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Windows 10 Optimization for Gaming and More

Windows 10 doesn't have the greatest performance for games. It's glitchy and slow but you can fix this with a few tweaks.

For the sake of this guide, we’re going to make a few assumptions. Make sure that you don't fall outside of these guidelines before trying our advice, just in case.

First, we’ll be approaching this Windows 10 optimization guide with the assumption that you’re running a fresh, stable build of Windows 10. 

Whether you’ve recently installed Windows should be mostly irrelevant. But it is important that we make this assumption to ensure that all the programs, tweaks, or changes we suggest have not yet already been implemented. If you see something in this guide that you’ve previously done, feel free to skip it.

The reason we’re assuming a fresh install for optimizing Windows 10 is that the bulk of users who will benefit from this guide will be those who recently bought or built their computer, or people that are reinstalling Window.

Vintage installs might have a handful of the programs we suggest, some users might have applied some of the tweaks we’ll bring to your attention, and some might even have outdated versions of Windows. It's still a pretty safe bet that this guide should work for you even if it's an older version. 

Privacy & Windows Update

Let's start this Windows 10 optimization guide on how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming with some update settings.

Turn off peer-to-peer updates.

        Step 1:

         Step 2:

        Step 3:

Sharing is caring only if you’re not a cynical privacy advocate. If you aren’t much into that then you’ll probably want to stop Windows from uploading updates from your computer to other people’s computers without you knowing.

This setting is on by default, and it’s a bit tricky to find so bear with me and do it while you're already doing Windows 10 optimization.

  1. Open the Settings app (win+i)
  2. Choose Update & Security
  3. Choose Advanced Options
  4. Choose how updates are delivered
  5. Select “PCs on my local network.”
  6. OR if you’re worried, just turn update sharing off
Updates are not something you want to be sharing over the internet to unknown PCs. However, sharing updates within your home network, among other Windows 10 computers in your house is beneficial to optimize Windows 10 for gaming.

Set Active Hours

I like to give some visuals for this part of Windows 10 optimization.

Picture this: you're on a safari fleeing from the local natives (you know, totally traditional for any good safari experience). You need to reach 3.015407S by 61.610080W to get away and your computer is the only thing that will take you there. But Murphy's Law strikes as usual and it is at this moment that Windows 10 begins a forced update and reboot. 

To prevent this type of thing from happening, it is in your best interest to set your active hours and restart options while optimizing Windows 10 for gaming.

Active Hours tells Windows to automatically restart your computer without warning you during a certain hours. Restart Options will let you decide exactly when to restart your computer when new updates are pending. You can find both of these settings in by following these instructions: Open the Settings app (win+i)

  1. Open the settings app (win+i)
  2. Choose update and security

Since you’re already in this area of Windows 10 optimization, if you haven’t installed the latest updates for your computer, you should check for updates and install them. You wouldn’t want your computer to blue screen while you’re traversing the jungle because of an old Windows bug, would you? That's why you need optimizing Windows 10 for gaming.

Application Updates

Time for the next step in the process of optimizing Windows 10 for gaming. Now that you have Windows all updated, it’s also a good idea to update those shiny new Windows 10 app store applications. To do so follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Windows Store app
  2. Click on your profile picture next to the search box
  3. Choose “Downloads and updates.”
This will take you to the downloads and updates page (never would’ve seen that coming) where you can check for and install updates to your Windows 10 app store applications.

Disable Wi-Fi Sense

Wi-Fi Sense will try to connect you automatically to safe or recognized networks while using Wi-Fi because it's enabled unless you turn it off directly. From your neighbor’s wi-fi, coffee shops, airports or even hotels. It is an inconvenient “feature” bundled with Windows 10 that only leads to security concerns, headaches, and the occasional concern that you might connect to a metered connection and not know it.

Luckily, Wi-Fi sense is fairly easy to turn off and below I’ll show you just how to do that.

  1. Open the Settings app (win+i)
  2. Choose Networks & the Internet
  3. Choose Wi-Fi
  4. Disable all options underneath Wi-Fi Sense.

That’s it for this step of Windows 10 optimization! (This option will only appear if you are using a wireless connection.)


You couldn't go through optimizing Windows 10 for gaming without updating the drivers. Drivers are pieces of software that allow your operating system to communicate properly with your hardware. From mice and keyboard, to even basic functionality of your motherboard, drivers are an essential part of every computer.

A majority of your drivers will be ones that enable proper motherboard functions such as proper USB support, audio, networking and more. There are also drivers for graphics cards. These drivers are what will enable you to use your discrete graphics card to its fullest potential.

Without it, you are more than likely going to see reduced frame rates, and sometimes, games may outright refuse to open. Getting the right drivers is a big part of how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming.

Because drivers are tailored both to your operating system and your specific model for a given piece of hardware, it would be very difficult to provide links for all the drivers we’ve mentioned in this Windows 10 optimization guide.

For the sake of convenience, we will provide you a list of suggested drivers to get you started optimizing Windows 10. To find these drivers, search the model of your hardware on Google, along with “support” or “drivers” in the search key. Example: “EVGA GTX 1060 Drivers.” For graphics cards, note that the manufacturer of the card itself is most likely where you want to go, versus the retailer’s website (AMD or nVidia in 99% of cases).

  • Motherboard chipset drivers.
  • Motherboard USB drivers.
  • Motherboard Networking / LAN drivers.
  • Motherboard audio drivers.
  • Graphics card drivers.
To find out what drivers are missing from your computer, go to the device manager:

  1. Open the control panel
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. It will display devices without drivers in the “Other Devices” section with a yellow question mark next to their name.
You should have no devices with question marks in your device manager when you’ve completed installing drivers. While there may be more out there, as drivers for certain peripherals, this list should suffice for most cases. It's enough if you only want to know how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10.

Control Panel Items


Here's a tip on Windows 10 optimization for mouse users:

If you use a mouse with your computer, you'll want to disable the “help” (hint: it doesn’t help) Windows tries to give you. In the control panel, click on “Mouse” to bring up the mouse settings window. Select the “Pointer Options” tab and make sure that “Enhance pointer precision” is turned off, and your pointer speed is set exactly in the middle (the 6th notch from the left or right). This disables mouse acceleration and stops Windows from modifying your mouse input.

Power Options

Changing the default Power Options in Windows can be a necessary step in optimizing Windows 10 for gaming to ensuring that your games perform optimally and that you eliminate any potential headaches that could arise from Power Saver features enabled by default.

To access your Power Options, do the following:

  1. Type in Power Options in the start menu and hit enter.
  2. Select the plan of your choice. (We’ll go over this below)
  3. Select “Change plan settings.”
  4. Select “Change advanced power settings.”
When optimizing Windows 10 for desktops and gaming laptops tethered to a constant stream of energy and or dark matter, you’ll want to consider enabling High-Performance mode to ensure that it allows your device access to the entirety of its CPU and GPU. Play around with these settings to best fit your needs. Below, we’ll suggest a few changes make, as long as you’re okay with a little less battery life and a raised electric bill.

  • Disable “Turn off hard disk” by setting Minutes to 0.
  • (For those on Wi-Fi) Change Wireless Adapter Settings to Maximum performance.
  • If you don’t need it, disable Sleep.
  • Disable USB selective suspend to ensure all your USB devices are always functional.
  • Disable Link State Power Management for PCI.
  • Disable or change the inactive window on Sleep Mode for your display.

Set Default Programs

Optimizing Windows 10 for gaming also involves setting some default applications to open your files. By default, Windows will ask you to specify what program you wish to use as the default for things such as photo viewing, music, and even web browsing. Unfortunately, unlike in previous operating systems, you can now only set default by accessing this menu, versus selecting to save it as the default program. At least the item is easy to access to change it until Microsoft updates your operating system again and defaults everything back to “Choose a default.”

  1. Type “Default Programs” into the start menu and hit enter.
  2. Change your defaults to your preferred applications.

At least, for now, this is easy to change and only takes a moment or two in the Windows 10 optimization process. For how long, though?

Change default media directories

If you’re curious how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10 when you’re using multiple hard drives or you have an SSD installed, you’re most likely going to want to move certain file types to a separate drive. From music to pictures, documents or even videos, these types of files can quickly eat up a lot of space. Whether you want to avoid filling up your SSD, or you wish to avoid fragmenting your OS hard drive, moving these types of files to a separate drive or computer can be highly beneficial for Windows 10 optimization. Luckily, the steps to do so are rather simple.Open Explorer (win+e)

  1. Open Explorer (win+e)
  2. From “This PC” right-click the folder(s) you wish to move and select properties.
  3. Under the Location tab, designate the new directory by navigating to the drive or drive folder you wish to save the new file types to.All changes made here will show up on the side of Explorer as well as in the start menu.
All changes made here will show up on the side of Explorer as well as in the start menu.


Ninite is a website / application designed to make retrieving and installing common programs completely painless. From a web browser(s) of choice to anti-virus software and even backend software for Windows itself, Ninite truly is an essential part of Windows 10 optimization.

To use Ninite, on their website select all the applications you wish to install and hit “Get Your Ninite.” A file will be downloaded that can be run to download and install all the selected applications.

Rather than downloading, running, and subsequently deleting the installer, Ninite will connect to the internet and download all of your programs, ensuring that it de-selects any options for toolbars or other third-party installers that may come bundled with your selected applications. The only downside to Ninite is that it requires the designated PC to have an internet connection, as Ninite doesn’t include the installers themselves in its own download.

To use Ninite, on their website select all the applications you wish to install and hit “Get Your Ninite.” A file will be downloaded that can be run to download and install all of the selected applications.

Rather than downloading, running and subsequently deleting the installer(s), Ninite will connect to the internet and download all of your programs, ensuring that it de-selects any options for toolbars or other third-party installers that may come bundled with your selected applications. The only downside to Ninite is that it requires the designated PC to have an internet connection, as Ninite doesn’t include the installers themselves in its own download.

Truly, Ninite is a lifesaver and a major convenience when doing Windows 10 optimization. It is a must-have for everyone who wants to know how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming .

Removing Bloatware

A guide on how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10 has to talk about bloatware. By definition, bloatware is software that comes pre-installed on a computer and is little more than a nuisance to most users. Unfortunately, Windows 10 comes pre-loaded with a handful of applications that most users will find unnecessary or will outright get in their way - removing them helps with optimizing Windows 10 for gaming. From the Xbox app to the My Phone app, Candy Crush and Get Office to News apps and more. There’s a handful of applications that just waste space, RAM and processing power, and we’ll show you how to remove them during Windows 10 optimization.

The PC Decrapifier

Although it may sound like a joke, The PC Decrapifier is an actual application designed to find and remove bloatware. Although not perfect for the case of Windows 10, PC Decrapifier does a good job of detecting and removing most of the unnecessary applications that come with Windows 10. Namely, Get Skype, Get Office 365 and other similar applications. Where it excels, however, is in discovering and removing toolbars or other software bundled with applications you download. It’s certainly worth a shot to see what all it can catch and remove for you.

Removing Windows Apps Manually

How to optimize Windows 10 for gaming using the PowerShell? Through the PowerShell in Windows, you can remove a handful of the bloatware that comes bundled with Windows 10. With a simple command (that is copy+pastable) you can have a much cleaner PC in a matter of moments. Perfect solution when optimizing Windows 10 for gaming!

In order to access the PowerShell, simply do the following:

  1. Search “PowerShell” in the start menu.
  2. Run “Windows PowerShell” as an administrator.
That’s it! Now, enter the text specified below to remove the corresponding application(s) from your computer to optimize Windows 10 for gaming.

(Courtesy of LifeHacker for the list)

Uninstall 3D Builder:
Get-AppxPackage *3dbuilder* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Alarms and Clock:
Get-AppxPackage *windowsalarms* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Calendar and Mail:
Get-AppxPackage *windowscommunicationsapps* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Camera:
Get-AppxPackage *windowscamera* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Get Office:
Get-AppxPackage *officehub* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Get Skype:
Get-AppxPackage *skypeapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Get Started:
Get-AppxPackage *getstarted* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Groove Music:
Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Maps:
Get-AppxPackage *windowsmaps* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Microsoft Solitaire Collection:
Get-AppxPackage *solitairecollection* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Money:
Get-AppxPackage *bingfinance* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Movies & TV:
Get-AppxPackage *zunevideo* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall News:
Get-AppxPackage *bingnews* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall OneNote:
Get-AppxPackage *onenote* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall People:
Get-AppxPackage *people* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Phone Companion:
Get-AppxPackage *windowsphone* | Remove-AppxPackageUninstall Sports

Uninstall Sports:
Get-AppxPackage *bingsports* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Weather:
Get-AppxPackage *bingweather* | Remove-AppxPackage

Uninstall Xbox:Get-AppxPackage *xboxapp* | Remove-AppxPackage

Removing any or all of these applications will not negatively affect the core functionality of Windows 10 and should be completely harmless - even help with Windows 10 optimization. After running all the commands you wish to run, be sure to restart your computer just in case.

Helpful Software You Should Have Installed Already

Isn’t it amazing that we live in a world where you can download, install, and run almost any piece of software without issue on just about any operating system?  I’m sure you don’t really think about it often, but software defines the modern operating system experience - and it can really help with Windows 10 optimization. You can extend the base functionality of any operating system with wonderful pieces of software that are often as free as they are necessary. The software below only caresses the baby smooth surface of the left butt cheek of the Windows 10 software ecosystem. However, like a good rump, the first caress is all that it will take to open up your world to new possibilities after optimizing Windows 10 for gaming.


How to optimize Windows 10 for gaming in terms of storage space? CCleaner has two primary uses: first, it will free up space on your storage devices and second, it will erase private data such as your clipboard, browsing history, internet cache, etc.

The first use case should be clear. If you want to free up some extra space on a drive during your Windows 10 optimization, run CCleaner to help find and delete useless files that just take up space. Hard drives (both spinning disk and SSD) as well as Windows perform best when there’s at least some free space on your disks. The second use case is a little fuzzier.

Why would you want to delete your browsing history or internet cache? These collections of private data can be used to track and monitor your online activity. Erasing the data keeps things private when optimizing Windows 10 for gaming.


Discord is a VoIP (Voice over IP… think Skype) i app designed for collaborative gaming and community communication. Really useful for gamers who want full Windows 10 optimization. First of all, Discord is 100% free to use. You can choose to either use Discord directly through your web browser or download the Discord desktop/mobile application.

Discord organizes communication into servers and further subdivides servers into text channels and voice channels. Each server supports role-based delegation of permissions to participate in and modify channels. This makes it easier for server administrators to maintain a pleasant community atmosphere. Text chat and voice chat are separated into different channels.

You can be present in both a text and voice channel at the same time, but you can only be active in one of each simultaneously. Simply clicking on a new channel (or server on the left) allows you to switch rooms. In this way, a single discord server can support multiple conversations at once.


CPUID provides several software that are indispensable for gathering information about your computer for Windows 10 optimization (you know… to troubleshoot those problems that you’ll never have). CPU-Z and HWMonitor are the most common recommendations to optimize Windows 10 for gaming.

After a short install, CPU-Z will tell you everything you never wanted to know about your CPU. After a similarly short install, HWMonitor will give you visibility into your computer’s various sensors to see things like temperature and fan speeds. If you know what you’re doing, you can use these tools to troubleshoot problems within your computer yourself.

Even if you’re not up to doing your own troubleshooting and need to ask others for help with Windows 10 optimization, CPU-Z and HWMonitor will help you describe your system and problem in specific terms that will help others help you help yourself.


7-Zip is an open source software used to archive and unarchive files of just about any format. What exactly is a file archive? Have you ever come across a .zip file? How about a .rar file? What about a .tgz file?

If you have, you might’ve wondered how you were going to unpack those files (or even how people make these files). 7-Zip is the answer to both of those questions. 7-Zip will archive and unarchive just about anything for you. It’s a really indispensable tool.

Backup Software

Imagine you’re going along playing Call of Battlefield 75 and all of a sudden the power goes out. No biggie right? Power comes back on, and you go to turn your computer back on to resume your game. Except it doesn’t turn on. Maybe you see something on screen, maybe you don’t, but you do hear an ominous clicking coming from the hard drive slot on your computer.

You, sir or madam, have just been boned. It is a good thing that, when you did that Windows 10 optimization, you set up regular system backups of all your important files for just such a situation right? RIGHT? There are two main types of backups you’ll want to have - and it's good to set them up while optimizing Windows 10. File system backups that simply gather your data and keep an extra copy of it, and system image backups that will allow you to restore your computer completely to a point in time.

There are lots of software to help you do both of these. We personally like to use Acronis (premium), but software such as Veeam (free for home), CrashPlan (premium), and Backup 2 (premium) are great alternatives. It's definitely worth it to look into those during Windows 10 optimization.


I hope I don’t have to explain why it’s a good idea to have some form of antivirus/antimalware protection to optimize Windows 10 for gaming. For protection, the main players as of 2017 are Avira, Windows Defender (which comes installed with Windows), Bitdefender, and Avast. In the event that you are reading this, and you are already infected, (please wash your hands and stop spreading germs) the best medicine would be Malwarebytes.

Windows 10 Tweaks That We Think You Should Know

There are a few other things you should know, if you want to learn how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10. Windows 10 in its default configuration has many interesting design choices included that often leaves us scratching our heads. Outside of this, there are also a handful of tweaks out there that are relatively easy to make and can be of great convenience. Today, we’ll introduce you to a handful of them. Don’t feel compelled to do them all, but there’s nothing wrong with that either. We just want to maintain the “P” in PC (that stands for “personal” for all you young’uns).

Open explorer to “This PC.”

By default in Windows 10, Explorer will open to Quick Access. This is unlike every other version of Windows, and anybody coming from a previous version will surely feel lost. Luckily, it’s very easy to revert this design flaw change.

  1. Open explorer (win+e)
  2. Click “File” at the top-left.
  3. Click “Change folder and search options.”
  4. Change “Open File Explorer To:” from “Quick Access” to “This PC.”

Overall, it’s a very quick and easy change to make that takes almost no time at all, yet saves you from having to deal with Quick Access.

Hide the search bar and Task View button from your taskbar.

Windows 10 optimization is all about online connectivity and easy access to information via Cortana. One place this doesn’t belong is in the taskbar. You can hide the Task View button as well as the large “Search Windows” box by following these quick-and-easy steps.

  1. Rick-click the taskbar.
  2. Untick “Show Task View Button.”
  3. Hover over “Search” and click “Hide.”

That’s it! It really is that easy.

Hide desktop icons

Perhaps you’re a Windows 10 optimization neat-freak like me. Perhaps you want to simply take a screenshot of your desktop without annoying icons. Perhaps you need to hide something on your desktop. Luckily, hiding your icons is very simple. There’s no need for a folder or to delete them! Here's how to optimize Windows 10 for gaming in terms of your desktop experience:

  1. Right-click the desktop.
  2. Hover over “View.” and untick “Show desktop icons.”

That’s it! You can easily undo this by re-ticking the option.

Automatically log in

Perhaps your computer starts very quickly, but its fast boot is interrupted by the requirement for a password to be entered. Perhaps you don’t like this. It’s easy enough to disable. Do note that you will only want to do this if your computer is not used by anyone else and is not a public device, as this means that simply turning on your computer will drop you on your desktop.

  1. Type “netplwiz” into the start menu and hit enter.
  2. Select your User Account and untick the “Users must enter a username and password to use this computer” box.
  3. Restart your computer

Any subsequent boots will completely skip the login screen and drop you right at your desktop. Be warned!

Although these tricks to optimize Windows 10 for gaming only begin to scratch the surface of the customization options inside of the OS, they’re mostly noninvasive and easily reversible if you dislike the outcome. Have any tweaks or suggestions of your own on how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10? Be sure to put them in the comments!

Buttoning Up

Now that we’re at the end of this guide for optimizing Windows 10 for gaming, I’d like to thank you all for reading, and we hope at least some of the suggestions we’ve made will benefit you. Windows 10 is a very powerful, capable operating system that is held back by flaws that arose when Microsoft attempted to integrate more social elements and mobile design. While not perfect, it is still an excellent operating system, and doubly so for gamers, with the inclusion of DirectX 12 and other gaming Windows 10 optimizations.

Now that we've told you how to improve gaming performance on Windows 10, be sure to hit up the Personalization settings and make it your own! Not to mention grabbing all of the software you’ll want. Make the Windows 10 optimization process yours!

Xander (Editor-in-Chief)
Latest posts by Xander (Editor-in-Chief) (see all)

2 thoughts on “Windows 10 Optimization for Gaming and More”

  1. A memo for myself after formatting and reinstalling windows… I should disable the Xbox game bar, go in-game mode advanced settings and enable GPU planning with hardware acceleration, and lastly, I should disable sound enhancements on my headphones. Also tweaking a few Windows settings such as nightlight, not for gaming but really for my eyes.


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