If you’ve grown up gaming on a Windows PC, you should know that Windows 10 is our final frontier. Although there is a strong online user force attempting to resist Microsoft’s aggressive marketing scheme, a growing number of users are settling in to the newest Windows installment.
Windows 10 is a great OS for gamers because it incorporates many useful features and programs, but the grass is not all green on the other side. With these simple tweaks, however, you will be able to enjoy the best gaming experience Windows 10 has to offer!
Warning: Every listed optimization will require a restart to take effect.
Disable Nagle’s Algorithm
Nagle’s algorithm essentially bundles data packets at the cost of a smoother Internet connection. Having Nagle’s algorithm enabled on your computer may contribute to latency issues when playing games online.
To disable, open your Registry settings under Start > type regedit > Regedit. This will open up your Registry Editor. Click on the drop down menu until you reach HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interface. In the drop down menu under Interface, you will notice some files names comprised of letters and numbers. In order to access the correct file, match your IP Address with the listed DhcpIPAddress in one of these files. You may check your IP Address by going to WIN KEY + X > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Connections > Details > IPv4 Address.
Once you’ve tracked down the folder with the IP Address of your Internet connection, right-click on the folder and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Create two DWORD Values: name one TcpAckFrequency and the other TCPNoDelay. Once you’ve created the values, double-click on each and set their parameters to 1.
This activates the two parameters, thereby disabling Nagle’s Algorithm. If you run into any problems, set their parameter value to 0 and they will be disabled.
Disable Automatic Update and Restart
Windows 10 will automatically update your OS and schedule a restart without your permission. While this feature doesn’t activate often, you never want to be caught unaware and risk your game save (or 9 hours of your CS:GO live stream). Not only do automatic updates restart your computer randomly, downloading updates in the background will limit your network connectivity.
To disable automatic restart, access your update settings under Start > type update > Check for updates > Advanced options > Choose how updates are installed > Notify to schedule restart. This will prevent Windows 10 from automatically restarting your computer after an update. Next, click on the Choose how updates are delivered option and set Updates from more than one place to off to disable needless background updating.
Prevent Steam from Updating Games Automatically
If you use Windows to play games, you’ve probably familiarized yourself with Steam already. Well, even Steam is not perfect. One of the largest annoyances with Steam is their update feature, which will not allow you to prevent automatic updates across all of your games. This may eat up memory by updating games you don’t play, or limit your network connectivity with background updates.
To prevent Steam from updating games in the background, head to your Steam client and access your update options under Steam > Settings > Downloads. Uncheck Allow downloads during gameplay to prevent Steam from updating content while you’re gaming.
To prevent Steam from downloading updates for largely-unused games right-click on each of the installed games in your Library in question and select Properties. Under Automatic Updates, change Always keep this game up to date to Only update this game when I launch it.
Adjust Visuals Effects for Best Performance
Your graphical user interfaces (GUI) can be a major hindrance to your processing power. By default, your Windows 10 appearance settings are set to impress. Games running in your foreground may conflict with a shiny GUI running in the background, so it’s best to adjust these settings for performance rather than appearance.
Adjust your visual effects settings under Start > type performance > Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows > Adjust for best performance > Apply > OK. Head to the Advanced tab of the same window and ensure that Adjust the best performance of: is set to Programs as well.
Max Out Your Power Plan
Power options are often left alone due to their supposed, negligible effect. Some swear by faster gaming without lag when adjusting for higher performance, while others will not note any difference with changing their PC power settings. The only way to know for sure is to test it out on your PC. Change your power settings under WIN KEY + X > Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options > High Performance.
This option will allow your PC to perform better at the cost of higher energy consumption and temperature levels. For this reason, it’s better to activate this option on desktop rather than laptop PCs.
Keep Your Drivers Up To Date
Your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is the core of your PC gaming experience, and it requires the latest driver to keep it working faster and better. All graphics cards, no matter how old or new, benefit from continually updated drivers.
To check your GPU name and specs, Right-click Desktop > Display settings > Advanced display settings > Display adapter properties.
Although you can download driver updates through this window under Properties > Driver > Update Driver… I prefer visiting the manufacturer’s website to ensure the driver are up-to-date.
Manufacturers will often provide free gaming and update software as well which will keep your drivers up to date automatically, as is the case with AMD’s Gaming Evolved client.
For optimal performance, it is highly recommended that you install the chipset and LAN drivers for your motherboard as well since they are crucial for an optimal gaming performance. The easiest method to check chipset drivers is to open you command prompt under Start > type cmd > Command Prompt and paste the following command.
wmic baseboard get product,Manufacturer,version,serialnumber
Your motherboard’s manufacturer and product name will appear in the command prompt.
List your manufacturer and product name to search for your drivers online. You should find the necessary software under the Support tab of the manufacturer’s website.
Along with the chipset drivers, you will also find your on-board LAN drivers for an optimal Internet connection.
If you’d rather have all of your drivers updated continually through a single software client, certain manufacturers like Intel and MSI will provide free update software which will keep tabs of your LAN drivers, GUI setup and more.
Get DirectX 12
DirectX 12, the latest version of Microsoft’s popular API tool, is a big step towards the future of PC gaming.
With present and future support for multiple GPU and CPU cores, better frame-rates, lowered power consumption and enhanced graphical effects, DirectX 12 harbors in a new age for the PC gamer. To check if you have the latest version of DirectX, go to Start > run > Run > dxdiag > DirectX Version.
If for any reason you do not have DirectX 12 installed, simply run a software update with Start > type update > Check for updates > Click Check for updates and DirectX 12 will be downloaded automatically onto your PC. If you’ve recently installed Windows 10 onto your computer, you may not have officially downloaded the latest DirectX update. As of yet, there is no stand-alone update package for DirectX 12.
Up, Up and Away
Windows 10 is a legitimate delight for the modern gamer. With a towering game selection, Xbox compatibility and software specifically designed for gaming, it’s clear the gamer community has a special place in Windows 10’s future. However, nothing’s perfect. Reach closer to gaming perfection with these Windows 10 tweaks.
What tweaks do you use to optimize your gaming performance in Windows 10? Let us know in the comments below!