How to use Game Mode on Windows 10

If you play most games on your PC, chances are you’ll be on a Windows machine.

While that’s only good for dedicated machines (think the best gaming laptops), it can be a struggle for more everyday devices.

These days, many PCs and laptops are said to be as good for gaming as general productivity, although that’s not always the case. However, Windows 10’s built-in gaming mode can help bridge the gap by allocating more resources when gaming and shutting down background processes.

How to enable Game Mode on Windows 10

The process of enabling Game Mode is simple:

  1. Open the Settings menu, by searching for it or clicking the gear icon in the Start Menu
  2. In the window that appears, select ‘Game’ and select the ‘Game Mode’ tab from the left pane
  3. Make sure the on/off button under ‘Use Game Mode’ is set to On.

How to enable Game Mode from within the game

Once Game Mode has been enabled in Settings, it can be enabled for most games as you see. This means it doesn’t have to be on for the base game, but can come in handy if you’re struggling to handle something more intensive.

  1. Launch the game you want to use Game Mode for
  2. You will now be prompted to enter the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + G or the Xbox button if you have a controller connected. If not, that usually means the game isn’t supported, but it’s worth a try anyway
  3. In the Games bar that opens, click the Settings icon on the far right of your screen
  4. A separate Window will open and here just check the box labeled ‘Use Game Mode for this game’
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How does game mode make a difference?

One important thing, as long as you don’t own dedicated gaming hardware. Those devices will probably work fine even with graphics-intensive titles, but you’ll definitely see benefits on low-cost or mid-range devices.

Game mode works by limiting background activities to maximize gaming performance. This means that things like updates and notifications are temporarily disabled, ensuring the maximum amount of resources is allocated to the game you’re playing.

Microsoft has specifically stated that Game Mode will lead to a “more consistent gaming experience”. This means that frame rates will remain more consistent, avoiding dropouts and large variations that can cause lag.

This video, released when the feature launched on Windows 10 in 2017, further explains:

Looking to invest in some dedicated gaming hardware instead? Check out our overview of the best gaming PCs, the best gaming monitors, and the best PC controllers before you buy.

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