PC setup and configuration

To produce comparable and reliable results, start with the PC’s factory settings and a fully charged battery. 

  1. If the device is new, or the battery hasn’t been discharged for a while, follow the manufacturer’s advice to calibrate and condition the battery.
  2. Set the following settings:
    1. Set DPI scaling to 100%
    2. Disable WiFi / Bluetooth / Cellular
    3. Disable Screen Saver and Monitor Timeout
    4. Disable search indexing and automatic updating
    5. Under Sign-in options, Set Require sign-in to Never
    6. Set the screen brightness level to 110 cd/m2 
  3. Unplug peripherals that consume power, such as external keyboards and mice, USB memory sticks, etc.

Luminance is occasionally expressed in Nits. Nit is a non-SI name used for units of luminance. A Nit is equivalent to the SI unit, i.e. 1 nit = 1 cd/m2.


Screen brightness settings

Screen brightness can have a significant effect on battery life. To produce comparable results, you should calibrate every device you test to the same screen brightness. In practice, this is difficult without specialist equipment.

PCMark 10 provides a pure white calibration screen and a video to help you calibrate screen brightness. You’ll find them in the PCMark 10 installation folder, which by default is found here:

C:\Program Files\UL\PCMark 10\Battery Life Calibration Tools

If you don't have access to a luminance meter, you can calibrate your devices by comparing the pure white calibration screen to a reference such as another monitor, light-box or similar. Alternatively, place your devices side by side and adjust the brightness levels by eye.

Be wary when using a device's built-in brightness setting to calibrate screen brightness. Different screens offer different levels of maximum brightness. The 50% brightness setting on one device may not be equal in luminance to the 50% setting on another device, for example.

Power plan settings

To ensure a fair comparison of results, you should use the same power plan settings on every system you test. 

For your convenience, PCMark 10 includes a custom Power Plan configuration file with our recommended settings. You’ll find it here:

C:\Program Files\UL\PCMark 10\Battery Life Calibration Tools

Import power plan using PowerCFG (recommended)

  1. From Start, search for Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command then press Enter. (Change the path if you have installed PCMark 10 to a non-default location)
    1. powercfg -import  “C:\Program Files\UL\PCMark 10\Battery Life Calibration Tools\PCMark10BatteryProfile.pow”
  4. Type the following command to list the power schemes:
    1. powercfg -list
  5. Copy the GUID of the PCMark10BatteryProfile, and use it in the following command to set the new power plan to active:
    1. powercfg -setactive guid-name

Configure power plan manually

Create a power plan with the following settings:

Turn off the displayNever
Put the computer to sleepNever

Set the following advanced power settings:

Hard diskTurn off hard disk after3 minutes
Wireless adapter settingsPower Saving ModeMaximum power saving
SleepSleep afterNever

Allow hybrid sleepOff

Hibernate afterNever

Allow wake timersDisable
USB settingsUSB selective suspend settingEnabled
PCI ExpressLink State Power ManagementMaximum power savings
Processor power managementMinimum processor state5%

Maximum processor state100%
DisplayTurn off display afterNever

Enable adaptive brightnessOff
Multimedia settingsVideo playback quality biasVideo playback power-saving bias

When playing videoOptimize video quality
BatteryCritical battery actionHibernate (on battery), Do nothing (plugged)

Low battery level0%

Critical battery level0%

Low battery notificationOff

Low battery actionDo nothing

Recommended process

The battery must be at least 80% charged before you can start a battery life test. We recommend starting the test with a fully charged battery. The benchmark will run until the PC goes into hibernation or shuts down. PCMark 10 will report the battery life after you restart the computer.

  1. Reboot the system.
  2. Plug in the power cable.
  3. Wait until the system battery is fully charged.
  4. Open PCMark 10 application and start a Battery Life test. 
  5. Unplug the power cable when prompted. 
  6. The benchmark will run until the battery is depleted. 
  7. After the system has switched off, plug in the power cable and turn the system back on. 
  8. If PCMark 10 is still running, it will complete the test and present the result. If PCMark 10 is no longer running due to the system shutting down, start the application manually. PCMark 10 will then recover the files saved during the benchmark run and present the result.