- Learn how to check battery capacity, charge cycles, usage, and real battery life in Windows from a detailed battery report.
- You don’t need an advanced battery monitoring app to check the status of your laptop battery in Windows.
- With a simple Command Prompt command, powercfg, you can generate a detailed battery report.
I’ve been using quite a few battery apps on my Windows laptops to check stats, but at some point, I realized it’s just an obsession. It’s almost as obsessive as checking the instant gas consumption on your car.
Why not use the laptop instead of checking the current charge level and the estimated battery life remaining?
Instant reports don’t mean much and can’t help you get better gas mileage/battery life. You need to look at the overall consumption, take notice of what’s happening, then take appropriate action.
I didn’t become less obsessed by myself, to be fair. I’ve just found out about how you can easily generate a detailed battery report in Windows.
Read on and I’ll show you how it’s done and how you can read the report properly.
- 1 Generate a Complete Windows Battery Report with the Powercfg /batteryreport Command
- 2 Check Actual Battery Capacity: Full Charge and Design Capacity
- 3 Check Battery Charge Cycles and Health in Windows
- 4 How to Calculate Laptop Battery Wear from the Battery Report
- 5 Check Real Battery Life Estimates Based on Observed Usage
- 6 Check Windows Apps That are Draining Your Laptop Battery
- 7 Check Apps and Processes Power Usage Trend with Windows Task Manager
Generate a Complete Windows Battery Report with the Powercfg /batteryreport Command
To generate the report you’ll need to sharpen your Command Prompt skills. Kidding! It’s very easy indeed. This guide works in Windows Terminal and PowerShell too.
1. Open the Command Prompt (here’s how).
2. Type the following CMD command:
3. Note the path where the report is saved by default, which is in your current user folder, in its root.
4. To open navigate Windows Explorer (open with Win + E) to your current user folder and double-click on the battery-report.html file. The report will open in your default browser.
Let’s see what info can be found in the powercfg report:
Check Actual Battery Capacity: Full Charge and Design Capacity
The first part of the report shows you generic computer info, such as the computer name, product name, BIOS version, and Windows build.
Then comes the Installed batteries section. Here you will see a bunch of details about the actual battery manufacturer, serial number, battery technology, and so on.
We don’t care about them. We care about the two reported battery capacities:
- Design capacity – this is the manufacturer’s specification for the battery, usually the same capacity listed on the product page, under technical specs.
- Full charge capacity – this is the actual capacity reported by the battery controller. Due to manufacturing tolerances, it’s never the same as the listed capacity.
Check Battery Charge Cycles and Health in Windows
In the Installed batteries section of the powercfg battery report, there’s an interesting spec: cycle count. This is the number of complete discharges of your laptop battery.
A complete discharge is calculated by adding the percentages of each discharge. So, four 25% discharges make up one discharge cycle (100%).
You don’t need to empty the battery from 100% down to 0% to count as a discharge cycle. This is not even possible in Windows because the operating system will shut down your device at a certain charge threshold in order to preserve the battery’s health.
Usually, a laptop battery should last a couple of hundred discharge cycles without dropping the full charge capacity too much (let’s say under 75% of the design capacity).
On my ASUS laptop, the cycle count indicator is missing, probably due to some driver issues. It could be due to the laptop being just two weeks old. I’ll update this article if that’s the case.
Anyway, on another Lenovo laptop, the charge cycles are displayed properly. See below:
How to Calculate Laptop Battery Wear from the Battery Report
Based on the two figures above you can calculate the actual battery wear of your battery. Just divide the Full charge capacity by the design capacity.
Do that for the image above you’ll get 0.92. This means the full charge capacity has dropped to 92% of the design capacity. That’s 8% wear in almost two years. It’s not too bad, but not great either.
Keep in mind as the battery gets older its chemistry changes so the readings might not be too accurate.
It happened on more than one occasion, after years of use, for the laptop to shut down all of a sudden when the reported battery charge reached the 20-30% percent mark. That’s a good indication it might be time to replace the battery, or just buy another laptop.
Check Real Battery Life Estimates Based on Observed Usage
The part that I really love about the powercfg battery report is the usage stats. You can check exactly, since the OS installation, how much battery you’ve drained. It’s a huge report, with dates, active time windows, and percentages drained during that period. It’s what geeks like me live for.
At the end of the report, you’ll see the actual run times you’ve got consistently for Active periods or Connected Standby.
In my case, 4.35 hours of battery life for a powerful Alder Lake laptop it’s not too bad, but also nothing to write home about considering the two years old Ryzen Lenovo laptop mentioned in the cycle count chapter averages a bit over 7 hours, also consistently.
Check Windows Apps That are Draining Your Laptop Battery
One drawback of the powercfg battery report is that you can’t see which apps are consuming the battery. Fortunately, there’s a quick way to check these details for the past 24 hours and the past 7 days.
This battery usage report is found in the Settings app. Here’s how you access it:
- Open the Settings app (press Win + I).
- Navigate to System > Power & battery.
- Scroll until you see the Battery usage link. Make sure you expand the list.
- In the top right corner, you’ll find a dropdown list that will allow you to see usage for the past 24 hours/7 days.
- Each app in the list below this graph will show you a percentage of total battery drain together with total use (in minutes and as a percentage) and background use (also in minutes and as a percentage).
- A search box will allow you to find usage details a specific app.
This is how you check which apps are draining your battery. You can try replacing them or completely removing them. See how much your battery life improves this way.
What all these reports are missing are detailed battery drain reports for operating system services and background processes. They are all grouped under System.
Also, it would be useful to see how much power the screen is drawing, together with important components (CPU, SSD, graphics card, and so on). I’m a bit curious to see why my gaming laptop idles at 15-20 watts, thus lowering battery life significantly.
Recommended read: disable laptop CPU turbo boost with a simple Power Plan change
Check Apps and Processes Power Usage Trend with Windows Task Manager
There’s a Power usage trend column you can enable in the Windows Task manager (open with Ctrl + Shift + Esc), but it’s not helping much, since you’re not shown percentages, just an indicator ranging between very low and very high.
It can help pinpoint rogue apps and background processes, but you won’t know exactly how much power they’re draining.
If you know about a program or utility that allows you to check per app/process detailed battery stats let me know. Until then maybe share a few battery stats from your laptop in the comments?