Windows 10 ‘Game Mode’ is in ‘Always On’ mode and it may cause overall performance degradation

Windows 10 Game Mode
Windows 10 Game Mode might be better switched off than on. Pic credit: Microsoft

Windows 10 ‘Game Mode’ is on by default. While the special platform should technically help games, its persistent presence can impede the overall performance of the PC.

Windows 10 has a ‘Game Mode’. Introduced in the ‘Creators Update’ back in 2017, it was supposed to help boost the performance of games, but its track record isn’t that great.

Game Mode needs to be off by default. Instead, all Windows 10 PCs have the mode constantly running in the background. Some experts are now advising to switch off the Game Mode, and doing so may improve the overall performance.

What is ‘Game Mode’ in Windows 10, and how does it work?

Microsoft has been trying to promote Windows 10 as a gaming platform for quite some time. One of the methods that can be heavily promoted is the ‘Game Mode’.

Introduced in the ‘Creators Update’ back in 2017, the Game Mode actually promises to boost the performance of many PC games. Incidentally, there’s nothing special or truly revolutionary about the mode.

According to Microsoft, the Game Mode “helps achieve a more stable frame rate depending on the specific game and system. In Game Mode, Windows Update won’t automatically install hardware drivers or notify you to restart your PC while you’re playing a game. This will reduce interruptions.”

Theoretically, Game Mode attempts to detect if a game is operating in the foreground. It then tries to grant the game priority access to the PC’s resources. Simply put, the game working in the foreground gets more CPU, GPU, and quite possibly RAM, resources.

It is quite obvious that the Game Mode has to pull resources from other applications running in the background. In other words, the applications and background processes get fewer resources.

It is important to note that Windows 10 must detect a game running in the foreground to truly deploy the Game Mode correctly. Moreover, the mode might boost the PC’s gaming performance only in certain cases.

Depending on the hardware the PC packs, the game being played, as well as the background processes running, gamers might not see any difference. In other words, If the Windows 10 PC has a capable CPU and GPU, and plenty of RAM, the Game Mode won’t make much difference in gaming performance.

Game Mode is on by default, and that is not a good thing for the overall PC’s performance:

The Windows 10 Game Mode could have a positive impact on gaming performance if the PC has limited resources. Moreover, it attempts to automatically detect when the PC user is playing a game, and it only takes action if Windows thinks it is necessary.

However, as convenient as it might sound, the Game Mode might not actually be ideal for gamers. This is because of the way gamers configure and operate their PCs.

One of the most basic pieces of advice about gaming is to shut off any and all unnecessary background processes. This means shutting down any productivity suites, web browsers, etc.

Secondly, a gaming PC is configured according to, well, gaming requirements. This means a capable CPU, a powerful GPU, and ample RAM. Combined with the first advice, this essentially renders the Game Mode rather redundant and a gimmick.

Strangely, a few Windows 10 PC users have claimed some games actually perform more slowly with Game Mode enabled. While the reports might be due to faulty or incompatible hardware, experts offer a plausible reason.

Games are often optimized for specific hardware. Developers ensure their games recognize the hardware and finetune not just the in-game settings, but resource allocations as well. If Game Mode then forces the reallocation of resources, it can cause degradation of performance.

How to switch off Windows 10 Game Mode:

The Game Mode is located on the Settings Page. Windows 10 users can access the same by pressing Windows + i. Alternatively, head to Settings > Gaming > Game Mode.

By default, the Game Mode is switched on. Simply click the slider to the left to switch the mode off. The change is applicable across the operating system.

Windows 10 Game Mode
Pic credit: Microsoft

Back in 2017, when Microsoft introduced the mode in Windows 10 Creators Update, users could keep the same on or off for specific games. However, the option has gone.

Disabling the Game Mode will not have any negative impact on gaming on Windows 10 PC. Moreover, it will certainly not be able to influence the OS performance in any way.

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