8 Tips to Optimize Your Windows 11 PC for Gaming Performance

Windows 11 brought with it a whole host of notable features, including AutoHDR, which can make your games look a lot better (if you have an HDR monitor). However, if you want to maximize your PC’s gaming performance, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and tweak a few settings.

Fortunately, the process isn’t too complicated. In the following guide, we’ll discuss the best methods to help you optimize your computer for gaming.

1. Disable Startup Applications

Startup applications usually do not affect game performance. However, the presence of a heavy application or an app with a high consumption will certainly have an impact. Ultimately, the result depends on the applications you have on your pc.

If you think they are interfering with game performance, disable them. Doing this will help your PC run faster.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + esc on your keyboard to launch “Task Manager”.
  2. Navigate to the “Startup” tab.
Optimize Windows 11 Startup Tab
  1. Choose 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 your system will run faster.

2. Disable resource-intensive applications

Some applications can take up a lot of memory and CPU power. So, if you want to start a game session, disable those applications beforehand.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + esc on your keyboard to open Task Manager.
  2. Sort the “Processes” list by “CPU” or “Memory” usage by clicking one or the other.
  3. Choose the processes that consume the most and click “End Task” at the bottom.
Optimize Windows 11 End tasks for eating resources
  1. Repeat these steps to disable any unnecessary applications that run in the background and consume memory or CPU.

3. Disable Animations

If you prefer speed over looks, you should probably consider disabling animations. Windows 11 is a lot smoother, partly because of the animation effects. But while they make things look good, they can slow down your system.

  1. Press To win + l to open Settings on your Windows PC.
  2. Navigate to “Accessibility” in the menu on the left.
  3. Select ‘Visual Effects’.
Optimize the visual effects of Windows 11
  1. Disable “Animation Effects” in the menu.
Optimize Windows 11 Disable Animation Effects

After doing these steps, Windows 11 won’t look as smooth, but the system performance will improve.

4. Tweak Visual Effects

As we saw above, Windows 11 looks its best, but that can affect your gaming performance. To prevent your games from conflicting with your GUI running in the background, do this:

  1. Go to Settings on your computer as we explained above.
  2. In the search bar in the top left corner, type ‘Performance’.
  3. From the options that appear, select “Customize the appearance and performance of Windows”.
Optimize Windows 11 Adjust performance
  1. In the new “Performance Options” window that appears, check the “Adjust for best performance” option.
Optimize Windows 11 Adjust performance Best performance

5. Use the Power Plan for ultimate performance

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 performance it needs.

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

  1. Click the “Search” icon in the taskbar.
  2. Type “Power Plan” in the search bar at the top.
  3. Click on “Choose a power plan”.
Optimize Windows 11 Choose a power plan
  1. Change the power plan to “Ultimate-Performance” (in the same cases, the option will simply be listed as “Performance). If this option is not available, navigate to “Show additional subscriptions”.
Optimize Windows 11 Ultimate Power Plan

After performing these steps, your system will perform better as it consumes more power in favor of performance. But one thing to keep in mind is that this particular power plan is only suitable for high-end PCs and laptops.

6. Update the graphics driver(s)

One of the crucial elements for improving the game performance is the graphics driver. So it needs to be updated regularly.

  1. Open the manufacturer’s website in your web browser. In our case, we will visit the NVIDIA website to search for new drivers.
  2. Provide necessary details such as your graphics card model, operating system, and more. Click the “Search” button at the bottom.
Optimize Windows 11 Graphics Driver Search
  1. Click “Download” on the next page.
Optimize Windows 11 Graphics Driver Download
  1. The graphics driver will start downloading immediately.
  2. After that, run the installation file and install the new driver. Don’t worry if you don’t use NVIDIA. The AMD graphics driver update process in Windows is also 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 gaming 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 improves the frame rates. Ideally, it’s best to activate 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 enabling the option.
Optimize Windows 11 Enable Game Mode
  1. Select ‘Images’ under ‘Related Settings’.
Optimize Windows 11 Click Graphics
  1. Find the game you want to play in the “All apps” list. Once you find it, click on it and press “Options”.
Optimize Windows 11 Search for games
  1. Under ‘Graphics preference’, select ‘High performance’.
Optimize Windows 11 Change graphics preference
  1. If the game you’re looking for doesn’t seem available, click ‘Browse’ to add it manually.
Optimize Windows 11 Browsing Games
  1. Repeat these steps for all games installed on your Windows 11 PC to get uninterrupted gaming performance.

8. Disable Automatic Updates

In theory, the new updates should be good for the system as they come with security patches, bug fixes, etc. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There have been numerous instances where updates have done more harm than good. So it might be best to disable the auto-update feature and update Windows to your liking on 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 besides “Pause updates”. Select the desired one.
Optimize Windows 11 Pause Windows Update

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Windows 11 better for gaming than Windows 10?

In terms of gaming performance, Windows 11 has a slight advantage over its predecessor, which consists of the two Xbox features added to the new OS: 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. There are more advanced ways to improve PC gaming performance.

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

How to enable AutoHDR functionality on Windows 11?

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

Image Credit: Unsplash All screenshots from Saurav Dey

Is this article helpful?

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox