Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Cannot lower Critical Battery Level in Power Options

  1. #1


    Posts : 11
    Windows 8.1

    Cannot lower Critical Battery Level in Power Options


    I have just purchased a new HP Spectre x360 Convertible 13 laptop last week with Windows 8.1 installed as the operating system. It is the first time I have owned anything with Windows 8.1.

    Anyway, I am wanting to adjust the Critical Battery Level in Power Options to something lower than the default 7% that HP has set. When I try to change the number, it will not save and it just magically jumps back to 7%. This means that my laptop will hibernate when the battery level reaches 7% and I cannot turn it back on unless I plug it into AC power. 7% equates to roughly 40 minutes of battery time and I find this setting way too conservative.

    I have done some research on this issue and have found the following:


    • Some suggest that PC manufacturers will somehow lock this setting to an arbitrary minimum and the user cannot change it to anything below this minimum (it appears HP have set it at 7% in my instance).
    • This link suggests using power.cfg and the command line to make the changes How To Lower the Critical Battery Level to 1% in Windows 7


    Steps I have taken to try and resolve this:


    • I have tried the powercfg.exe method described in the aforementioned link to change the critical battery level to 1% and initially it appears to work. When I open up the Power Options screen, it indeed says 1%. However, when I actually test it out by using the laptop, it will still automatically hibernate at 7% battery level - it simply ignores the 1% setting.



    • I have also tried using powercfg.exe to change the Critical Battery Action to "Do Nothing" and likewise this setting is ignored and the laptop hibernates anyway.



    • I have phoned HP support and the only useful information that I got from them so far, is that the PC manufacturer has set it to 7% and it cannot be changed. They said they will escalate this matter to the research team and give me a call next week.



    • I phoned Microsoft support and the consultant seemed to be confident that he could fix the issue but would not divulge the answer because he said that doing so would void the HP warranty and he didn't want to be to one to do that. He suggested that I call HP and request a conference call with Microsoft and they could then fix it. He seemed to be of the belief that if HP has set the 7% minimum that they should be the one to remove the limit.



    • I am now trying something out to troubleshoot this issue - I have disabled the Power service using msconfig and waiting to see if the laptop will continue operating below 7% battery level without hibernating. (My laptop has been on for hours now and it is now at 13%, so not too much longer now).


    If nothing works, I wonder if completely formatting the laptop (including removing the HP recovery partition) and then reinstalling a different Windows 8.1 (or Windows 7) will let me have full customization of the Critical Battery Level?

    I would really appreciate your thoughts on how to fix this. It really fustrates me that HP thinks they know better and that the user needs to have 7% battery reserved - it is such a waste not to be able to utilize a battery to its full potential.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    That is because it is coded into Windows to not allow anything lower. Also if you drain the battery all of the way, it ends up causing the battery to have a shorter life span, and less available time on battery. They make add on batteries, that act like a lap pad.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 11
    Windows 8.1


    Here's an update: so I ran the laptop after disabling the Power service using msconfig - I got a low battery notification at 10%, then another notification at the Reserve Battery level of 5%. I ran it until 1% and it didn't hibernate. Plugged the laptop back to AC power before it reached 0%.

    I then decided to restart the Power service. Let the laptop recharge the battery for a bit, until 3%. Switched off AC power and then the laptop immediately hibernated, even though my Power Options are set to Do Nothing at the Critical Battery level. So it seems to be related to the Power service somehow but I don't know how to tweak it so I can have the settings I want.

    Quote Originally Posted by broe23 View Post
    That is because it is coded into Windows to not allow anything lower.
    I checked someone else's Dell laptop and they have a similar issue but the Critical Battery level limit is capped at 3%. So clearly there has to be a way to change this if different manufacturers are able to set this to different levels.

    I understand that you shouldn't run the laptop until it goes to 0%, but I think HP have got it wrong by capping it at 7% - this is way too high. I just want to be able to lower it to something more reasonable like 3%.

    Keen to hear more suggestions, or even just if you could try this out if you own a laptop and give your feedback as to whether this is happening to you as well.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Again you never want the battery to drain to 0%. You will quickly make it a door stop if you keep fully draining it. LiON batteries are not intended to be completely drained of all charged power.

    I am not going to try it on my own laptop, because I do not like to waste money, by killing my battery for it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    It's not a windows limitation - I can set mine to 1% with no problem (my default was 5% not 7%). You might want to consider though that HP set it to 7% for some reason specific to their batteries. Anyway you can have a look here and see if that helps.

    How To Lower the Critical Battery Level to 1% in Windows 7
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 11
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by broe23 View Post
    I am not going to try it on my own laptop, because I do not like to waste money, by killing my battery for it.
    What I mean is having a look at your Power Options and see if you can even change it down to something as low as 1%, just to see if your Windows has a limit as well or not. I don't think doing this will kill your battery at all and hence waste any money by doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    It's not a windows limitation - I can set mine to 1% with no problem (my default was 5% not 7%). You might want to consider though that HP set it to 7% for some reason specific to their batteries. Anyway you can have a look here and see if that helps.

    How To Lower the Critical Battery Level to 1% in Windows 7
    Thanks for the feedback. That means that it should be possible to unlock this setting. The link you provided is the exact same one I put up in my original post so I have already done what was suggested in the link.

    Any more thoughts on how to unlock this setting?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Again you do not want to set Critical so low that you are damaging the LiON salts inside the battery, so that they can never hold a full charge.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    If you look at my system spec's in my profile, you will notice that I run Xubuntu on my laptop. I get around 7 to 21 hours, depending on what I am doing.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 11
    Windows 8.1


    That's rather confusing. I mean no disrespect but I thought this was a Windows forum to discuss general support issues relating to Windows. As I mentioned before, I just want to set the critical battery level to something more reasonable than 7%. I think that should be achievable since adamf can do exactly that.

    Hoping that someone can shed some more light on this.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64


    Quote Originally Posted by segap21 View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. That means that it should be possible to unlock this setting. The link you provided is the exact same one I put up in my original post so I have already done what was suggested in the link.

    Any more thoughts on how to unlock this setting?
    Sorry for that - I should read more carefully. As I said I can change to 1% - actually I can change it to zero but it changes it straight back to 1 if I do that.

    Looking here https://social.technet.microsoft.com...ery-level-to-1 it can be seen that the registry is updated in this path
    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\User\PowerSchemes

    After a bit of trial and error (changing the settings and see what changes in regedit) I can see for balanced power plan it is values in this sub-key path:
    \381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e\e73a048d-bf27-4f12-9731-8b2076e8891f\9a66d8d7-4ff7-4ef9-b5a2-5a326ca2a469. Your key may be different as I'm on Windows 10 - just change the percentage to values you are allowed in power options and see what is updated.

    After taking ownership of the registry key 9a66d8d7-4ff7-4ef9-b5a2-5a326ca2a469 as described here Take Ownership of a File, Folder, Drive, or Registry Key in Windows 8 I can set it to zero and it sticks.

    The percentage values are held in ACSettingIndex (for plugged in) and DCSettingIndex (for battery).

    Most likely the ACSettingIndex is not relevant as a critical battery level when you are plugged in makes no sense; but you can set it if you want (as you can in power options for some unknown reason).

    Click image for larger version

    Click image for larger version

    The link above had another option - from an elevated command prompt run powercfg -setdcvalueindex SCHEME_CURRENT SUB_BATTERY BATLEVELCRIT 1 but this command did nothing for me (perhaps it only works on Windows 7).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Cannot lower Critical Battery Level in Power Options
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