How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming

I have read so many articles providing different ways to optimize Windows 10 for gaming. However, what I found in most of these articles is that they usually provide cliché answers such as, buy a Solid State Drive, or do some simple performance tweaks.

Gaming Logo by FreePikLogo vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

However, as a gamer myself, I have tried many different methods to optimize Windows 10 for a better gaming experience. Most of the time these methods only provide some or no benefit at all. So, I have compiled a list of methods that actually worked for me.

Tips for Optimizing Windows 10 for Better Gaming Performance

Windows 10 itself is pretty well optimized and it all depends on your hardware to get the most out of your computer. However, you can perform some tweaks to gain some gaming performance optimizations in your Windows 10 PC.

Even if your hardware is performing pretty well, optimizing the software aspect of your system will provide you better results. If your gaming experience is smoother you will have a lot more fun.

So, here are a few tips that you can use to optimize your Windows 10 computer to get better gaming performance.

These tips are tailored for your current hardware and I will not include hardware upgrades in these tips.

Make a restore point before optimizing Windows 10 for gaming


Although all the optimizations that I will show you in this article are safe to use, however, you should still create a restore point. The reason for creating a restore point is that you can revert all the changes that you are making.

If you already know how to make a restore point you can skip this portion.

Making a Restore Point

  • Click on the start menu or search button and type create a restore point. Then open the restore point settings.

Create a Restore point before starting Optimizations for Windows 10 for Gaming

  • Select your Windows drive and click on create a restore point.

Create a restore point

  • Now the system protection box will pop up. Write a name for your restore point and click create.

Name Your Restore Point

  • It will take a few seconds for Windows to create a restore point.

Using a restore point

  • To use a restore point open your start menu or search bar again and type create a restore point and open the restore point settings again. Now click on System Restore.

Click on System Restore to use your Restore Point

  • In the next dialog box click on next and select your restore point that you just created. However, if you cannot see your desired restore point tick the “show more restore points” option and click next.

Select your Desired Restore Point. Use if you do not like the optimizations that you performed for Gaming in Windows 10

Choose a better power plan to optimize windows 10 gaming performance.


Your Windows 10 computer usually runs on a balanced power plan by default. The balanced power plan will perform fine however It will create a balance between power and resource-saving.

As a gamer, you will prefer using the maximum performance of your computer. Although, using these power plans will use more energy and hardware resources. So, choosing a performance power plan can provide benefits.

Select “High Performance” Power Plan

  • Again click on the start menu or search button on the bottom left corner of your screen.
  • Type “Choose a Power Plan” and open the choose power plan settings.

Choose A power plan

  • Now select “Show additional plans” and select the “High performance” power plan.

Use High Performance Power Plan to optimize windows 10 for gaming

Enable and Select Ultimate Performance Power Plan.

Although the “High Performance” power plan is good enough for gaming, however, you can try the Ultimate Performance power plan. I don’t have the exact numbers on how much it optimizes or improves your gaming performance.

This power plan was introduced back in 2018 to remove micro latencies in high-end systems. You can read details about this power plan from this article > Ultimate Performance Power Plan.

To enable this power plan, follow these steps:

  • Open the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell as admin
  • Now add this command and press Enter.
    powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61
  • This command will add the option to select the ultimate performance power plan. So, again open the “choose a power plan” option.
  • Select the “Ultimate Performance Power Plan” from additional power plans.

Ultimate Performance plan may optimize windows 10 for better gaming performance.

Please note you can only use this power plan on Windows 10 Pro.

Disable overlays to optimize gaming performance in Windows 10.


Overlays can degrade your gaming performance. Depending on your system specs, you might be having laggy gameplays due to in-game overlays. By default, Windows 10 has Xbox overlay enabled.

The Xbox overlay affected my in-game fps a lot when I was using a low-end gaming system. Other than the Xbox overlay, there are many others such as steam, Nvidia, discord, etc.

It’s a great idea to disable all these overlays if you are not using them. As disabling them can provide performance enhancements.

Disabling Windows Xbox Game Bar Overlay

  • Click on the start menu or search icon and type “Enable Xbox Game Bar ” and open the settings.

Disable Xbox Overlay

  • Now Turn off the Xbox Game bar

Disabling NVIDIA Overlay

NVIDIA In-game overlay provides us with a variety of features. This overlay is one of my favorites as it provides the option to record, upload, or stream my gameplay. However, it utilizes your system resources to work.

So, if you have a low-end pc and facing lag issues, you should disable this overlay. However, please note that this overlay can only be enabled if you have installed and logged in to GeForce Experience.

  • To disable the NVIDIA In-game overlay Type “GeForce Experience” in the search bar and open the app.

Disable Nvidia Overlay to optimize gaming performance in Windows 10

  • Now click on the Settings icon on the top right corner of the app.

  • Click on general and under the in-game overlay tab disable the Nvidia Overlay.

Disabling Steam Overlay

  • Open the steam client and login into your account. Then click on the steam option on the top left corner of the app and click

  • Now click on the “In-game” option and untick the “Enable Steam Overlay In-game” option and click OK.

Enable Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling and Game mode.


The game mode is an embedded feature of Windows 10 which enhances gaming performance. However, it’s a hit or miss feature. It works out for some people and, for others, it degrades the gaming performance. You can enable it to test if it works out for you.

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is a new feature for Windows 10. However, It has not yet been tested thoroughly.

However, my games felt smoother after enabling Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. But it might have only worked out for me so test it out for yourself.

So here is how you can enable Game Mode and Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling.

  • Type “Game Mode Settings” in the search bar and open the game mode settings.
  • Then Enable “Game mode” and select “Graphics Settings” under related settings on the left corner of your screen.

  • Now turn on Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling

 

Choose only the required Visual effects


 Windows 10 comes with a variety of visual effects for a better user experience. The animations that these effects use need resources to work. Most of these effects are harmless but for gamers, a small amount of boost is enough.
 
Here is how you choose the required visual effects.
 
  • Click on the start menu or search bar and Type “Advanced System Settings” and open the system properties.
 
  • After opening the system properties click on “settings” under the performance tab.
 
  • Now click on custom and only tick the following options. 1- Show thumbnails instead of icons. 2- Smooth edges of the screen font.
Select these two options to optimize your Windows 10 for Gaming performance.
 
You can select “Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer” if you don’t like the new settings
 

Select minimum startup programs for optimizing your Gaming experience in Windows 10


Have you ever noticed that when you install a fresh copy of Windows It boots up fast and works better? The reason for this is that in a fresh copy of Windows there are usually a few programs that start with the Windows boot up.
 
Most of them are Windows default programs but when you install new programs such as steam, discord, etc. they will automatically startup with your Windows as you boot up. So, here is how you can disable extra startup programs.
 
  • First, open your Task Manager and click on the startup tab. You can right-click on the taskbar or press “CTRL+ALT+Delete” to open the task manager.
  • Now Disable any startup program that you do not require when Windows initially boots up. Right-click and click disable or you can select the program and click disable on the bottom right corner of the Task Manager.
 
Disable Start Up Programs. This can enhance and optimize your gaming performance in Windows 10
 

Update your GPU and other drivers to the latest version.


Drivers are very critical for hardware performance. Companies such as NVIDIA, AMD releases a graphic driver tailored to a new game. So, updating drivers can enhance the performance of your hardware.
 
Sometimes, just an old or bad driver is the cause of performance issues. So, I recommend using Driver Booster to update all your drivers at once. This software is safe to use.
 
However, if you are confused about using this software or do not want to use software to update your drivers. Follow our simple guide on this topic > Update Drivers with Driver Booster.
 
Here is a simple method to use Driver Booster.
 
  • Download and Install Driver Booster and run the application.
  • Click on Scan to scan for outdated drivers
  • Click on Update all to update all at once or choose the ones you want to update.
 

Overclock your CPU and GPU for Optimized gaming performance in Windows 10.


Overclocking is the ultimate tweak that you can perform on your computer. Overclocking your computer will give you a performance boost of up to 15-20 percent. However, overclocking is not easy and can be risky for a newbie.

The best Windows 10 optimizer tool for you will be overclocking.

 
So, I recommend that you should only overclock your GPU first with the MSI afterburner. Follow this guide to overclock your GPU safely with MSI Afterburner. > Safely Overclock Your GPU
 
Although, when it comes to CPUs you need to have an unlocked version of both motherboard and processor to perform any overclocking.
 
So, If you have an overclocked version of a CPU or motherboard you can choose pre-existing overclock settings in your Motherboard bios settings. Or you can use software such as EZ Tune to overclock your CPU Safely.

 

Periodically maintain your computer and change your thermal paste.


Periodic maintenance is important for your computer as the amount of dust on heat sink or bad thermal paste can cause heating issues. Heating can cause performance degradation.
 
Here are my tips for periodic maintenance.
 
  • If you are using a desktop computer clean the dust off your hardware components with a blower.
  • Change thermal paste if you face thermal throttling. And always use a high-quality thermal compound.
  • Remove your case fans and clean them up. Also, clean up your case fan filters if you have any.

You can follow the maintenance guide that I published recently for more details. > Basic Tips for Computer Maintainance.

 

Use CCleaner to get rid of temporary files.


 
After using your computer for a long time the temporary files can pile up and can cause performance issues. Especially if your Windows drive is full, so it is a good idea to delete all the temporary files.
 
You can use manual methods by typing %temp% in the Run box and deleting all the temp files from there. However, I recommend using CCleaner for this task. This software is safe to use and it’s free.
 

Do’s and Don’ts for Windows 10 Gaming Optimizations


 

Do’s

  1. Overclock your GPU for better performance
  2. Clean up your computer and change thermal paste to avoid heating issues.
  3. Keep your Drivers and Windows updated however make sure to use the stable and tested version of the driver.
  4. Disable automatic updates for Windows, Steam, and other Programs.
  5. Use only necessary apps for Windows startup.
  6. Reduce the Windows Visual effects to a minimum.
  7. Delete Windows bloatware.
  8. Choose the Best DNS for a better gaming experience. Follow my guide on finding the best DNS server here. > Choosing the Best DNS Server.

Don’ts

  1. Do not Disable the Nagle’s Algorithm as it can cause unstable latency problems in your online games
  2. Please do not use software that you do not trust for optimizations.
  3. Do not make changes in the registry before creating a restore point and backing up your registry.

Factors affecting Performance Optimizations for Windows 10 and Gaming.


  1. Using a Hard Disk Drive. Even though this article is not about upgrading hardware, however, if you are using an HDD you will face performance issues. So, it’s better to buy a Solid State Drive.
  2. Viruses have infected your OS which is affecting your gaming performance.
  3. You are using an older version of drivers that are not compatible with the games you are playing.
  4. Your computer is overheating because of dust built up and bad thermal paste.

Conclusion

Windows Gaming is better in my experience than console gaming. However, even though Gaming on Windows 10 is optimized but for some users, you need to perform tweaks to get the most out of Windows 10.

People usually think that there is a separate Windows 10 for Gaming PC. However, all your OS requires is some optimizations for them to perform better.

In this extensive article, I discussed how you can get the most out of Windows 10 and optimize it for gaming. You could simply upgrade your hardware but, hardware updates are expensive. However, these tips will make your Windows 10 faster.
 
In short, you should perform these simple tweaks to get the most out of your Windows 10. Even if you don’t gain Massive FPS or latency upgrades. You can at least get well-optimized gaming experience.
 

Especially, the tip about overclocking is my favorite as it can enhance the gaming performance by a few percent. Feel free to comment down below If these tips worked out for you. If they haven’t please let me know in the comments.

 

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About the Author: Zeeshan Khan

Zeeshan is a Journalist, Computer Geek and a Technology Enthusiast with a knack for Writing. He is currently working as a Technical Writer for AIIT Solutions and techhowtodo.com.

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