Windows 11 has a couple of tweaks to security settings which can help PC gamers get smoother frame rates, Microsoft has advised.
In a blog post (opens in new tab) spotted by Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab), Microsoft supplies instructions on how to switch off two features that provide beefier security for Windows 11 PCs, thereby delivering better performance in games – with the trade-off that your system is more vulnerable to attack with this functionality disabled.
The features in question are Memory Integrity (in Windows Security, Core Isolation), and the Virtual Machine Platform, known as VMP (under Windows Features). Both are simple switches (well, a slider and a checkbox respectively) that can be turned off if you so wish.
Microsoft notes: “As part of continued testing and feedback from users, Microsoft has seen that in some scenarios and some configurations of gaming devices there may be a performance impact with Memory Integrity and VMP on.”
The company further observes: “Gamers who want to prioritize performance have the option to turn off these features while gaming and turn them back on when finished playing. However, if turned off, the device may be vulnerable to threats.”
As Microsoft makes clear, Memory Integrity helps to ensure that all drivers installed are fully signed and trustworthy, blocking one route of injecting malicious code that nefarious types might use.
Analysis: How much of a performance hit are we talking here?
Sadly, Microsoft doesn’t elaborate on what kind of impact on frame rates these two mentioned security features could have, and how much you might stand to gain by switching them off (roughly – doubtless that will vary somewhat based on all manner of factors).
It may not be all that much on average, going by what we see anecdotally online. (Tom’s theorizes maybe a 5% to 10% slowdown, though the latter end of that guesstimate would be more worrying – and the fact that Microsoft has admitted there is an issue here would also seem to suggest that any impact isn’t completely trivial.)
However, as noted, be careful about leaving these features off permanently, even if it is a bit of a hassle to switch VMP and Memory Integrity off and then back on again. This task may seem like a simple matter of a couple of clicks in Settings on the face of it, but the caveat is you may have to reboot the PC – which is when it could be a bit more irksome to keep turning these features off and on.
Still, if you only play a competitive shooter, say, once a week, and you absolutely crave the most fluid frame rates possible for those gaming sessions, then it’s useful to know about these actions you can take in Windows 11. Just don’t forget to revert things afterwards.