Windows 10 Tip: Improve Gaming Performance with Game Mode

Posted on April 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10 with 12 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Improve Gaming Performance with Game Mode

With the Creators Update, Microsoft is providing a hidden gift for gamers on Windows 10: A new feature called Game Mode that ensures the best possible performance while gaming.

Note: This tip is derived from the Windows 10 Field Guide, which is now being updated for the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Game Mode is a simple feature in that it’s either enabled or not. But it must be enabled on a system-wide basis, in Settings, and then on a per-game basis as well. That latter requirement is due to the fact that Windows 10 doesn’t have a reliable way to know that a given application is a game. So you have to enable it in each game you play.

To ensure that the feature is enabled globally—it is enabled by default—navigate to Settings (WINKEY + I) > Gaming > Game Mode.

Now, launch a game and open the Game bar (WINKEY + G).

Next, select the Settings gear and select the option “Use Game Mode for this game.”

And that, literally, is it. There’s nothing more to configure.

The big question, of course, is what sort of performance improvement you’re likely to see. Various tests—such as the one Peter Bright conducted for Ars Technica—indicate that the improvement is modest. But as any gamer will tell you, every percentage point counts. And I expect Microsoft to improve this feature, as with the rest of Windows 10, over time.


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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Windows 10 Tip: Improve Gaming Performance with Game Mode”

  1. Demileto

    For the record, Paul, PC World stress tested Game Mode with a less suitable PC set up - a Surface Book with Performance Base - and saw some noteworthy results, with an asterisk:

  2. mjw149

    Freemium Forza (can't ever remember the name) desperately needs this, as a title where timing is so key and any stutters can ruin a good run. Not that it's all that challenging, but as a long time console racer It's almost painful whenever it lags.

    So, can't wait to try this!

  3. JimP

    Does this work for non-games, such as Visual Studio?

  4. BoItmanLives

    Does this disable telemetry for the gaming session?

  5. gvan

    I'm running iTunes videos on an underpowered laptop. The video playback stutters every once and a while due to to background tasks running on the PC. Do you think gaming mode will help in running these iTunes videos?

  6. martincrownover

    I've tested this on my rig (Core i7-3770 @ 3.4GHz, 32GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1080) with the Gears of War 4 benchmark, all settings maxed at 2560x1440, no vsync, and framecap turned off - and Game Mode actually made my game run 1 fps slower on average. The difference was minimal, between 90.9fps and 89.4fps.

    So maybe Game Mode is designed to help systems that are a little closer to minimum spec than maximum.

  7. spacein_vader

    WINKEY + G does nothing for me in the games I've tried (Football Manager 2017, World of Warships & The Witcher 2,) is the game bar itself an option I need to activate somewhere in the settings menus?

  8. robinwilson16


    Does anyone know of a way to enable Game Mode in Steam Games as the ones I am playing open fullscreen and must take over the keyboard and Win + G does nothing but I can launch it when not in a Steam Game.



  9. Angusmatheson

    It felt with Windows 8 and 10 Microsoft was ignoring the PC gamers. Which always seemed foolish, because they have always been the most die hard windows users. Even if the performance isn't much better, it is great Micirosodt is acknowledging it need to meet gamers needs.

  10. Polycrastinator

    So I just tested this, and.. turns out you can mark any program as a Game, and mark it to run in Game Mode. That may be more useful to me than using it in games, because I'm more likely to have other stuff running in the background for certain apps.

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