How to Set Low Battery Warnings on Your Windows 10 Laptop

By Dan Gookin

Windows peppers you with warnings as the battery power gets low. The Battery notification icon on the taskbar changes, and eventually pop-up messages appear. The idea is to alarm you: Either charge the battery, save your work, and shut down — or pray.

The good news is that you have control over the warnings. You can set when they appear and which actions are taken. The two warning levels are titled Low Battery and Critical Battery. Follow these steps to set each level and determine which actions are taken:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

    Press the Win+X keyboard shortcut and choose the Control Panel item from the supersecret menu.

  2. Choose Hardware and Sound.

  3. Choose Power Options.

    You see the laptop’s power plans.The battery warning levels are set for a specific plan.

  4. Next to the active power plan, click the link Change Plan Settings.

    Power management plans in Windows 10.

    Power management plans.
  5. In the Edit Plan Settings window, click the Change Advanced Power Settings link.

    Finally, the Power Options dialog box shows up. It’s the happening place for all things having to do with power management in Windows.

  6. Scroll the list, and locate the item labeled Battery.

    As you would expect, it’s the last item in the list.

  7. Click the plus sign (+) by Battery to display various battery notification and action options.

    Each item has two subitems — one for settings when the laptop is on battery power and a second for when the laptop is plugged in.

  8. Set the battery-level warnings.

    In chronological order, here are the items you can set:

    • Low-battery notification: Sets a warning for a low battery level, before the situation becomes critical. Values are set to On to set the low warning and Off to ignore it.

    • Low battery level: Determines the battery percentage for the low-battery-level warning. This value should be generous, well above the critical level.

    • Low battery action: Directs the laptop in what to do when the battery charge reaches the low-battery level. Other options are Sleep, Hibernate, and Shut Down.

    • Critical battery level: Sets the battery power level (percentage) for the crucial battery-level action.

    • Critical battery action: Directs the laptop to sleep, hibernate, or shut down when the critical battery level is reached.

  9. Click OK to confirm the settings.

    You can close any remaining dialog boxes and windows.

Setting the warnings is only one part of good power management. Hopefully, you never see the low-battery notification and, most definitely, you never have the laptop automatically hibernate on you (for the critical-level action).

  • The low-battery warnings are independent of the Battery Saver setting.

  • When the low-battery notice sounds or appears and you’re blessed with a second battery for your laptop, pop it in and keep working!

  • That critical-battery notice is serious. Laptop time is over! You see no warning; the laptop simply hibernates or turns itself off — whichever option is set.

  • The best thing to do when power gets low: Plug in! This is why you might consider taking your power cord with you wherever you go.