It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if 50% of a battery works out for them

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2018 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Surface Pro, battery

Microsoft have added an interesting feature to their new Surface Pro, the ability to limit the battery charge to a maximum of 50%.  Now, before you start tossing things, this is specifically for scenarios where the Surface Pro will be plugged into mains power all day long.  Limiting the charge should increase the lifespan of the battery, though woe to the user that forgets to change that setting in the UEFI it before heading out on the road.  As The Register points out, Microsoft have had a spotty past with batteries; hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.

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"The setting is only recommended for scenarios where a Surface Pro is constantly connected to a power supply – "all day long" as Microsoft put it, such as in a kiosk situation or perhaps permanently wedged in a desktop dock."

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October 12, 2018 | 04:31 AM - Posted by Kraaketaer

ThinkPads (and at least one Lenovo Yoga I've used) have had this feature for years and years and years. Usually it's a bit higher than 50% (60 seems most common), but that shouldn't matter much. Lenovo has an easily accessible software switch, though, so no reason to reboot into the UEFI to change this. This definitely helped me keep the battery of my X201 alive for the ... 8 or so years I had it. I'm glad MS is catching up, particularly with the ever-increasing prevalence of built-in, non-replaceable batteries (and glued-together hardware like the Surface line).

October 12, 2018 | 12:05 PM - Posted by CaedenV (not verified)

Ya... thats going to not end well. Is IT supposed to show up the day before an executive's big trip in order to change the setting? Or are end-users supposed to go into UEFI to change this?

Desktop motherboard manufacturers have made board level options available for YEARS through custom software. Being able to adjust OC settings from within Windows, or fan speeds, etc. Why not have something like this available?
Better yet, because these are typically going to be in a business situation, make an ADMX for Surface, and move the device between OUs that have this policy on or off.
But expecting people to do this through BIOS/UEFI is just a terrible expectation, and not the 'Microsoft way' of doing things.

October 15, 2018 | 11:45 AM - Posted by L McClure (not verified)

An executive is likely going to have their unit replaced well before battery life at the normal setting would be an issue, so IT probably wouldn't use this setting.

If an individual is using this, and they forgot to change the setting before a trip, having desktop software to make the change isn't likely to improve their memory.

October 12, 2018 | 02:00 PM - Posted by Rocky123 (not verified)

It seems like a great idea for sure and has been done in the past. Now if MS was to make it so it could be done on the fly through a software switch then it would be even better. If it only has the option to be changed by going into the UEFI then not so great but still a viable option for those that want to venture into the UEFI Bios I guess.

October 15, 2018 | 01:10 PM - Posted by Gunbuster

Now your bag can only get half as hot when the surface decides to turn on while closed. :p

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