A study revealed that changes in Windows Vista’s “sleep mode” could benefit the environment in the U.S. as much as taking 380,000 cars off the road. Which’s why Rob Bernard and his team’ve been working to incorporate new energy-saving approaches into Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 developers made a series of changes with the goal of reducing the power consumed by PCs — including tweaking the way Windows works with displays via “Adaptive Display Brightness” feature, adding new tools for managing energy consumption, and changing the way the operating system runs different services in the background via “timer coalescing”. Windows 7 also includes an energy diagnostic tool for information-technology staffers that monitors a machine for a specified period of time – 60 seconds, by default – and produces a report that details potential problems. Those problems could be a buggy device driver that doesn’t let the computer go into sleep mode, for instance, or an application that causes the processor to run faster than it should.
Microsoft hasn’t yet released data to quantify the potential environmental impact of the Windows 7 energy management changes. Bernard says he has noticed as much as a 20 percent increase in the battery life on his notebook computer after upgrading to the new operating system.