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Windows 11 includes a “Game Mode” enabled by default that automatically optimizes your system for gaming when it detects a game in progress. It usually works well, but if it causes performance problems, you can switch easily disable it. Here’s how.

What Is Game Mode?

Game Mode is a special mode that prioritizes game processes as they run, ideally allowing them to run faster with fewer performance problems. Game Mode also temporarily prevents Windows Update from installing drivers (which might disrupt your gameplay) or asking to restart your PC. The feature originated with the Windows 10 Creators Update in 2017.

Very rarely, Game Mode can cause performance problems when in use. If that’s the case, you can switch it off easily in Settings. Otherwise, you can safely leave Game Mode enabled, because it only activates when Windows 11 detects that you’re playing a game.

RELATED: What is Game Mode in the Windows 10 Creators Update?

How to Disable Game Mode in Windows 11

First, open Windows Settings by pressing Windows+i. Or you can right-click the Start button in your taskbar and select “Settings” in the menu that appears.

In Settings, click “Gaming” in the sidebar, then select “Game Mode.”

In Game Mode settings, click the switch beside “Game Mode” to turn it “Off.”

Flip the switch beside "Game Mode" to "Off."

After that, close Settings. If you’d ever like to re-enable Game Mode, just revisit Settings > Game Mode and switch “Game Mode” to “On.” Happy gaming!

RELATED: Did You Know? Windows 10 PCs Have "Game Mode" on by Default

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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