According to the latest Steam Hardware and Software Used survey, the 64-bit version of Windows 10 has been dominant among users when it comes to running games on their computers. Although, after Microsoft officially launched Windows 11 to the public on October 5, 2021, users are expected to start switching to the new OS to check out the new features and changes. Microsoft itself touted Windows 11 as the best operating system for gamers, while promising gaming-exclusive features like DirectStorage, better memory and CPU management, and other features.
Whether you enjoy exploring the scenic atmospheres of single-player games or prefer to climb the ranks on your competitive multiplayer games, these experiences largely depend on the performance of your computer and, of course, your operating system.
While it’s true that you’re limited by the hardware you have on your computer, it’s still possible to get a few extra frames if you know where to make the right settings. And if you think “a few more frames will help,” you’ve heard of the phrase “Frames win games” before, right?
How to optimize Windows 11 for gaming?
Windows 11 is a feature-rich operating system. It not only improves the existing features of Windows 10 but also adds many new ones, making it quite a cumbersome operating system to use. You also need to consider visual upgrades.
Having so many features enabled and running all the time, even in the background, means it will take a lot of processing power. When running games, you want your computer to put as much power into running the game as possible so that you have the best experience your hardware allows.
There are several ways to optimize Windows 11. They range from disabling certain settings to unlocking hidden features in Windows 11. This guide will cover all the necessary methods to ensure that you get the maximum performance when gaming.
Make sure you are running the latest version of Windows 11
One of the easiest ways to optimize Windows 11 for gaming is to make sure Windows is always up to date. This is even more important for those using insider or preview versions. The operating system is still young, over the next few years Microsoft is expected to release many bug fixes, stability improvements and performance improvement patches to perfect the operating system.
So, it is very important to keep Windows up to date if you want to maximize your gaming performance. Windows updates also contain security fixes that you should consider if you are an online gamer.
To keep Windows up to date, open “Settings” by going to the Start menu.
In the “Settings” window, click “Windows Update” located on the left side of the window.
From there, click “Check for updates” and let the checking process complete.
If an update is pending, it will start installing automatically. In some cases, you may need to restart your computer to complete the installation process.
Note: Some “Optional Updates” available in “Advanced Options” may seem unimportant, but we strongly advise you not to ignore them and review them.
Do these as soon as you are informed to ensure that your system has the latest optimization or performance fixes.
Update graphics card drivers
Most of us have a graphics card installed in our computer for gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks. On the other hand, if you have an integrated graphics card or APU, you will get driver updates through Windows Update.
If you have an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, it is best to use their dedicated software to update the graphics driver. For AMD, this is “AMD Radeon Software”, and for Nvidia, “GeForce Experience”. To obtain these software, go to the respective manufacturers’ websites.
In this section, we will describe the process for Nvidia cards. Start by going to the GeForce Experience download page.
On the GeForce Experience download page, click the green “DOWNLOAD” button.
If you are prompted to select a location to save the installation file, navigate to the desired directory and click the “Save” button in the dialog box.
Once the download is complete, click on the GeForce_Experience.exe file to launch the installer and continue the simple installation process.
Once the installation is complete, launch the “GeForce Experience” application on your PC. It will ask you to log in. If you do not have an account, you must create one. Unfortunately yes, you must log in to be able to continue.
In the ‘GeForce Experience’ window, after logging in, click on ‘Drivers‘ located at the top left side of the window.
In this window, click “CHECK FOR UPDATES” to check if an update is available. If an update is pending, a green “DOWNLOAD” button appears below it. Click on it and the download will begin.
Once the download is complete, click “EXPRESS INSTALLATION”. You will get a UAC prompt. Click ‘Yes’ and let GeForce Experience update the graphics drivers.
Note: During the driver installation process, your screen may turn black or you may hear beeps. This is normal, don’t worry, let the installation process complete. Also make sure that your computer does not shut down during this process.
Once the driver update is complete, the message “Installation Complete” appears. You have successfully updated your Nvidia graphics card driver.
If you are an AMD user, the process is similar and easy. Follow the instructions on the AMD support page and you’ll get there in no time.
Enable Windows 11 game mode
Game mode was introduced in Windows 10 and has been improved over the years. It is recommended to keep this setting enabled as it helps boost performance, especially on systems with old or low-end hardware.
Game Mode increases performance in various ways, including blocking background apps from running, allocating/prioritizing resources to game-specific components, etc.
To enable Game Mode, first open the “Settings” app from the Start menu.
In the Settings window, click “ Games ” in the left panel.
On the game settings page, click “ Game Mode ”.
Next, click the button next to Game Mode to enable the feature.
Now that you have enabled Game Mode, it should improve your gaming performance.
Disable Xbox Game Bar in Windows 11
The Xbox Game Bar lets you record and share gameplay, like with Nvidia ShadowPlay. If you never use this feature, it is best to completely remove it from your system to save CPU and memory usage. If you want to disable the background process but keep the function, you can do that too.
Unlike Windows 10, in Windows 11 you cannot completely disable the Xbox Game Bar feature. If you don’t use this feature, you can remove it completely using PowerShell. First, search for PowerShell in Windows Search.
Right-click the PowerShell icon, then select “ Run as administrator ”. Click “Yes” in the UAC prompt window.
In the PowerShell window, copy and paste the following command and press Enter.
Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.XboxGamingOverlay | Remove-AppxPackage
This will completely remove Xbox Game Bar from your system. If you want to grab it in the future, you can always visit the Microsoft Store and download it from there.
If you only want to end the background process instead of removing the feature completely, launch ” Settings ” by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard.
In the settings window, click “ Applications ”.
After that, click on “ Apps & Features ” on the right panel.
Now, scroll down until you find the “ Apps list ” and in the search bar below, type “ Xbox Game Bar ”. The Xbox Game Bar app will appear in the search result.
Click the three vertical dots to open a menu, then click “Advanced Options.”
After opening the advanced options page, scroll down until you see Finish. Click the “ Finish ” button to close the background process.
If you want the Xbox Game Bar to continue working, but without suffering performance , you can disable the resource-intensive capture features of the Xbox Game Bar.
In the Windows Settings screen, click “ Games ” in the left panel.
Next, click on the “ Captures ” option.
Now turn off the “ Record what happened ” and “ Capture audio when recording a game ” features by turning off the toggle switch next to the respective options.
This will ensure that Xbox Game Bar does not unnecessarily consume your system resources.
Disable hardware acceleration on Windows 11
Applications generally depend on the processor during operation. However, some graphics-intensive tasks, like gaming or 3D rendering, require power that exceeds the processor’s capacity.
In such tasks, hardware acceleration is used to reduce CPU load by using specialized components like graphics cards or GPUs. However, if hardware acceleration is still active, it can create a bottleneck situation and slow down your computer.
You can disable hardware acceleration universally on your computer using the graphics card software. First, search for “ NVIDIA Control Panel ” in Windows search engine and select it from the results.
In the NVIDIA Control Panel window, click “ Configure Surround and PhysX ”.
From there, in the PhysX settings, set the “Processor” to “ Processor ”.
Now, to save the change, click on the “Apply” button.
You can also disable system-wide hardware acceleration in Windows 11 using the Registry Editor . First, open Registry Editor by searching for it in the Start menu.
Once the Registry Editor window opens, copy and paste the following text into the address bar.
Then, right-click anywhere in the right panel, select “New” and then ” 32-bit DWORD Value ” from the context menu to create a new registry value.
Name the newly created registry value DisableHWAcceleration and press Enter.
Now, double-click the newly created “DisableHWAcceleration” value to open the editor dialog box and set the “ Value Data ” to 1 . Then click “OK” to save the changes.
Now, restart the computer for the changes to take effect and disable system-level hardware acceleration on your PC.
Disable VBS on Windows 11
What is VBS?
Virtualization-based Security (VBS) is short for Virtualization-based Security . This feature allows Windows 11 to use hardware virtualization to isolate a secure region of memory and accommodate security features such as Hypervisor-Enforced Code Integrity (HVCI). This feature plays a vital role in Windows 11 security protocols and should only be disabled if you need to get the most performance out of your computer. A gaming computer used in competitive gaming or a workstation for rendering animations are examples.
For these types of users, VBS will significantly affect performance. In this case, disabling VBS on Windows 11 can make a significant difference. But it is not without risk, as it will impact the security of your device. As always, it’s up to you to weigh these risks and decide where your priorities are.
How to Disable VBS on Windows 11
If you upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, VBS is disabled by default. Unless, of course, you enabled it before upgrading. But if you have a shiny new device with Windows 11 preinstalled, then VBS will be automatically enabled. In order to disable VBS in Windows 11 follow the procedure below:
To disable VBS on Windows 11 go to your start menu then click on “ Settings ”
Then click on “ Privacy and security ”
Then select “ Windows Security ”
In the middle of this screen, you will see an option called “ Device Security ”. Click on this option.
You then need to select “ Core Isolation Details ”
Finally, you will see a toggle switch under “ Memory Integrity ”. Set it to “ Off ,” close the menu, and restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
Disable overlays of third-party applications like Steam/Discord/Origin/Uplay/GOG…
Software like Steam, Discord, etc. feature overlays that provide you with additional information or help you complete tasks like inviting friends to your group. Although enabling these overlays can be very useful, they significantly increase memory and CPU usage. If your PC is having trouble running games, try turning off these overlays.
In this guide, we use “Steam” to demonstrate how you can easily disable overlays in these apps. The process should be similar in other apps as well. What you need to do is open the settings page of the specific app which shows an overlay interface and then disable the overlay feature in the app settings.
First, launch the application which displays an interface overlaid on your PC screen. Since we’re taking Steam as an example, we’ll open the Steam app by searching for it in the Start menu.
Once the Steam window opens, click “Steam” in the upper left corner of the window.
Next, select “Settings” from the options available in the menu.
On the Steam settings page, select the “In-Game” option from the left panel.
This is how you disable the Steam overlay. You can use this method as a reference to disable overlays in other software like Discord or Teamspeak.
Disable transparency on Windows 11
Many users might not want to disable the transparency option, which makes Windows 11 look very modern. However, for performance reasons, you may want to drop this option.
To deactivate transparency, go to the “ Settings ” application in the Start menu present in the taskbar. You can also press Windows+I shortcut to directly open the Settings app.
Next, click on the “ Personalization ” tab in the side panel present on the screen.
Then click on the “ Colors ” option from the list that appears on the screen.
Next, turn “ Transparency Effects ” to the “ Off ” position on the tile.
Disable shadows, animations, visual effects on Windows 11
Turning off transparency is one thing, but to truly tune your computer for the best possible performance, you’ll really need to tune out all the visual aspects that Windows has to offer.
To deactivate all visual effects, go to the “ Settings ” application from the Start menu present in the taskbar. You can also press Windows+I shortcut to directly open the Settings app.
Next, click on the “ System ” tab present in the sidebar.
Next, click on the “About” option from the list that appears on the screen.
Next, scroll down and click on the “ Advanced system settings ” option under the “ Related links ” tab.
After clicking on the option, a separate “System Properties” window will open on your screen.
Next, click the “ Settings ” button in the “System Properties” window that appears on the screen.
Now, select the “ Adjust for best performance ” option by clicking on the radio button preceding the option, or individually uncheck the options listed in the “Performance Option” panel by clicking on the “ Settings” option. personalized: “.
Once you have selected your preferred options, click the ” Apply ” button to confirm the changes, then click the ” OK ” button to close the window.
Adjusting this option to get the best performance should be instantaneous in terms of responsiveness feedback. Navigating your Explorer should be much faster and smoother than before.
Using “graphics preference” per application
In Windows 11, you can configure games to use maximum performance mode. This will significantly improve your gaming experience. First of all, click on the Start menu icon and open “Settings”.
In the “ Settings ” window, click “ Display ”.
From there, scroll down until you see ” Charts ” and click on it.
A list of applications appears. Select a game from the list, then click “ Options ”.
In the new window, select “ High Performance ” and click “Save”.
Choosing an efficient power mode
Choosing the right power plan is important because, depending on it, Windows may limit the processing power used for gaming to save battery power. If you have a laptop, you can skip this step because your battery will drain faster.
First, search for “ Choose a power plan ” in Windows Search and select it from the search results.
When the Power Options window opens, click “ Show additional modes ”. By default, “Normal Use” mode will be selected.
To get the best gaming performance, select “ High Performance ” mode. Your computer will then use more power, but if you’re on a desktop computer, you don’t need to worry about this.
You can go further by unlocking “ Ultimate Performance ” mode, although this is not necessary. To do this, type “ Command Prompt ” in Windows Search. Right-click on it and select “ Run as administrator ” from the context menu.
In Command Prompt, copy and paste the following command and press Enter:
powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61
Now go back to the Power Options page and click on the “ Refresh ” icon. You can then select the “Ultimate Performance” plan.
Disable background apps on Windows 11
While many important apps, such as Mail or Calendar, need to run in the background to provide you with timely updates, the Calculator app or Microsoft Solitaire collection do not need to occupy your valuable resources in the background -plan.
It’s high time to put these non-productive applications to rest to improve your machine’s performance and save power on mobile devices.
This solution applies to a few applications and on a case-by-case basis, which is why we tell you how to deactivate background applications via the Windows registry a little further down.
First of all, navigate to the “ Settings ” app from the Start menu present in the taskbar. You can also press Windows+I shortcut to directly open the Settings app.
Next, click on the “ Applications ” option from the sidebar present on the “Settings” screen.
Next, click on the “ Apps & Features ” option from the list.
Now, you can either search for an app using the “Search” field present under the “app list” section or manually scroll through the list to find a specific app.
Next, click on the kebab menu (three vertical dots) located on each individual tab of an application and select ” Advanced options ” from the list.
Next, scroll down and locate the “Background app permissions” section. Then click on the drop-down menu below the “Let this app run in the background” field and select the “Never” option.
You will need to repeat this process individually for each non-critical application in order to disable background permission for them.
These buggers may not have much of an impact on your RAM individually, but when combined they can take up a good chunk of it.
If you do not find this option on a majority of applications it is because Windows 11 does not include the option and it is also not possible to deactivate the background work of all applications at once. One-button help. However, although the GUI option is not present, it is still possible to do this with a registry edit.
Disable Background Apps on Windows 11 via Registry
To disable background apps on Windows 11, open the Registry Editor. To do this, press Win + R and type regedit , then press Enter.
Then access the following path:
On the right, edit or create a new 32-bit DWORD GlobalUserDisabled value .
Set its value to 1 to prevent all applications from running in the background.
Log out of your user account to apply the change, then log back in.
You have successfully stopped all Windows 11 apps from running in the background. The override .reg file is named “Enable background apps in Windows 11.reg”. It is also included in the ZIP archive you downloaded.
Disable programs at startup on Windows 11
This tip works wonders when it comes to reducing the boot time of your Windows machine. The best part of the Disable Startup Programs feature is that you don’t have to guess which application might be using your resources intensively during startup. The system itself provides you with information on the level of impact of a program.
However, the only problem is that you will have to launch programs manually after booting your system if they are essential to your daily use.
First, click the “Search” icon on your taskbar, then type “ Task Manager ” in the search box that appears on the screen. Then click on the “ Task Manager ” app in the search results.
Now click on the “ Startup ” tab in the “Task Manager” window.
You will now see the list of programs that will start when your PC turns on. The impact of each application will also be indicated in the “Startup Impact” column.
Then click on the application or applications listed as “Top” in the “Startup Impact” column and click on the “ Disable ” button present at the bottom right corner of the Task Manager window.
Note: If the majority of applications are listed as “No impact” or “Not measured”, disabling all non-critical applications may also help.
Disabling startup applications will definitely give your machine a much-needed boost during startup.
Disable “Windows Tips and Tricks”
Windows 11 will provide you with tips and tricks to use it better to be useful to users. Unfortunately, to achieve this functionality, it must scan your computer, which can have a significant impact on performance.
To fully recover your computer resources, go to the “ Settings ” application from the Start menu in the taskbar. You can also press Windows+I shortcut to directly open the Settings app.
Next, click on the “ System ” tab in the sidebar present on the screen.
Next, select the “ Notifications ” option from the list.
Then click the “carat” icon on the far right of the “Notifications” tab, then uncheck the “ Get tips and suggestions when I use Windows ” box from the list.
Stop OneDrive syncing on Windows 11
OneDrive is a great cloud storage utility offered by Microsoft to sync all your selected files across your Windows devices.
That said, OneDrive achieves this by constantly syncing your files between cloud storage and your computer. While modern PCs can handle this task fairly fairly, it may be too difficult for some older machines to handle.
Therefore, let’s first check if OneDrive is the culprit behind your computer slowing down.
First, click on the “cloud” icon located on the right side of your taskbar.
Now, click on the “ Help & Settings ” option in the OneDrive overlay pane.
Next, click on the “ Pause Sync ” option from the list. After that, choose a preferred time to pause your OneDrive folder syncing for the selected duration.
If you notice a noticeable performance difference in this time, you should turn off OneDrive sync. So now is the time to disable it to help you overcome your computer’s slow performance.
To disable OneDrive completely, click the “ Settings ” option in the “ Help & Settings ” menu .
After that, you will receive an alert, read it and then click on the “ Unlink Account ” button to unlink your PC and stop OneDrive services on your machine.
Disable advanced search on Windows 11
Finding a file in a folder full of files is the modern equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. However, you may often need to use the search functions for only certain folders and files on your computer. If so, you should definitely disable advanced search on your Windows machine.
Advanced Search scans your entire computer for the keyword you typed in the search bar. To achieve this, it must index all the files present on the computer, which requires significant CPU consumption.
However, turning off advanced search doesn’t mean you won’t be able to search at all. On the contrary, you will always be able to search from your selected drives and folders and maintain a good balance between good performance and efficient use.
To disable advanced search, go to the “ Settings ” app in the Start menu on the taskbar. You can also press Windows+I shortcut to directly open the Settings app.
Next, click on the “ Privacy & Security ” tile from the options available on the Settings screen.
Next, click on the “ Windows Search ” option from the list.
Then click on the “ Classic ” option present in the “Find my files” section.
(Default search locations included in “classic” search mode include the Documents, Pictures, Music folders, and files and icons on the desktop).
You can also add search locations by clicking on the “ Customize Search Locations ” option located under the “Classic” option.
A new “Indexing Options” window then opens on the screen. Next, click the “ Edit ” option at the bottom left corner of the pane.
Next, click the checkbox before the drive or folder to include that particular directory in your search locations.
Note: As the number of directories selected increases, more computing resources will be required to index them. Therefore, try to keep the number of directories as low as possible.
When you have finished selecting your directories, click the “OK” button to apply the changes and close the window.
(You will also be able to see the summary of your selected locations)
Disable Search Indexing on Windows 11
If you don’t use the search function at all on your Windows machine, why waste even a fraction of your resources? If you have already disabled the advanced search feature, let’s learn how to disable it to recover every last ounce of resources.
To do this, click on the “Search” icon in the taskbar, in the lower part of your screen.
Now, type “ Services ” in the search box and then click on the search result of “ Services ” app.
Next, click the drop-down box before the “ Startup type: ” field and choose the “ Disabled ” option from the list.
Then click “ Apply ” to confirm your changes, then “OK” to close the window.
Then restart your system for the changes to take effect. Your search will now be slower than usual. However, you will see an overall improvement in performance.
Enable Auto HDR on Windows 11
No performance gain with this feature, but it will allow you (with compatible hardware) better immersion in your games with a brighter and more contrasted display, without blocked or overexposed areas.
Windows 11’s new Auto HDR feature can add HDR-like effects to even some older standard dynamic range (SDR) games, similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X’s Auto HDR feature.
If you have an HDR-enabled display, enabling Windows 11’s Auto HDR feature only requires a few simple steps. (If you don’t have an HDR monitor, however, some of the options below may not be available to you).
Finally, depending on the game, you will not always get the expected result. If any of your games look weird while the feature is enabled, you can always turn off the Auto HDR feature and play with normal settings. Don’t forget to check the options for your specific game: many new titles have HDR settings to enable for the best performance.
Here are the simple steps on how to enable automatic HDR in Windows 11:
First, click on the Windows 11 Start menu, then select “ Settings ”.
Next, click “ System ,” then “ Display ” at the top of the list. This will take you to the brightness and colors page.
Here, click on “ HDR ”, to access more options on this feature
If your hardware is compatible you will then directly see the Auto HDR option displayed as well as other high dynamic range functions. Enable this and the colors of many SDR games will be enhanced on your HDR display.
You can also confirm if your display supports HDR by checking the display capabilities summary on this page. If you want to use HDR without it being automatically applied to SDR games, simply turn off AutoHDR and leave HDR enabled.
If you want to see how Auto HDR technology works and different comparisons with the “K Mod”, I invite you to watch the Digital Foundry video below:
Uninstalling unnecessary apps on Windows 11
If you’re having performance issues while gaming, try installing apps and software that you’ve never used or no longer use. This will not only free up space for other games, but also reduce the number of applications running in the background. There are two ways to remove unnecessary apps and software from your system.
First, to remove apps you downloaded from Microsoft Store, open “ Settings ” from the Start menu, then click “ Application ”.
Next, click “ Apps & Features ” to open the list of all the apps you downloaded from the Microsoft Store, as well as the pre-installed apps.
From there, scroll down until you see the list of apps. Click the 3 vertical dots next to the app you want to uninstall and click “ Uninstall ”.
Second, to remove any software that was not downloaded from the Microsoft Store, you need to go to Control Panel. To do this, start by searching for “ Control Panel ” in Windows Search and then select it from the search results.
In the Control Panel window, click on the “ Uninstall a program ” option.
A list containing all your desktop applications will then open. From there, you can select and uninstall any app you want.
Deleting temporary files
Deleting temporary files frees cache data and improves performance. To delete temporary files in Windows 11, first open the Run window by pressing Windows+R keys together . Next, type “ temp ” in the command bar and press Enter.
This will take you to the directory in which all temporary files are saved on your PC.
Then press CTRL+A to select all files, then press DEL key to delete them or right-click the selected files and select “Delete” icon from the context menu. There will be some files that you cannot delete. Just ignore them and you will be done with them.
Note: There are two other directories that you should clean often. You can access it through the Run window. Instead of temp, type %temp% and prefetch to open these folders.
Disk Cleanup on Windows 11
Disk Cleanup removes unnecessary files and frees up space on your computer. First, run Windows search and type “ Disk Cleanup ” Then select it from the search result to open the Disk Cleanup dialog box.
A small window appears. Select the drive you want to clean, then click “OK.”
Note: It is recommended to clean all disks once a month, starting with the disk where Windows is installed.
After selecting the drive, another window opens. In the “Files to delete” section, select everything you want to delete, then click “OK.”
You will receive another pop-up asking you to confirm your action. Click “Delete Files” and wait for the process to complete. Depending on how many files you select, this may take some time.
Once finished, restart “Disk Cleanup” and this time click on “ Clean up system files ”.
In this section you will find files sometimes weighing several gigabytes, such as Windows updates, useful if you downgrade your system.
Defragmenting hard drives on Windows 11
If you don’t have an SSD, or if the game is installed on a hard drive with traditional platters, defragmenting the latter optimizes its operation and makes it more efficient. It also improves the overall performance of the computer.
To defragment a disk, you must first go to the Windows search engine and type “ Defragment and optimize drives ”, then open the application from the search results.
In the Optimize Drives window, select a drive, then click “ Optimize .”
Note: You should defragment all your hard drives once every few months. When defragmenting, prioritize Solid State Drives before Hard Drives.
Checking system files
Damaged or corrupted system files can slow down your computer and adversely affect your gaming experience. To check if you have such files, you can use the sfc /scannow command.
First, open the Start menu and type “ Command Prompt ” in the search bar. Next, right-click on the “ Command Prompt ” application in the search results, right-click on it and select “ Run as administrator ” from the context menu.
In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter.
Wait for the scanning process to complete. If any corrupted files are present in your system, you will be notified.
These are all the tips and tricks to speed up your Windows 11 PC and free it from the shackles of slowness.