Microsoft releases guide to optimize Windows 11 gaming performance

AlphaX

Posts: 56   +16
Staff
TL;DR: Ever since Windows 11 was released about a year ago, some gamers who made the jump found that their gaming performance had dropped off slightly compared to Windows 10. Over a year later, Microsoft has published a guide to help users regain their frames.

Windows 11 hasn't had the smoothest first year, but your mileage will vary. Early on AMD processors were affected, sometimes losing nearly 15% of its performance, but that only lasted for a couple of weeks right after launch. A number of Nvidia buyers noticed significant frame drops following the recent 22H2 update in September. And overall, some people believe Windows 11 simply feels less "snappy" than Windows 10 did (myself included).

Numerous gamers report that Windows 11 also affects their in-game performance, even after attempting fixes such as disabling VBS, which we discovered could improve frame rates rather consistently. This led many consumers to downgrade to Windows 10.

This week, Microsoft released a guide specifically to help gamers regain those extra few frames, simply by restricting two features within Windows.

Microsoft's first solution is to disable HVCI, also known as Memory Integrity. According to Microsoft, "Memory Integrity helps prevent attackers from injecting their own malicious code and helps ensure that all drivers loaded onto the OS are signed and trustworthy." Though some claim Memory Integrity can be used to block ransomware attacks, so use this tip at your own risk.

Microsoft assures that this feature will be automatically activated on all new Windows 11 PCs, but not on computers already running Windows 11, so you may have to enable it in that case.

The second tip provided is to disable Virtual Machine Platform. The job of Virtual Machine Platform is to "provide core virtual machine jobs for Windows." This feature is also not enabled automatically unless you were to freshly install Windows 11. Neither option was activated on my Windows 11 PC, which is slightly concerning since their main purpose is to improve security.

Microsoft claims to have received feedback from users and noticed that having both Memory Integrity and Virtual Machine Platform enabled can degrade performance. As a result, Microsoft concludes that gamers may "turn off these features while gaming and turn them back on when finished playing" if they want the optimal experience out of their machine.

Unfortunately, Microsoft does not clarify how much performance users can get out of disabling these features nor do they provide a more straightforward or automated way for unnecessary features not to be running on the background when gaming. However, based on our tests regarding VBS, we wouldn't expect anything more than a 10% improvement.

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brucek

Posts: 1,292   +1,921
I've got computers on both 10 & 11, and in advice giving I am generally indifferent unless the user has and uses HDR on their monitor, in which case Win 11 offers real improvements.

I more often hear that the Windows UX may be a tiny bit snappier in Win 11. It's a trivial difference either way.

VBS is a minor (single digit) hit to performance. The good news is that unless your system was marginal in the first place, net performance will still be good, so if you had a reason to activate it in the first place, you're fine having set it and forgetting it. You'll only notice the difference when you're actively benchmarking.
 

Srksi

Posts: 24   +15
I thought optimization is M$ problem! Oh wait... Error 404, optimization not found in ANY windows!
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,675   +2,654
Disable them via Game Mode if it actually works.
edit: I already have these off. I must have read about this last year.
 
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Revolution 11

Posts: 235   +329
The problem with Windows 11 is not the 10% performance hit, it is the constant screwups with UI and consumer control over the OS.

If Microsoft just allowed for multiple UI paradigms to exist on Windows 11 and allowed the customer to control aspects of the OS that the customer has ALWAYS had access to since the early 90s, Windows 11 would be a big success.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,254   +304
After a year I finally upgraded to Windows 11. upgraded one supported laptop and two unsupported older PCs. I don't know why but it just feels faster. I didn't even do a clean install and even the boot time was reduced on all computers.

I guess it's because I used the Windows 10 since 2015 and there must have been tons of updates installed that's slowing it down. beside that I'm actually happy that the UX introduces more color, especially the basic folder color that's no longer pale.

the most obvious fix for me was the graphics driver. on the coffee lake laptop with amd graphics, even if I set it to power saver it still consumes significant amount of power. I gained like almost an hour of extra battery life in windows 11. on my PC with nvidia driver, I no longer have to deal with win10 randomly changing my 5.1 speaker configuration to stereo.

also I used explorerpatcher from github to deal with the annoying UI issue -> taskbar always combined and stupid new right click menu. there is a windows 10 start menu too, but after 22H2 update sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
 

Trillionsin

Posts: 1,897   +484
What a MOSTLY useless guide... thanks Microsoft!

The first option yielded "Page not available. The page you are trying to access has no supported features and is not available."

I have the most current version of Windows 11 Pro.
 

BobHome

Posts: 162   +66
A History Of Microsoft Windows - every other version works quite well; the ones in-between, quite unwell. 11 is an in-between.