Some people will be surprised to learn that Windows 10 is one of the better operating systems for gamers, as well as for Xbox One Streaming. However, there are some guidelines to follow to obtain the best gaming experience with Windows 10. Windows 10, by default, arrives with pre-packaged software and settings defaulted for average use. This post will attempt to assist you to the next level of a performance gaming experience.

Windows 10 Gaming
Windows 10 Gaming

Windows 10 is the only Windows OS that supports DirectX 12, that’s gamer friendly. DirectX 12 is a set of components included in Windows 10 which allows software, especially games, to work directly with your graphics and audio hardware.

Enable Windows 10 Gaming Mode

With the latest release of Windows 10, Microsoft has announced a gaming mode option which you can use to optimize your windows 10 with gaming mode. To use this feature use the keys Win + I, and then enter game mode in the search bar prompt. Then click on Game Mode Settings for optimizing your computer for games. Enable Game Mode.

Windows 10 Game Mode
Windows 10 Game Mode

Windows 10 Game Mode, at the basic level, tunes the computer in such a way that your games are given a higher priority by the CPU and GPU over the normal background tasks and apps that that are part of a typical Windows 10 installation.

Game Mode does; 1) prevents Windows Update from performing driver installations and sending you restart request notifications, and 2) helps achieve a more stable video frame rate depending on the game and the system capabilities.

The above steps enable Game Mode system-wide (global). You can also enable Game Mode for specific games.. Launch you preferred game and press the keyboard shortcut Windows key + G. This will bring up the GameBar, which lets you access features such as game recording (capture videos and screen-shots while playing) and streaming. You can click the gear icon to settings for the game.

Windows 10 Game Bar
Windows 10 Game Bar

Optimise Windows 10 Automatic Updates and Bandwidth

Windows 10 Updates can consume a lot of resources if it runs in the background and thus become intrusive on the gaming experience. We can lower the background activity for Windows Updates and Internet “hogging”. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Use the images below as a guide to lower the “interference” that may occur to your gaming experience.

Windows 10 Settings Updates
Windows 10 Settings Updates

You can pause automatic updates for up to 35 days (see image below). Updates will automatically resume after this time or you can enable updates at an appropriate time.

Windows 10 Pause Updates
Windows 10 Pause Updates

Update Delivery Optimisation

Open Settings and enter “Delivery Optimization” into the search box.

Windows Updates Delivery Optimisation
Windows Updates Delivery Optimisation

Select the result and turn Allow downloads from other PCs off (see image below).

Disable Updates Delivery Optimisation
Disable Updates Delivery Optimisation

This will make sure that your computer does not use extra bandwidth contacting other computers for download updates in the background.

Disable Auto Updating in Steam

Games that use steam for auto-updates can create some internet consumption and thus lower your Internet speed and bandwidth.

Steam is a client that manages and stores games you’ve purchased via their store in a games library.

Steam for Games
Steam for Games

Offline Mode allows you to play games through Steam without reconnecting to the Steam Network every time you wish to play – this is particularly useful if you do not plan on playing over the internet and would prefer not to download new updates for your single-player games.

The steam client is initially required for a game to to redeem it, or purchase it from the game store page. Once you redeemed your game code or purchased the game, the game will appear in the games library. Then to install it you need be online so that the game will download from the steam servers.

Once the game is download to your hard drive you can play it offline without needing the internet. You will need set the status within the steam client to “Offline Mode”. See this article for more details about using Offline Mode to play games through steam without reconnecting to the Steam Network every time you play the game.

To do this Click on Steam, then Settings > Downloads. Now uncheck Allow downloads during game play.

Steam disable Downloads
Steam disable Downloads

It is possible to override the feature for individual games. To do so, right-click on a game in your library and select Properties from the context menu.

Switch to the Updates tab in the game’s properties window, and select one of the following options under Background Downloads:

  • Follow my global setting (either allow or deny background downloads) depending on the preference in the Steam settings.
  • Always allow background downloads to have the game updated whenever updates become available, regardless of how the global preference is configured.
  • Never allow background downloads for the opposite effect.
Steam Update Options
Steam Update Options

Reduce the Visual Effects (candy) of Windows 10

Adjusting and reducing the visual effects of windows 10 is a good option for increasing gaming performance. Go to Settings then enter Performance into the Settings search box. Select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows. Now select the radio button to “Adjust for best performance” then click Apply and OK.

Windows 10 Visual Effects Settings
Windows 10 Visual Effects Settings

Disable Startup Apps

There are a number of apps that load as soon as Windows 10 starts. A number of these are considered non-essential and you can disable them by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Using the Startup tab in the Task Manager dialogue disable any apps that you consider are non-essential.

Task Manager Startup Option
Task Manager Startup Option

Notifications and Actions

Disable some background notification services which are not important. Go to Settings and enter Notifications & actions into the search box.

Windows Notifications & Actions
Windows Notifications & Actions

Select Notifications & actions in the results. You will see the dialogue window below:

Notifications & Actions Options
Notifications & Actions Options

Toggle each feature to OFF. If you want any specific app notifications, then switch it to ON.

Background Apps

Go to Settings and enter Background apps into the search box, then select the result:

Background apps search
Background apps search

Now you will see the Background apps options (below):

Windows 10 Background Apps Options
Windows 10 Background Apps Options

Disable all the applications. Keep some enabled if you wish like Skype.

Update the Graphic Drivers

Basically, the Graphical Processing Unit inside your computer (GPU) is the visual controller of your computer Gaming Display and it needs the latest drivers to realise the best performance. It is reasonable to re-check for updates for your Graphics Drivers every 6 months as the manufacturer often release updates, fixes and improvements.

Gaming is an intensive process on your computer that requires a good graphics controller.

Right mouse click on the Desktop background then choose “Display settings“. Scroll down to Advanced display settings and click on it.

Windows Display Settings
Windows Display Settings

On the Advanced display settings dialogue select Display adaptor properties for Display 1 (see below).

Advanced display settings
Advanced display settings

Now you will see the Adaptor Properties as listed below:

Display Adaptor Properties
Display Adaptor Properties

Now select the Properties button (above). You will see the option Driver tab. Select it. Now click on Update Driver button (below).

Display Adaptor Update Driver
Display Adaptor Update Driver

This will search for the latest Microsoft certified (signed) drivers and update if necessary.

Select a Performance Power Plan for Gaming.

To improve gaming then you need the computer as active as possible. Selecting a High Performance Power mode is done by Settings, then enter power in the search and select Power & sleep settings. I suggest you create a new Power Plan called “High Performance”.

Custom High Performance Power Plan
Custom High Performance Power Plan

Disable Mouse Acceleration

Windows 10 has a feature enhancement called mouse acceleration that controls the positioning of your mouse movements. You can change this option to improve your mouse accuracy for games that require a exact mouse position. Settings enter pointer then select Adjust how fast the pointer accelerates. Disable the enhanced pointer precision tick box.

Disable Mouse Enhance pointer precision
Disable Mouse Enhance pointer precision

Disable Nagle Algorithm

Nagle’s Algorithm groups together data packets at the cost of achieving a smoother Internet connection. But having Nagle’s Algorithm enabled on your device when gaming online can contribute to latency issues.

Having this algorithm enabled on your computer could be part of the reason why you are having latency problems when playing online games.

To disable this algorithm you need to open your “Registry Settings” under Start> type regedit> Regedit. This will open the Registry Editor. Now, you will have to click on “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces” that can be found by scrolling down the drop menu.

Disabling Nagle algorithm helps to optimize the Internet speed or slow network application, and avoid the lower gaming latency/ping. But before moving further, it is important to recognize the suitable NIC interface.

Use these steps to recognize the suitable NIC Interface

In the search box type ‘CMD’ and press Enter to open Command Prompt

Type ‘IPCONFIG’ and hit Enter to view info on your active connection

Write down the IP address displayed IPv4 Address

Exit the Command Prompt

Get IP address of connection
Get IP address of connection

The key might contain several NICs, this depends upon the number of internet connections have been used. So to disable the Nagle-Algorithm of the correct internet profile it is required to access the correct NIC-ID. And to do this click any interface key and locate and then match the IP address with the one noted in the earlier section, in the right pane of Registry Editor. It is possible to exist within a string Value, named ‘IPAddress’ or ‘DhcpIPAddress’.

Registry DhcpIPAddress
Registry DhcpIPAddress

And as it is found, continue in the same key > in the left pane of registry editor

  • In the empty space right-click, and select New for creating two DWORD Values
  • And rename these values as ‘TcpAckFrequency’ (sending out packets immediately)
  • and ‘TCPNoDelay’ (Disabling Nagle-Algorithm)
  • Next, double click both the entries for Modifying
  • And to activate them put 1 as their Value data > click OK for saving the changes
  • Close Registry Editor, and Reboot your Computer
Registry adding TcpAckFrequency & TCPNoDelay
Registry adding TcpAckFrequency & TCPNoDelay

Disabling this only works with some games, not for every game. This varies with the specification of the game and you required checking to work on. If you can see no benefit then just reverse the settings above.

Does disabling the Nagel Algorithm affect Windows 10?

Nagel algorithm was created in order to allow data sending by using low bandwidth. So, it was designed for older connection. It adds 200ms to the connection in order for modems to actually cope up with the information exchange. So, it doesn’t affect the Windows 10 operating system. You can disable the algorithm temporarily, and if you found nothing helpful then simply reverse the changes.

Temporarily close OneDrive for Gaming

Under Windows 10, OneDrive is more active than with previous version of Windows. This can consume bandwidth. To exit the OneDrive app, find it on the task bar.

Finding OneDrive on TaskBar
Finding OneDrive on TaskBar

Then right mouse click over it and click Close OneDrive.

Close OneDrive
Close OneDrive

You will gain a higher bandwidth when it is disabled, but be aware it is wise to turn it back on at some time in the future, as it used by Windows Security for file recovery options in the case of a ransom-ware attack.

Disabling OneDrive effect
Disabling OneDrive effect

Restarting Windows 10 will enable the OneDrive app after you cause it to exit and close.

Windows Privacy settings

Windows 10, by default, has permission to report a huge amount of data back to Microsoft. This can add to the bandwidth that could impact gaming. To disable the data sent by Windows 10 select Privacy from the Windows Settings menu.

Windows 10 Privacy
Windows 10 Privacy

General tab (privacy)

Select “Off” to disable all the options below to limit the data collected by third parties.

Windows 10 change privacy settings
Windows 10 change privacy settings

If you wish, you can disable all the above ‘privacy’ settings. See this article for more information on understanding and improving your data privacy.

Diagnostics & Feedback

Go to Settings and search for diagnostics & feedback, then in the selected result turn Feedback frequency to Never (image below):

Diagnostic Feedback Frequency
Diagnostic Feedback Frequency

Windows 10 and Game Compatibility

There is a large list of games on Microsoft’s website that have checked for compatibility, and the list shows pretty much everything as playable. Only several have notes for minor issues.

Optimize Windows 10 For Gaming – Video Intro