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

ut the store here, although it is quite big, it is only 1/8th the size of Fry's. Their strongpoint to me is knowledge of their products, and better than average sales people. I have had a few issues wit some, and rarely do I need to ask a bunch of questions, but when I do, someone is avail to answer them well. If they do not have what I am looking for, Fry's is my next stop. I hit Fry's maybe 2-3 times a year.

Tig2
Tig2

ROCKS! Fiance ONLY used Best Buy until I took him to geek paradise when he needed to replace his Vaio. Since then we got my computer, his Mom's computer and his brother's computer there and are thinking of getting another brother's computer there soon. What is great about MicroCenter is that they represent EVERYTHING. We all have Intel based pcs, his son is a Mac user. We would like to get him a new computer for Christmas. I know that we can find him the right thing at MicroCenter. Best Buy? Not so much.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

They just opened a new giant BB in a new extension of the Toronto Eaton's Center mall; freaking huge from what I've seen through the doors but with family budgets, I haven't had disposable cash to go wonering in there with. It sounds like your local BB are the equivalent of HMV around here, music and movies. The haven't any TVs in addition; just detailed statue toys and accessories such as disk binders and such.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

in many places. But around here, all of the BB stores that I have been in are mostly dvd and music stores, with little space for other items. They just built a new about a mile away from me, and I have only been in there a few times. They have a small flat panel tv area, and the computer area is smaller than anywhere else I have been.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm avoiding going into the Best Buy near my place of work because the credit card just can't handle that kind of hit. ;)

apotheon
apotheon

It's actually more related to the sale of large LCD televisions than Vista or even the Internet that CompUSA is dying. The same is true of Circuit City. Since Wal-Mart got into the business of selling flat-panel televisions, CompUSA and Circuit City have been laying off lots of people and closing down lots of stores. Vista's not a nail in their coffins -- it's just someone spitting on the grave.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. CompUSA is not failing because of Vista, but Vista's failure may contribute to the timing of the latest closures. I think there is one primary reason why CompUSA is failing: The Internet. Before the Internet took off, I often bought tech books, software, computer components, and peripherals at CompUSA. Now it's Amazon, Buy.com, ZipZoomFly, NewEgg, and eBay.

jchap100321
jchap100321

I will have a full dissertation from my degreed friend tomorrow with tangible and factual data.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I frankly don't know anyone who has had a good experience at CUSA. But we have been pretty well stuck with them, in some regards. I guess now we will be forced to shop for what we used to find at CUSA on the 'net. No biggie for me, but some people hate it. I once took an overly expensive laptop in for some diagnostics, and a mem addition. The tech just beat it to s**t right in front of me. Jeeminy - what a piss-poor way for a tech to treat a clients property. Last time they got anything to service from me, and I spread the word as far and wide as I could. I have always shopped for PC parts online, but usually stopped in CUSA for things like printers, cables, hubs, software. The only other options round these parts are big electronics retailers (not good for software outside of games) and Mom and Pop shops (not good for software either) which carry a limited supply of parts, but got my diagnostics and repair biz after the episode at CUSA. edit typo, add something

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

that had bad experiences there...... Anyway, for comp parts, I prefer Micro Center. Dept. heads there actually know stuff about the products, and if they do not have it they can almost always tell you right where to go. Like when I bought a camera last year and wanted a lens kit adapter (Canon S3 for the Optical Zoom). The Micro Center guy told me right out that they did not have it, and where to get it. I proceeded to go to a camera shop close by, and not only did they not have it, they did no tknow as much about cameras as the MC dept. manager. Funny, after the MC guy chat, I was well armed for the incompetence at this shop (well known camera shop). I even had them LOOK UP THE PART and she still was trying to sell me a part that would DESTROY my camera. I finally looked on the shelf and saw a Canon S3, told her to put it on that one 'to test' Se\he refused so I left. Next stop was where the MC guy told me to go, and I had the correct part and paid in less than 5 min.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

that our market is not saturated. CompScrewSA has been the sole brick and mortar source for providing a large variety of software in one place.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

no link directly related to earlier post. Caught it on the news awhile back (about the store closings, that is), along with the CEO of CUSA stating that he had no idea whether the problem was due to "lack of market demand" or poor service. Googled comp usa poor customer service and came up with a s**tload of blogs and posts complaining about CUSA. Having shopped with them on more than one occassion, I can certainly attest to my experience in relation to those statements. Bad, bad, bad customer service. Also, below is a link to results for a google search "compusa poor service". http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2006-02,GGLG:en&q=compusa+poor+service edit - qualify a statement

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/newsanalysis/techhardware/10342357.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA It appears it has nothing to do with VISTA at all... If you want to agree that we think Vista sucks, that is fine, but unverifiable accusations are not tolerated well. If you said something like "I think Vista did **** to my system", that would be your opinion. Personally, I have lived 4 blocks from a CompUSA for 7 years now, it closed last year and I did not miss it. This store had many, many issues, and with Fry's another 6 blocks away, and Micro Center (preferred) another 8 blocks from that, I rarely walked into CompUSA. Not only did I have issues with it, but the busiest time of year one could walk into this store (right before Christmas) and not be in a crowd.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Yes, I'll Google it, but it would be nice if you can provide a hyperlink or two also. Thanks,

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

went down around here because its employees are rude, patronizing, don't know what they are talking about, destroyed people's computers when in for repair, and can never be found when you actually want a salesperson. They didn't back their own warranties, refused to order specialty products for customers, and generally engaged in the worst business practices possible when retailing to the public. Stores around here began closing up before Vista was released to the public. The pet name folks round here gave them pretty much says it all. edit typo

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