Windows 10's Game Mode is negatively impacting gaming performance

midian182

Posts: 5,759   +46
Staff member

Introduced with the Creators Update back in the Spring of 2017, Game Mode is designed to improve gaming performance by isolating CPU resources that can be devoted exclusively to optimizing a game. It also limits background tasks and gives games more GPU cycles, all of which are supposed to bring a minor boost, though this is more noticeable on lower-end systems.

But according to several user reports on Reddit (via Guru3D), Game Mode is having a detrimental effect on some titles, causing problems that include lower FPS counts, stuttering screens and freezes. It’s been found to affect games such as Call of Duty: Warzone and League of Legends.

The problems aren’t restricted to a particular type of graphics card, either. Users with both Nvidia and AMD products have been affected. Gamers with a Radeon RX 5700 XT, RX 570, RX 480, and R9 29 are finding the issues, while those with the GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti have also been hit.

It’s unclear how many users are experiencing problems, but turning off Game Mode is simple if you want to see the effect. For those who don’t know how, just open the Settings menu by clicking on the Start Menu and the cog icon. From here, select the Gaming icon, then Game Mode, and use the toggle to disable the feature. Or you could just type 'Game Mode' in Windows Search. If you have been affected by stuttering and freezing issues, this could fix them.

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brucek

Posts: 388   +433
Help text says Game Mode "Prevents Windows Update from performing driver installations and sending restart notifications."

Why doesn't Windows Update just run at a low priority generally, and auto-defer when it senses sustained cpu, network, or storage activity? Why would it need a "game mode" for what seems like common sense behavior?
 

Irata

Posts: 569   +735
TechSpot Elite
Read on the AMD reddit that this and a Windows update messing up rights on the programs folder were causing the issue he was having with games including stuttering and even black screens. At least some posters said that turning game mode off and running sfc /scannow fixed the issues for them.

Imho, game mode should be off per default on systems with 12+ threads and Windows should not be doing intensive maintenance tasks while any demanding application is running, if it‘s a game or not.
 

ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,297   +1,081
This isn't the first time MS has tried a "game mode" and have caused a lot of headaches for people. It's as if they are doing it on purpose. Actually, there has always been a "Performance" option in Windows for decades. It's under System Properties -> Performance Options -> Advanced -> Processor scheduling. I haven't looked if it actually does anything. Surprising as to how deep I've gone into their OS.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 2,871   +2,603
I recently started playing DCS WORLD. I use Windows Game Mode to record my gameplay.

If I don't start recording immediately before I start playing, windows Game Mode will lock up my controls.

Yesterday, Windows Game Mode locked up my controls and sent me to a b.s.o.d with a physical memory dump.

It's also very picky about audio/mic settings.

It does not give my 2080Ti any framerate issues, but it's very finniky to work with.DCS WORLD share photo.jpg
 

kimo1

Posts: 45   +63
Game Mode to play Microsoft Windows games like Solitaire, FreeCell, Spider Solitaire, Hearts.
Every problem from Microsoft is intentional. They have the funds to make it perfect. But they won't. Because, what is an average user going to do? Switch to Linux? Microsoft has monopoly. And this is what happens when there's no opposition. And by law it is criminally punishable to copy intellectual property. The law has been purchased to punish any opposition. Parasitism at its finest.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 206   +227
I recently started playing DCS WORLD. I use Windows Game Mode to record my gameplay.

If I don't start recording immediately before I start playing, windows Game Mode will lock up my controls.

Yesterday, Windows Game Mode locked up my controls and sent me to a b.s.o.d with a physical memory dump.

It's also very picky about audio/mic settings.

It does not give my 2080Ti any framerate issues, but it's very finniky to work with.View attachment 86584
Every time I read your comments I wait for inevitable mention of your RTX 2080 TI.

That being said, anyone who plays DCS games is cool in my book. Have a good one!

Edit : Bonus points if you also love Symphony of Night.
 
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Thank you for this article!
I have a brand new Alienware running an i7 and 1660 ti that was giving me issues with using alot of resources (running the hard drive at 100% and running hot, 100°C kind of hot). I tried turning off "features" of Windows 10 like SuperFetch (I refuse to call it by it's new name lol) but it did little help and I'd still run into games crashing.
But after reading this article and turning off "Game Mode" a lot of the problems I was having stopped!
I was able to play NBA 2K20 for an hour without it crashing and the temperature of the CPU bounced between 60°C-80°C and not any higher.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 259   +170
M$ and updates the infinite source of enjoyment for every user and admin.
This is probably the only dark spot on being a PC gamer.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,806   +1,539
TechSpot Elite
Looks like I'll be turning it off for now. Hopefully fullscreen applications still block notifications and other distractions otherwise...
 

texasrattler

Posts: 899   +392
Game Mode has been said to be turned off since it game out. It was studied by several sites, I believe TS also looked into it. The benefits, if any, are so small for most but if you have it on, well it has shown to cause the issues mentioned in the article. It's nothing new tho, this has all been known about since game mode debuted. Most gamers wont ever use as it has no real impact, especially if you have a high end computer or already shut most task off manually.

Ive seen Apex Legends have issues with game mode.

I have had Game Mode off for awhile now and it doesn't stop any Windows Updates from coming in. As for notifications, I still get the lil icon appearing at the bottom right hand corner saying to restart computer. As far as I can tell, I don't see any issues with having Game Mode off, if anything you should see a lil bit better performance for some games.

Also might be a good Idea to turn off Game Bar too.
 

DukeJukem

Posts: 162   +120
My build has an i5 4690k with an rtx 2070 and I just turn game mode, game bar and fullscreen optimizations off. The feature has never given me anything other than a placebo effect at best...and my hardware is pretty old excluding my gpu. There is simply no need for it in my eyes.

I'd also like to inform everyone that even if you turn all of those features off the process "gamebarpresencewriter" will always run when you launch a game so I would suggest going into the windows/system32 folder, finding gamebarpresencewriter and take ownership of it. afterwords set all of it's permissions to deny so it will never run again.

I have had no negative effects by disabling all of these things.
 

Mike89

Posts: 99   +57
The only thing Game Mode does is put another layer between you and your game. Don't know why anyone would actually turn it on.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 1,828   +1,057
The only thing Game Mode does is put another layer between you and your game. Don't know why anyone would actually turn it on.
Its on by default and I've never had to turn it off as there as been no issues on my build.
 

Red999

Posts: 100   +36
Microsoft should just give windows 8.1 the windows xp's start menu, hevc codec and windowed windows store apps.
I know many people hate 8.1 but it's very stable and works well in my old haswell laptop.