How to optimize Windows 10 for competitive gaming

A few quick clicks to improve your PC’s performance.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

No one wants to see their computer shut down or drop frames during their ranked games. But luckily, there are plenty of options to prevent these hindrances from happening.

Here are a few quick tips on how to optimize Windows 10 for competitive gaming.

Keep drivers updated

Gaming PCs rely heavily on their graphics cards, so players will want to make sure they’re keeping their drivers updated to avoid low performance or visual glitches. Depending on the graphics card, users can set up automatic updates, otherwise they’ll need to download driver updates from their GPU’s website every so often.

To find which graphics card their computer uses, users need to go to their computer’s advanced display settings, and the graphics card information will be below the monitor name. With that information handy, users can then travel to the brand’s website and download the drivers for their specific product from there.

Disable automatic updates

Windows 10 updates keep the PC running smoothly, so users should ensure their operating system is also up to date.

But Windows will automatically download updates, which can sometimes happen in the middle of a game. So players will want to turn this feature off by venturing into their Windows settings (Windows Key + I) and clicking on Updates and Security. Under the Windows Update tab, users will find advanced options where they can adjust their automatic updates settings.

Other games or programs, such as Steam, will typically implement similar automatic updates, so users will want to disable these updates as well by making sure the settings are turned off.

Turn on Game Mode

Windows 10 offers a mode to improve users’ gaming experiences called Game Mode, which prevents the system from running background operations while the setting is turned on.

Users can enable Gaming Mode by going into their Windows settings and clicking on the Gaming option. From there, users will see a tab labeled “Game Mode,” which they can click to turn the setting on. Game Mode can also be enabled while users are in a game by hitting the Windows + G keys to bring up the Game Bar, which allows users to turn the mode on from there.

Disable startup programs

Certain applications will launch upon startup, extending the time it takes for one’s computer to fully boot up. These programs will often be left discreetly running in the background, which will slow a computer’s performance while in-game.

Users can change which programs launch on startup by going into their apps settings and choosing the “Startup” tab. From there, they’ll see a list of programs that can be disabled on startup simply by clicking on the program and hitting the “Disable” button.