8 tips for optimizing your Windows 11 PC for gaming performance

8 tips for optimizing your Windows 11 PC for gaming performance

Windows 11 brought a number of notable features, including AutoHDR, that can make your games look much better (if you have an HDR screen). But if you want to maximize your PC’s gaming performance, you need to take matters into your own hands and adjust some settings.

Fortunately, the process is not too complicated. In the following guide, we will discuss the best methods to help you optimize your computer for gaming.

1. Disable startup applications

In general, startup applications have no influence on game performance. However, the presence of a heavy application or app with high consumption will certainly have an impact. Ultimately, the outcome depends on the applications you are running on PC.

If you think they are interfering with gaming performance, disable them. Doing so may cause your PC to run faster.

  1. Print Ctrl + Shift + Esc on the keyboard to start “Task Manager”.
  2. Navigate to the “Startup” tab.
Optimize Windows 11 Startup tab
  1. Select the app you want to close and click the “Disable” button below.
Optimize Windows 11 Disable startup apps
  1. Do this for all unnecessary applications and the system will start running faster.

Disable resource-intensive applications

Some programs can consume a lot of memory and CPU power. So if you want to start a game session, disable these programs in advance.

  1. Print Ctrl + Shift + Esc on the keyboard to open Task Manager.
  2. Sort the “Processes” list by “CPU” or “Memory” usage by clicking one or the other.
  3. Select the processes that use the most and click “Finish task” at the bottom.
Optimize Windows 11 End Resource Eating Tasks
  1. Repeat these steps to disable any unnecessary applications running in the background and using memory or CPU.

Disable animations

If you tend to favor speed over appearance, you should probably consider disabling animations. Windows 11 is much smoother, in part because of the animation effects. But while they make things look good, they can slow down your system.

  1. Print Win + I to open Settings on your Windows PC.
  2. Navigate to “Accessibility” in the menu on the left.
  3. Select “Visual effects.”
Optimize Windows 11 visual effects
  1. Disable “Animation effects” from the menu.
Optimize Windows 11 Disable animation effects

After performing these steps, Windows 11 will not look as smooth, but system performance will improve.

4. Adjust visual effects

As we saw above, Windows 11 is set to look its best, but it can affect your gaming performance. To prevent your games from conflicting with the GUI running in the background, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings on your computer as we explained above.
  2. In the search field in the upper left corner, enter “Performance”.
  3. From the options that appear, select “Adjust the look and performance of Windows”.
Optimize Windows 11 Adjust performance
  1. In the new “Performance Options” window that appears, select the “Adjust for best performance” checkbox.
Optimize Windows 11 Adjust performance Best performance

5. Use the Ultimate-Performance Power Plan

You may also want to switch to the “Ultimate Performance” power plan on Windows 11. This is an option that allows your PC to use more power to deliver the required performance.

Windows power plan is set to “Balanced” by default. So you have to change to the “Ultimate Performance” plan manually.

  1. Click the “Search” icon in the taskbar.
  2. Type “Power Plan” in the search field at the top.
  3. Click “Select a power plan.”
Optimize Windows 11 Choose a power plan
  1. Switch to the “Ultimate-Performance” power plan (in the same case, the option is only listed as “Performance”. If this option is not available, navigate to “Show additional plans”).
Optimize Windows 11 Ultimate Power Plan

After performing these steps, your system will perform better as it uses more power for the benefit of performance. But one thing you need to remember, this particular power plan is only suitable for high-end PCs and laptops.

6. Update the graphics driver (s)

One of the crucial elements to improve game performance is the graphics driver. So it needs to be updated frequently.

  1. Open the manufacturer’s website in your browser. In our case, we will visit the NVIDIA website to check for new drivers.
  2. Enter the required details such as model of graphics card, operating system and more. Click the “Search” button at the bottom.
Optimize Windows 11 Search for graphics driver
  1. Click “Download” on the next page.
Optimize Windows 11 Download graphics driver
  1. The graphics driver starts the download immediately.
  2. After that, run the installation file and install the new driver. If you do not use NVIDIA, do not worry. The AMD graphics driver update process in Windows is similar.

7. Activate game mode

Game mode is not a new feature, as it was also available on Windows 10. It allows users to enjoy uninterrupted game performance.

There is no noticeable difference between Windows 10 game mode and the latest version. In Windows 11, it continues to optimize the system for playing games and even improve frame rates. Ideally, it is best to activate the game mode.

  1. Click the Start button on the taskbar.
  2. Select the “Settings” app from the menu.
  3. Navigate to “Gaming” and select “Game Mode”.
Optimize Windows 11 game mode
  1. Enable “Game Mode” in Windows 11 by turning on the option.
Optimize Windows 11 Enable game mode
  1. Select “Graphics” under “Related Settings.”
Optimize Windows 11 Click Graphics
  1. Look for the game you want to play in the “All Apps” list. Once you have found it, click on it and press “Options”.
Optimize Windows 11 Look for games
  1. Under “Graphics Preference”, select “High Performance”.
Optimize Windows 11 Change graphics preference
  1. If the game you are looking for appears to be unavailable, click “Browse” to add it manually.
Optimize Windows 11 Browse Games
  1. Repeat these steps for all the games installed on your Windows 11 PC for uninterrupted game performance.

8. Disable automatic updates

In theory, the new updates should be good for the system, as they come equipped with security updates, bug fixes, etc. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There have been many instances where updates have done more harm than good. So it may be best to disable the auto-update feature and update Windows as you like in your own time.

  1. Open the “Settings” apps as we explained above.
  2. Navigate to “Windows Update”.
  1. From here, you can pause Windows updates for a period of time. There are a few options in addition to “Pause Updates”. Select the desired.
Optimize Windows 11 Pause Windows Update

As you can see, the steps are simple. But this is not the only way to stop Windows updates. If you are extremely careful not to install unnecessary updates, you should learn other ways to stop Windows from updating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Windows 11 better for games than Windows 10?

In terms of gaming performance, Windows 11 has a slight advantage over its predecessor, which consists of the two Xbox features that were added to the new operating system: AutoHDR and DirectStorage.

Are there any other ways to optimize Windows 11 for gaming?

Yes, there are other ways to optimize Windows 11 for gaming. More sophisticated ways to improve PC gaming performance are available.

For example, if you have a laptop with an NVIDIA GPU, you can visit the “NVIDIA Control Panel” and make necessary changes to improve gaming performance. To find it on your computer, right-click on the desktop and select “Show More Options -> NVIDIA Control Panel”.

How to enable AutoHDR functionality on Windows 11?

AutoHDR is a brand new gaming feature that Microsoft has added to Windows 11. It makes games look better with the use of vibrant colors. But it is not a standard function. You have to activate it manually, and here’s how you can do it. In Windows, go to “Settings-> System-> Display” and select HDR. At the top you will find “Use HDR”. Activate it first. Finally, scroll down and activate “AutoHDR”.

Image Credit: Unsplash All screenshots by Saurav Dey

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