A lot of things are changing in Windows 11. And the Task Manager has also joined that list. Windows 11 is bringing Efficiency mode to the Task Manager in Windows 11 and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

What is Efficiency Mode in Task Manager?

We all know this scenario: our system is not churning out the performance it should be. And it seems like it’s struggling to keep up with any task we’re trying to perform. We go diving into the Task Manager and what do we find? Some random process hogging the resources!

Some of these resources are using CPU, memory, disk, etc. even when they are idle. This means that lesser resources are available for the apps and processes the user is actively using.

When we really need to free up those resources, we end those processes. But that can also cause an issue sometimes. Efficiency mode presents a better alternative. It gives users the option to reduce the stress some processes are putting on the CPU. This will lead to an increase in foreground response times.

Background processes hogging up resources also put a strain on the hardware, such as increased thermal and fan noise. It can even shorten the battery life in the long run. It’ll also give better energy efficiency, also increasing your battery life cycle.

Additionally, it’ll also help users identify the apps that are already running in Efficiency mode. This will offer further insight into apps that are good citizens and are playing their role efficiently. The newest addition is a further step in the Sustainable Software direction Microsoft is heading in.

How Does it Work?

In a bid to give users control of process resource consumption, Efficiency mode offers users a way to control certain processes’ resource availability. Currently, Efficiency mode will only focus on the CPU for providing efficiency by leveraging EcoQos. It makes sense that the CPU is the one being leveraged in the first iteration. It is after all the one resource that consumes the most power and is contended the most on modern devices. Microsoft plans to expand the resources in future iterations.

EcoQos is a new type of Quality of Service (QoS) level in Windows. In EcoQos, Windows changes the configuration of the processor leading to better performance and power efficiency.

When you enable efficiency mode for a process, two things happen. First, the base priority of the process is reduced to low. This ensures that it does not interfere with high priority processes that you are currently using. Second, the QoS level for the process is set to EcoQos. When that happens, Windows executes that process in the most efficient manner maintaining the balance of power and performance.

Microsoft says that using the efficient mode can provide approximately 14-76% improvement in responsiveness. The whole system also has a great impact on the thermal footprint of the CPU by making sure it isn’t working too hard on background processes.

Foreground improvement time for some common processes in Efficiency mode on a busy system. Source: Microsoft.

How to Enable the Efficiency Mode for an App or Process

Open the Task Manager on your Windows 11 PC by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc or any other method.

Task Manager has also got a makeover in Windows 11. So, the tabs at the top of the Task Manager in Windows 10 are now shifted to the hamburger menu on the left. Go to ‘Processes’ from this navigation menu on the left. You can also perform the same steps from the ‘Details’ tab.

Then, go to the process you want to enable efficiency mode for. If it’s a sub-process for a parent process, click the ‘>’ next to the parent process to expand the process tree group.

Click the particular process. Then, either click ‘Efficiency mode’ at the top of the Task Manager window. Or, right-click the process and then select ‘Efficiency mode’ from the context menu.

A confirmation prompt will appear that it will lower process priority and increase power efficiency but may also cause instability for certain processes. Click ‘Turn on Efficiency mode’ to confirm.

Note: If the option for Efficiency mode is unavailable for a process, it means it’s a core process. You cannot enable efficiency mode for these processes as throttling them will affect your system.

You’ll see a leaf icon next to the parent process in the Status column, similar to what Edge tabs show, indicating the Efficiency mode. The child process, on the other hand, will show ‘Efficiency mode’ next to it.

To disable the efficiency mode, simply right-click the child process and deselect the option for ‘Efficiency mode’ from the menu. The checkmark next to it will go away when you click it again.

The efficiency mode uses the same EcoQos API that Microsoft is letting developers use to run their apps more efficiently in the background. When more and more developers start using it, the Task Manager will also indicate Efficiency mode in the status for these apps. But along with EcoQos, Task Manager also uses low priority for tasks.