Windows has been the Go-To OS for as long as we can remember for Gaming. The reason for this is the support that Windows has for Direct X and other Hardware and software which just makes windows ideal for a Gaming OS. However, with great power comes great responsibility so to speak.
Windows 10 is a great OS for Gamers, Designers, Content Creators, Streamers, etc but Windows 10 isn’t just a gaming platform, therefore, it’s going to be saturated with a lot of what use techies call “Bloatware”. The good news is there are ways to disable a lot of this software that comes included in Windows fairly easy.
In return, we can get a more optimized OS for gaming and other tasks that utilize our resources better. This, in turn, can prevent freeze up, program lag and most importantly the famous “Blue Screen of Death”. Here are a few tips you can follow to help improve your system performance for just about any task but more notably in Gaming.
1. Optimizing Windows 10 Using Gaming Mode
Believe it or not, Windows 10 actually has a built-in program that optimizes windows, specifically for gaming. Theoretically, it performs some of the same tasks we did manually back in the day, but it helps to have one setting to enable to activate these optimizations.
To find out more information about this setting, you can press the Windows Key + I, type Game Mode and then click Control Game Mode For Optimizing Your PC For Games. Once you switch Game Mode on that’s if your PC Supports it. It will suspend any Windows Updates and manage your resources for optimal frame rate and performance.
In my experience, this is an ideal option for users who have only 8GB of ram. I know in a lot of my builds here at PCHardwareJunkies and other websites as well recommend 8GB of ram in most builds. This is for budget purposes only. If you asked any Gamer or Content Creator how much ram should you have? They will tell you 16GB minimum and 32 GB, Max, some might say 64GB if they do heavy video editing and photo editing.
So basically if you have enough ram then your system should always be fast and responsive. For a user with 8GB of ram only I highly recommend this optimization.
2. Disable Nagle’s Algorithm (What is It?)
What is Nagle’s Algorithm? In simple terms, Nagle’s Algorithm messes with your internet connection. It is a series of packets that come with windows that do god knows what but in turn messes with your internet connection especially when playing online games.
You can disable Nagle’s Algorithm via the Registry to prevent in-game latency issues when playing gaming online. To disable this troublesome “Bloatware” and improve gaming performance overall, in my opinion, you need to access your Registry. To access your Registry in Windows follow these instructions, Registry: Start > type regedit > Regedit.
*NOTE* BE VERY VERY VERY CAREFUL WHEN FIDDLING WITH THE WINDOWS REGISTRY! IF YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG YOU CAN EASILY BREAK YOUR OS AND YOU WILL HAVE TO REINSTALL YOUR OS TO FIX IN MOST CASES. SO IF YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE DOING THIS, DONT DO IT OR GET SOMEBODY YOU KNOW THAT TECH SAVVY TO DO SO FOR YOU. *NOTE*
In the address bar, copy and paste the following path below:
This path will take you to a series of folders with weird names and letters. All you have to do is match your IP Address with the listed DhcpIPAddress like in the image above.
If you not sure what your IP Address is then you can check your IP Address by going to Windows Key + X > Windows PowerShell.
This the command prompt type ipconfig and look for IPV4 address listed under your current connections, usually Ethernet or Wireless LAN) depending on how your connected and it should identify your IP Address.
Now That you have your IP address time to make some edits in the Registry. You need to Right-Click on the Selected Folder in the Registry where the DhcpIPAddress is located. After Right-Clicking Select New > DWORD (32-Bit) Value.
Next, create two DWORDS. Name one TcpACKFrequency and the other TCPNODelay. Once you have created the DWORDS, double-click on each and set their parameters to 1.
In turn, this activates two parameters that disable Nagle’s Algorithm. If you run into any issues all you have to do is set the two DWORDS we created parameters to 0 to disable them.
3. Disable Automatic Updates and Restarts
Another way to improve performance when gaming is to disable Automatic updates and restarts. Windows 10 will usually automatically download updates in the background and will schedule a restart or restart your computer when you are using it. This can slow down your internet connection especially if there BIG updates such as service packs or GPU drivers.
To set updates and restarts to user controlled which means you decide when to update and delay the restart your system is actually quite simple.
All you have to do is access your update settings under Windows Key + I >Update and Security >Windows Update > Advanced options > Update Options.
Once you navigate to the location above, disable Automatically download updates, even over metered data connections (Charges May Apply). This is the best option to avoid any interruptions in gaming performance.
Remember, Windows 10 will give you ample warnings when it’s about to restart due to updates. So in the main screen its worth using the Change Active Hours feature. If you be very specific it will prevent Windows 10 from updating during the chosen active hours.
4. Turn Of Steam App Auto-Updating
If you’re a PC gamer and you found this how-to guide then im about 99% sure that you are a Steam User. Steam is one of the most popular if not the most popular gaming platform online, that allows PC owners to purchase all their games in a digital format and store them in one place.
One of the biggest annoyances with Steam is the update feature. You probably have noticed that Steam will constantly update and update your games with really no way of preventing it other than stopping it manually if you notice its downloading in the background in the first place.
This annoyances can eat up a lot of your memory of your gaming pc and take up a lot of bandwidth on your network thus slowing it down. Luckily, there is a way to prevent this.
To prevent this from happening you need to open or launch your Steam App. Next, navigate to Steam > Settings > Downloads.
Here you want to uncheck Allow Downloads During Gameplay. This will prevent steam from updating your games content while you’re playing your favorite game.
After you have fixed your background downloading problem while playing your games above. Next, you want to prevent Steam from downloading updates for largely unused games especially if you’re not playing them regularly. For instance, I currently play Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on PC and PS4, so when Im playing on PC i don’t want my Elder Scrolls Online or WarFrame to do a MASSIVE update while playing. It can slow EVERYTHING DOWN to a snails paste depending.
Under the Updates tab, you should see Automatic Updates. By default, it should say Always Keep This Game Up To Date. We want to change that to Only Update This Game When I launch it.
This way if you haven’t or are not playing the game on a regular basis when you start playing it again it will prompt an update to the newest version once you launch it.
5. Adjust Windows 10 Visual Effects
Windows 10 is a BIG improvement over Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. Windows 10 is the newest version of the Windows OS but it has inherited some small snippets from previous versions and build on top of them and made them better. Perhaps coming from a user perspective I personally enjoyed Windows XP because it was kind of minimalistic in its look which didn’t hog a lot of ram, but one can appreciate the look and aesthetics of course.
However, From a gamers perspective, this can be an annoyance that can spoil your gaming experience. Now, granted if you have 16GB of ram or more than this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re only using 8GB of ram for a budget gaming pc build then this might help some with performance.
For some reason games running in the foreground may conflict or cause issues with Windows 10 GUI (Graphical User Interface) running in the background.
You as the user are actually capable of changing these settings to either Let Windows Decide the Best Choice, Adjust For Appearance or Adjust for Performance. Yep, you guessed it… We want to Adjust for Performance, not Appearance… We all know Windows 10 GUI is beautiful, but in this case, we have to give her “The Cold Shoulder”, so to speak.
To adjust these settings you need to navigate to Performance Settings by pressing Windows Key + I and type performance, then select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
Next, you want to choose > Adjust For best Performance > Apply > Ok. Presto We are done.
Lastly, make sure to navigate to the advanced tab and make sure that Adjust the best performance of is set to Programs. This will ensure everything is configured to performance and not appearance.
6. Change Power Plan To High Performance
There has been a lot of mix opinions over the years about the Power Plan tip for better performance in gaming on your pc. I personally can attest that this actually helps, maybe not a lot but it does help.
In Windows 10 Power Option on Laptop and Desktops that has what they call Power Plans and Settings that allows you to choose how you want the power to be consumed. The 3 default options are Balanced, Power Saver and High Performance. Of course, you can create your own power plan or editing the plan setting of a pre-built one.
I personally prefer and recommend High- Performance, because of a few reasons.
1. If you power cycles your PC after usage then you won’t use any more power than you would be if it wasn’t high performance.
2. If you a true PC enthusiast and gamer you will upgrade parts every 6 months to 1 year. So don’t have to worry about bad parts.
3. High Performance is just better.
So, if you want to go High Performance then press Windows Key + I type Power select Power and Sleep Settings > Additional Power Settings.
Now you should see something like in the image above. However, if you do not have a high-performance option don’t worry. You can create a high-performance plan by using the Create A power Plan option. I have noticed some systems don’t have it created by default, not sure why.
Just to cover all basis, this will allow your PC to perform better at the cost of higher energy consumption and temp levels. I highly recommend this only for Desktops, not laptops.
I personally have never had any issues with any of my PCs built, pre-built, etc. Just like i tell anybody that use a PC or Mac a lot I always configure my computers for performance, and I power cycle my systems on regular bases to give it time to cool down.
7. Keep Your Driver’s Up-To-Date People!
Im not going to go into to much detail with this tip because I believe if your a PC user you should know how and when to update your system and drivers for your hardware.
Most systems these days have notifications when a new update is available such as Nvidia Experience if you have an Nvidia card or AMD Gaming Evolved Client if you have an AMD card. Of course, Windows will let you know when important updates are available such as service pack updates and other important updates.
If anything just remembers to update your system on regular bases, I know it can be annoying sometimes but when you see an update just do it and get it out of the way.
This can help with system stability and games will play better on new GPU drivers and in some cases new features become available.
However, this can be a Blessing and a Curse. In some cases, new drivers can cause system instability and in some dire cases, you have to revert back to the previous driver. I have had to do this many times on third-party hardware that not really supports or maintained.
If this happens you can revert back to previous hardware updates by navigating to your Device manager. You can get there by pressing Windows Key + I type Device manager and presto your there.
Your device manager should look something like the image above. Here you can navigate to any pc hardware part and click on it and go to its settings and revert back to the previous update if needed.
8. Disable Mouse Acceleration
I thought I mention this one for all my fellow keyboard and mice players out there. I personally use a controller more than anything these days because of its more convenient for me. However, I get down with a mouse and keyboard from time to time.
If you didn’t know in Windows there is a feature cause Mouse acceleration which allows your mouse to move not only on physical movement detection and measurements but on speed as well. This can cause inaccuracy in games especially first-person shooter games. By disabling this will make your mouse move more accurate in games.
To disable this press Windows Key + Q > type Pointer, then choose Change the mouse pointer display and speed and uncheck Enhanced Pointer Precision.
Presto, you’re done.
9. Install Direct X12 To Optimize for Gaming
This should be a no brainer, especially if you’re a gamer. You want to update to DirectX 12 ASAP. Just about every game these days support DirectX12 so jump on the bandwagon and don’t look back.
DirectX12 is the latest version of Microsofts API tools which is a key element to Windows 10 Gaming. Most games will require it. Steam downloads DirectX automatically. It may only download Direct X 9c which is the general requirement to play just about any game, but if that game has DirectX12 support, download DirectX12 for better performance and stability.
All Done. We Optimized Windows 10 For Gaming
That wasn’t so bad huh. After some trials and tribulations, we have a fully optimized Windows 10 system for gaming.
Let’s recap what we did.
- Windows 10 Gaming Mode
- Disable Nagle’s Algorithm
- Disable Automatic Updates
- Prevent Automatic Updates Via Steam
- Changed Visual Effects To Performance
- Use High-Performance Power Setting
- Keep Drivers Up To DATE
- Disable Mouse Acceleration
- Install DirectX12
These are the most common if not recommended 9 tips you can follow to optimize your Windows 10 installation for gaming. I am sure there are more out there and if you know of any feel free to share in the comments below.