Among techies, it is known that Windows 10 has a game mode. The OS implemented it. It’s also included with Windows 11. The latter even offers a second game mode. Here’s how to activate it.
Sometimes gamers go to great lengths to properly handle gaming sessions: in addition to regularly updated or newly purchased hardware, some of them rely on glowing PC components. As well as overclocking and other software settings – not so effective, but in general, and depending on the name of the game, quite worthwhile – are in the program. Microsoft has been responding to optimization requests since Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) and above: Game Mode has since been built into the OS of the Redmond manufacturer. Enabling it can improve performance for free. Perhaps the mode is already working for you, if in doubt, you should look into the “Settings” application in the corresponding “Settings” sub-item. Then you have the clarity, if necessary, turn on the innovation here by clicking the slide switch. The procedure is described in the guide “Windows 10/11: Activating Game Mode”.
Windows 11 22H2: A second gaming mode
But that’s not all: Windows 11 22H2 introduced a second mode, which is supposed to orient the PC towards gaming. In the following article paragraph, we will show you how to use it. First, a few recommendations for the “usual” gaming mode: In addition to the system-internal configuration app, there are now a few third-party programs that are also capable of activating this mode. We especially noticed the portable Optimizer, Wintoys and TweakNow WinSecret here.
Other tools to improve the gaming performance
Other tools take different approaches to improve the gaming performance of Windows computers: Auslogics BoostSpeed Free installs various power saving plans in the operating system. Press Windows-R and use the command powercfg.cpl to open power options, check for availability (one of the preset plans is geared towards games). With TweakPower, you load the powercfg.cpl “TweakPower Ultra Gaming” and “Ultimate Performance” plans into your system.
The “NTLite Free” tool, which reads Windows installation records and creates separate optimized ISO images, has presets for “Privacy”, “Games”, “Lite”, and “Not Recommended”. All of this applies to newly created ISO images that you customize. The “proper” game mode in Windows seems to be more useful than, above all, the NTLite Free feature, which, when viewed critically, falls under the “gimmick”; the secondary (discussed in the article) game mode in the OS also has potential, it should become more famous in the future.
Windows 11: Enable second native game mode
If you are using Windows 11 22H2, you can activate the new integrated gaming mode as follows: Open the Settings app with the Windows-i key combination. Unlike Windows 10, the “System” section is already opened by default. Stay there and click on “Screen” at the top. Click on the line “Graphics” under “Related settings”. In the following screen, click on the link “Change default graphic settings”. Then toggle the slider below “Optimizations for window games”.
According to the description text, the feature serves the following: “Reduce latency and use advanced features in compatible games by using the Flip presentation model. You will need to restart your game for the changes to take effect.”
The new game mode is said to reduce frame latency in some games and enable gaming features like auto-HDR. It affects DirectX 10 and 11 games that appear in a window or a frameless window. So those are ones that, unlike their full-screen entertainment title counterparts, don’t minimize unintentionally when you (accidentally) press the Windows logo key – a bit of a gaming cardinal sin.
A tip for time savers: With a command line command in batch programming syntax, to be entered in the Windows Run dialog, you can switch on the new mode in no time. Press Windows-R and press Enter to execute the following command to be inserted (it is a one-liner, highlight and copy it from beginning to end):
reg add “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\DirectX\UserGpuPreferences” /v DirectXUserGlobalSettings /t REG_SZ /d “SwapEffectUpgradeEnable=1;1” /f
After that, to be on the safe side, check in the Settings app if the switch in question is in the correct position.
Tweak the OS in terms of speed: Windows 11 22H2 required
Under Windows 11 21H2, the “Change default graphics settings” link mentioned above in the article is missing. Therefore, do not apply our click instructions here. You can see whether your computer is equipped with the required Windows 11 22H2 by looking at the Task Manager (can be called up with Ctrl-Shift-Escape). If it comes in the design you know from the Windows 8(.1) on-board program counterpart, Windows 8.1/10 or Windows 11 21H2 is present; with a newer visual taskmgr.exe incarnation, you are at least dealing with the current Windows 11 22H2. A look into the Winver window, which you open with Windows-R and the command winver, provides clarity; here you will find information about the installed OS major release (ideally 22H2+) as well as the build version of your operating system.
A conclusion about the function: The novelty certainly doesn’t hurt, but you should try it out. The feature seems more contemporary than some of the older tuning tools that were used to adjust the computer’s settings for gaming. Something like that is usually to be booked under placebo. Do you still know the 5star Game Tuner from Engelmann or Intelli Hyperspeed? Once upon a time they got more or less attention, long ago.. It’s nice that Microsoft is doing something for a more pleasant gaming experience, despite the high hardware requirements of Windows 11, due to which all Windows 11 computers meeting them should have a minimum of speed for (at least casual) gaming, for example. It’s up to you whether you turn on the old gaming mode and/or the new one.
PS: Anti-virus programs and personal firewalls sometimes come with a game mode. However, this means something with a different approach, namely that the applications suppress their own popping up message windows for an unclouded enjoyment of shooters et cetra.
Read our article: Windows 11 testing without installation in the browser.