After a string of flops, Microsoft adds a Windows 11 feature I’d actually use

Group of happy business people in smart casual wear looking at the laptop and gesturing
(Image credit: G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock)

Microsoft is once again tweaking Windows 11, but this time it looks like it might be adding a feature that won’t make my blood boil, thanks to some improved power-saving tools.

Let’s be honest – Microsoft hasn’t had the best run of Windows 11 news recently, though that has been largely self-inflicted. Not only have there been some annoying Windows 11 bugs, but Microsoft has been seemingly fixated on making the user experience worse by adding an increasing number of adverts into the Start menu.

This has understandably not gone down too well with many people. While adverts are often necessary – I’m well aware of the number on this very website – they usually serve a purpose. In TechRadar’s case, adverts on the site allow us to publish articles that are free to read, while still paying staff.

The issue with adverts in Windows 11 is that they are appearing in an operating system on a device you’ve likely paid a lot of money for, leaving users to feel like Microsoft is being greedy.

However, in a new version of Windows 11, known as Build 25346, which is rolling out to Windows Insiders who have signed up to try out early versions of Windows 11 updates, Microsoft has added a feature that should be more warmly welcomed.

Saving energy – and Windows 11's reputation

As Windows Central reports, Windows 11 will soon allow you to use Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC) on devices that are plugged in to a power socket – including desktop PCs.

CABC has been around for a while now – it’s a handy feature that carefully dims or brightens a screen of a laptop depending on a number of elements, such as what content you’re watching, and this allows the device to conserve battery life without impacting visual performance too much.

The benefits to battery-powered devices such as laptops and tablets is clear – it allows them to go for longer without needing to be charged. So, at first, this battery-saving feature coming to devices that are plugged in might seem a bit useless.

However, there are some benefits to be had. For a start, this could speed up the time a laptop’s battery recharges, as it won’t be using as much energy while it’s plugged in.

By decreasing energy use, it could make using laptops while plugged in, as well as desktop PCs which always need to be plugged in, cheaper. With many people finding their utility bills are increasing, any feature that allows us to reduce energy consumption should be applauded – and that’s before we even consider the positive environmental impact.

With the feature intelligently adjusting the brightness of a screen, it should save energy without being too noticeable – unlike permanently dimming a screen, which some devices do to conserve battery.

So, it’s nice to be able to say I’m looking forward to an upcoming Windows 11 update, rather than dreading it. If you’re on the Windows Insider program and want to try it out, make sure you’re signed up to the Canary Channel and install Build 25346 (Microsoft has also provided an ISO file of the update).

Once installed, go to Settings > System > Display and select ‘Always’ from the drop down menu for the CABC feature.

Hopefully if this feature works as intended, Microsoft will add it to a Windows 11 update for everyone soon.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.