How To Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming

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how to optimize pc for gaming windows 10

Windows 10 is a revolutionary invention of its time, being praised for its bundled software over the previous 8.1.

Not stopping there, it also includes Xbox live integration; the functional capabilities of its Cortana special assistant have been well received, but perhaps the most monumental change was the replacement of internet explorer with Microsoft edge.

Five years after its release, it was installed on 1 billion devices worldwide, and today 27% of all running devices use windows 10 as their operating system.

Although its feats as an operating system are monumentally remarkable, surpassing everything that came before, it must be tweaked to suit one’s needs.


How To Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming


Windows 10 is a great operating system for gamers because, as mentioned above, it supports Xbox live streaming and retro titles.

Players can record and take screenshots of their games easily once they optimize them to their needs. Several ways can help a player to optimize windows 10 for gaming. They are listed below:

More PC gaming related guides:


#1- Turn On The Game Mode


Under the general tab in-game bar settings, one can turn on the game mode for any desired app. It is app-specific, and to put a game in game mode, all that needs to be done is check the option next to it and uncheck it to disable game mode.

Game Mode feature in windows 10

The game mode works by dedicating extra system resources and focusing them on the selected games when in use. Its function of prioritizing a specific program must be emphasized because it entails several (often ignored) details.

Now we know it prioritizes a specific program, but it does so at an expense. When the game mode is on, it restricts any already going on background activity, and dedicating so many resources to a single program can affect the overall performance of a low-end PC.

To sum it up, the game mode can provide better frame rates and prevent mid-game restarts, but it keeps the PC from multitasking.


#2- Disable Nagle’s Algorithm


John Nagle’s (A Ford Aerospace engineer) algorithm can be a major problem and can decrease the overall quality of a gaming experience from enjoyable to frustrating, which, unsurprisingly, in many eyes, isn’t optimal.

The source of this frustration is written into the very delicate basic codes of Nagle’s Algorithm. It is implemented in many modern operating systems such as AIX, Linus, and lastly, windows because they take advantage of its one feature, which is transmitting equal amounts of information with fewer packets to increase the overall efficiency of the bandwidth, but its cons haven’t been gone unnoticed.

Specifically, the fact that when many of these packets are being transmitted at the same time leads to a collapse because of too much congestion and no space.

It is fairly common on slow links. To put it into plain words, Nagle’s Algorithm holds back data until there is enough space to transmit them.

By now, I am sure I can imagine the facial disbelief of every man who enjoys multi-player gaming because words like “waiting for space” only correspond to a loss in an online multi-player game.

One way to ensure victory in any match is fast data transmission which is not possible with Nagle’s Algorithm running; also, it is no surprise that Nagle’s Algorithm’s second name is The Buffering Algorithm.

To disable it, open a command prompt as an administrator; after doing that, type in your config before locating your network adapter and locating its address.

Now open Registry by typing Regedit in the search bar.

Now the following is to be followed:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces

There is a list of registry keys under interfaces; open them one by one until you find one which matches your data.

Right-click on it and select DWORD (32-bit value) and afterward rename it to TcpAckFrequency with value data 1.

Using the same process, create another DWORD value named TcpNoDelay and also set its value to 1. This will disable Nagle’s Algorithm.


#3- Optimize Your Power Plan For Higher Performance


A power plan is a set system of settings that dictates the power utilization process of your computer. Windows 10 offers different power plans, which include

  1. A balanced power program that uses power satisfactorily.
  2. An optimized power plan which saves power whenever it can by reducing performance.
  3. A high power plan which utilizes a lot of energy by maximizing performance.
  4. Apart from this, a custom power plan is also an option.

A high power plan is recommended for an optimum gaming experience, but severe heating of the system might be an issue. All of these can be found under power and sleep settings.


#4- Upgrade To SSD


A solid-state drive is always the better option to use if the paired operating system is windows 10. Although optimization is possible, even when an HDD expects an optimized HDD to even match, let alone outperform, the performance output of an SSD is ridiculously absurd.

image a person connecting ssd to pc

SSDs are faster. There is just another level of satisfaction in witnessing the fast loading speeds and lag-free games when using an SSD.

Another thing that I do not want to leave out is that if you’re using a laptop, an SSD becomes even better as it tremendously increases battery life because it uses a lot less power. The low transfer rates of the SSDs make them a must-have thing.


#5- Update Graphics Drivers


Drivers are the prime example of an entity serving to create a link between the operating software and the external hardware as they allow the operating system and the programs to use the computer’s hardware.

Image of NVIDIA GeForce Experience Drivers Update

Graphic drivers for your graphic cards must be kept up to date, especially if you’re a gamer and care about getting a 3D experience.

Updating the drivers of your motherboard or sound card have no discernable effect whatsoever, but this could not be far from the truth for your graphics card or GPU as they give major performance improvements and fix bugs.

They are easy to get, and you can find them and afterward download them from the website of your manufacturers like NVIDIA or AMD.


#6- Tweak Your Visual Effects Settings


When it comes to visual effects, there are many opinions, but turning them off is considered an improvement by most people. Turning off the visual effects generally makes the windows more responsive.

However, it does affect the way font is rendered by making it a little less readable. Turning it off is mostly considered good as it decreases load.

Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows option in windows

To turn it off, type “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows” in the windows search bar, now the “Visual Effects” tab check the box which adjusts the “visual effects for the best performance”.

adjust visual effect settings in windows 10

It can relieve as much as 20% load from the GPU but not always. There is a performance increment but do not expect it to be very sizeable as video RAM differs from application RAM.


#7- Manage Your Active Hours


The term “Active hours” is exactly what it sounds like, which is concise terms is the activity duration of your computer.

It is simple and manageable without any hidden aspects but not unimportant enough to be ignored. It is important to manage your active hours to prev2 sudden restarts of your PC.

change active hours

You can change them under Windows update in “Update and security”. The best option would be to adjust active hours based on the activity toggle switch as it’s automatically done, then save you from the annoying restart to apply updates.

The reboots always occur outside of active hours, but restarts can also be scheduled to apply an update outside of active hours.


#8- Disable SuperFetch (Sysmain) And PreFetch


Both SuperFetch and PreFetch are preloading programs, and I will try to tell them apart as much as possible.

SuperFetch is a pretty standard window feature and works by preloading the app, which you most frequently use, anticipating that you will use it again, so it downloads the data needed for a start beforehand.

It is a service host program that is designed to speed up your PC and has been a part of every Windows since 2007. It was introduced in Windows Vista 2007, and on the latest version of Windows 10, it is known as Sysmain.

Sometimes SuperFetch can extend startup times by a lot as it starts preloading data of your most used application before the windows have even started running. In these cases, it is best to disable it to reduce the time required for a startup.

showing how to turn off Superfetch
  1. To disable it, you need to open “Services”, type “Services” in the search bar now open it, and afterward locate the “Sysmain entry”.
  2. After you’ve located the Sysmain entry, double click it to change the startup to disable and click OK.
  3. Now reboot the system, and SuperFetch will be disabled.

Now coming to PreFetch is also a similar program that gathers data on programs to help them start faster. Its function is to provide startup acceleration.

Their function becomes increasingly incessant on a hard disk pc as their activity puts a lot of load on the system, and their disk requests are way too high in number and so to get rid of it, open Registry and follow the below-written path

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters”

Now after double-clicking “Enableprefetch,” put “0” as the data value to turn PreFetch off.

showing how to turn off prefetch in windows 10 and 11

With SSD, SuperFetch and PreFetch become obsolete as SSDs are already very fast, and with them, it doesn’t matter if any of these host service systems are active or not, and windows 10 automatically shuts down SuperFetch when an SSD is attached, so we don’t have to worry about that.


#9- Enable Focus Assist


If you want to avoid a plethora of notifications popping up on your screen when you’re playing a game or watching a movie which, let’s be honest, everyone wants to avoid then focus assist is a must.

You probably won’t even need to enable it as it is ON by default and always activated whenever you’re in a game or full-screen mode but be sure to check in focus assist settings if you want to make some tweaks as focus assist exists in quite some forms.

You can prioritize some notifications above others, can set it to alarm only, and can even get a summary of everything and all the notifications you missed when focus assist was on. To visit it, you can select

Start > Settings > System > Focus assist,

or, in the search box on the taskbar, type Focus assists and then select Focus assist settings from the list of results.


#10- Turn Off Background Windows Services


Just like any other window, programs are running in the background called Background Windows Services. They are under the authority of the Service Control Manager.

An important fact to know is that there is no limit to the number of system resources they can utilize, quite a frightening fact to hear.

To save as many resources as possible, it is necessary to disable as many background services as possible, but not all of them. Yes, disabling many background services can indeed lift the load, but some of them are vital for a PC to run smoothly.

Now, as for what background services to turn off, it entirely depends on the user and the nature of work they use their PC for, and they must disable the background services while keeping their line of work/use in mind.


#11- Switch The Game API


An API or Application Program Interface is a software interface that plays the role of a mediator and facilitates communication by allowing two applications to exchange information and form a link.

They are very important in games too, and their importance, owing to their functions. Gaming APIs allow your programs and applications to interact by exchanging settings and rules, among many other things.

There this interaction with applications has led to the rise of social gaming, and a platform like windows allows developers to incorporate game data into their applications only thanks to APIs.

There are many APIs, but one among them stands out due to its functionality and efficiency; DirectX. It allows your games to work directly with your audio and video hardware to bring out the best of them.

It uses the multimedia acceleration features of your hardware more efficiently to improve the overall multimedia experience. The difference (improvement) in this case is quite remarkable.

The latest version of DirectX is called DirectX 12, and this API tool is splendid, to put it simply. It offers not just better frame rates but also better graphics and less power consumption.

To see which version of DirectX you have, press “Windows+R” and type “dxdiag”. If you haven’t downloaded DirectX, you can easily download it from any available website.

a simple way to check which DirectX Version you have

Windows updates also keep DirectX updated, but you can also manually check just to be sure. It is the same process as above.


#12- Disable Mouse Acceleration


Mouse Acceleration (also known as pointer precision) is a very old Microsoft feature and is turned on by default in every window, including windows 10. Now there’s also debate about whether to disable it or leave it as it is.

Though it is correct that mouse acceleration is always harmful if not limited at the top, some players combine it with low sensitivity of regular aiming to play, but it does affect the movement of the cross-hair a lot, and for this reason, many professional competitors prefer it disabled as it improves their precision and keeps the cursor from overshooting.

Many would describe mouse acceleration as too overpowered. To disable it, search “Mouse settings” in the search bar and click on it in the results.

How to Disable Mouse Acceleration

After that, click additional mouse settings under related settings. After opening it click pointer options and uncheck “enhance pointer precision,” and then apply settings. Mouse acceleration is now disabled.


#13- Prevent Downloads In Steam When Gaming


If you told someone back in the day that valve’s platform, which they launched to release new updates for their games, would go on to include third party games and, after 10 years or so, would become the biggest international online videogame distributor, no one would have believed you, but it turned out to be true.

Although steam is amazing with great customer capabilities, no one can deny that some of its features, like constant updates, can get fairly annoying.

Steam also has another annoying feature; in your steam client, if you go to the downloads tab in settings, you’ll see that there is a box that says “Allow downloads during gameplay.”

Prevent Downloads In Steam When Gaming

You must uncheck this box as background downloads can be a huge problem and can negatively affect your performance in competitive online games because when playing online, you must make sure that the entirety of your resources is dedicated to enhancing your online gaming experience.


#14- Turn Off Notifications


Now, this goes without saying; your gaming experience is only good as long as it is uninterrupted. No one likes a barrage of notifications popping up on your screen after every second or so.

It’s frustrating and can put you at a severe crippling disadvantage if you have the bad luck to receive a notification in the middle of a game. You can either limit notifications to certain prioritized apps or just get rid of them completely.

To completely get rid of these distracting entities, all you have to do is follow a simple path. First, open settings; after opening settings, navigate until you find the “System.”

Completely Turn Off Notifications in windows 10

Now from under the system, select notifications and actions, which should be on the left of your screen, and after clicking that, just toggle the notifications off.

There are further notification adjustments, and you can adjust your notifications by checking the boxes underneath. There is also an option to disable notifications for individual apps if that makes it easier.


#15- Disable Some Of Your Startup Applications


Startup applications are programs that start to run automatically as soon as the computer has been booted up.

They mostly run in the background, and though they won’t drastically increase the startup time of your PC, they can cause the time duration taken for other apps to load to extend by quite a margin. They are a part of the system and can vary in function.

Some of them are part of the operating system, some check for updates of the software, and many can be seen displayed as an icon on the taskbar.

It is not a great idea to disable all of them as some of them are vital, but many third-party apps run as startup applications and can be perfectly safe to disable.

In the end, it all depends on the reader and the nature of work his pc is being used for. Nevertheless, if your computer is booting up slowly, you have probably too many startup applications, and you turn them off.

Some of them which are harmless to turn off include examples like Chrome, Skype, and Zoom. You can disable them from the startup tab of the task manager.


#16- Turn Off Accessibility Key Combinations


It’s common knowledge that when your game, you have to utilize a multitude of keyboard keys; some in-game features require you to even press the same keys multiple times in a row, and in these cases, it’s common for players to get stumped by the windows warning sound as they unknowingly might have turned on something like sticky keys, toggle keys or maybe filter keys.

This feature is added to help many people with disabilities, but it gets annoying to normal players as they do not need it.

An optimal gaming experience is an uninterrupted gaming experience, but with keys like these turned on, interruptions are sure to follow, so it’s in the best interest just to turn them off.

To do this, you can either go to keyboard settings from the “Start” menu or just hit shift 5 times to get a shortcut from there.

turn off sticky keys

First, disable sticky keys and after them, scroll a bit further down to disable filter keys along with toggle keys.


#17- Clean Your Computer Registries Using CCleaner


The windows registry is a database with a function to store settings for the Microsoft operating system and for any applications which opt to use the registry.

It contains information and options, and values for programs and hardware which are installed on the windows. Whenever you install a new program, a subkey is created.

This subkey contains all information settings about the program, including its location, its version, and its operating mechanism.

Just after creation, this subkey is added to the Windows registry, and in this way, the newly installed program is now registered with Windows, but it is not a requirement for applications to use the Windows registry.

The registry is important as it contains indispensable configuration information for the operating system and installed applications and also for each user and application; this is why a careless change could do irreversible damage.

But temporary junk has to be removed, and over time, the registry can accumulate a lot of trash that it doesn’t need for this; we recommend CCleaner. It has been used by professionals and users alike and guarantees safety.

In CCleaner, you can click the registry icon to open the registry cleaner menu; after that, you can either select a few chosen items to be scanned, or you can just scan all of them, and after scanning, you’ll see a list of issues, and if you do not want to skip any, you can select “Fix all selected issues” and click OK.

But despite all the safety guarantees, both CCleaner and we strongly advise you to backup your registry and save it.


#18- Defrag Your Hard Drive (HDD-only)


Defragmentation means reorganizing fragments of related data, and it helps a lot. When data is fragmented, it makes your system work a lot harder and slows performance.

Fragmenting is generally a system process that ensures that all available space in the hard drive is being used, and if there is not enough space for a file to be stored wholly, it is split into fragments. The file becomes non-continuous and is called a fragmented file.

Defragmentation can be good or bad, depending on the type of drive you are using. It’s beneficial for HDDs but not so much SSDs.

It’s good for HDDs as it brings files closer, and drives don’t have to utilize too much time to retrieve data, subsequently speeding up your PC.

But an SSD will deteriorate after defragmentation because SSDs don’t physically move an arm on a disc but rather recall data from flash memory. It is advised not to defrag an SSD.

To defrag your HDD right click on the drive and select “Properties” then go to “Tools” tab, after that you will see an option “Optimize and Defragment Drive” under this there’s another option “Optimize” click on it.

A new window will pop up in this windows all you have to do is select the drive you want to defraged and hit “Analyze” and then defrag your HDD.

To defrag your HDD choose the “System and Security” in the “Control Panel.” “Analyze” and then defrag your hard drive.


#19- Select Correct GPU As Default For Gaming


Windows automatically decides which GPU to use by default. If you’re on power save mode, then windows run the app on the GPU, which utilizes the least power, but if you’re on high-performance mode, windows refer the app to the most capable GPU.

Before the 2018 windows update, different tools were required to select the correct GPU for an app, but now any app can be assigned to a specific GPU without the help of tools. To do this, head “Settings” and from there to “Display in the System category”.

Now scroll down and click “Graphics Settings”. The next thing is to select the application you want to assign to the GPU. You have to know if the application you are after is classic or universal. You have it click “Browse”, select the application, and click add.

Now whichever applications you have added, you can see them on the graphics setting page in the form of a list. Select the added application and after selecting, go to “Options” and click it.

optimize windows 10 and 11 for gaming
Example Given In Win-11

Select the GPU you want and click save. Now sometimes, there is this bug, and you might notice that the application you have assigned still isn’t using the correct GPU.

In any case like this, likely, the changes haven’t taken effect. The best thing to do in this situation would be to turn off your PC and turn it back on; in the duration of this reboot, the changes will likely take effect.


#20- Hardware Upgrades For Windows 10


A two-wheel cart only runs smoothly with even wheels. Let’s have a look at the minimum requirements a PC needs to run Windows 10. Back then, in 2015, you needed at least:

  1. One gigahertz or faster Processor.
  2. 1 gigabyte of RAM for 32 bit or 2 gigabytes RAM FOR 64 bits
  3. At least 16 to 20 gigs of the hard disk.
  4. DirectX 9
  5. 800 × 600 display.

To run windows 10. And even with these specs, you could just barely run it, not bring out its full. Since then, 7 years have passed, and in the world of information technology, time passes by very fast, to put this statement into perspective, entertain the following thought;

5 years since the emergency of IT, more technological innovation has been introduced to the world than all the advancements of the five millennia which preceded the technological revolution. Right pairings are a must.

Even if you optimize your windows for gaming, it would hardly have any effect if you still use outdated hardware.

For the sake of an optimal gaming experience, choose a good processor with an equally good GPU and RAM and pair them with your optimized Windows 10.

As far as drives are concerned, using an HDD in 2022 is no different than using a flip phone, they are both outdated.

The age of HDDs is over, and they have been replaced with SSDs because SSDs just make things a lot easier. As for the quality of the gaming experience, as long as great hardware is paired with optimized windows, the gaming experience should be impeccable.


Final Verdict:

Even though there are alternatives for windows 10, there is no sign of a decrease in windows 10 popularity. It is still the first and only choice of any gamer.

Of course windows, 10 is not flawless, and it comes with some issues that can be solved to make your gaming experience more enjoyable.

This guide shows that there is space for improvement, and windows provide the best optimization to increase your overall performance, giving your pc a little boost.

Of course, you can always upgrade and get better hardware and latest-gen PC components, but the market situation isn’t favorable right now, and if you are thinking of holding on for a little longer, then this is guide is the perfect medicine for your old PC. Tweak your windows and have fun without worrying.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Does game mode increase FPS?

The game mode is one of the easiest features to use, and it does help with your Fps even though it’s not much.

What it does, is focus all your hardware processing power on your game. Given that your game supports it, this is a useful feature that anyone can use

#2 – How do I optimize my PC for Nvidia gaming?

Nvidia control panel offers you to select and optimize your PC for gaming purposes. Right-click on Desktop and select the Nvidia control panel.

In this panel, you can go for manage 3D settings. Under the global settings bar, choose high-performance Nvidia processor settings.

There you can tweak your settings and lower down texture filtering settings for more FPS boost

#3 – How do I optimize Windows 10 for best performance?

You can start by disabling unnecessary apps from the startup section in the task manager.

These apps launch on system boot, and they consume resources that can cause a performance dip during the game.

Make sure to make space for the hard drive to work freely. Updating drivers to their latest versions is also one of the few things that help a lot in optimizing your windows 10 for a long time

#4 – Will Windows 11 improve game performance?

Microsoft claims that it is one of the best OS you can use for gaming purposes. With the feature called Game Mode, you can optimize your Pc with just one click.

Microsoft also claims that game mode won’t let install drivers in the background when you are playing games, so this is a huge improvement and welcome change that can affect performance in a positive way.

#5 – Does RAM increase FPS?

Ram is one of the important pieces of hardware in your PC, and it does affect the performance of your Pc overall.

However, if you are already using 16 gigs of ram and you are playing a game that doesn’t require that much ram to begin with, adding more ram won’t affect fps by a huge difference.

If you are looking forward to upgrading to ram to higher frequency ram, then you might see a noticeable difference in FPS.

#6 – What Windows 10 services can I disable for gaming?

Here is a list of services you can disable for more optimized gaming

Windows firewall, Bluetooth support services, windows mobile hotspot services, internet connect sharing, print spooler, and most importantly, windows defender.

If you have an antivirus installed on your PC, you can safely turn off windows defender from running in the background

#7 – How can I improve my gaming CPU speed?

Try enabling the Game Mode feature from settings. This feature helps you increase your FPS performance overall.

Make sure to update your GPU drivers to the latest version to enjoy the latest updates and optimized releases.

Tweaking down your graphic settings helps ease off some load from the CPU, and it helps it to run faster and more efficiently.

#8 – Which Windows is best for gaming?

It is debatable, but one of the most popular and most used versions of Windows is Windows 10.

It offers various features to provide easy optimization for gamers. It also supports DX12, which is a requirement for every new game that is released.

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