How to enable (or disable) Game Mode in Windows 10 and 11

Game Mode
Game Mode (Image credit: Windows Central)

In our tests, we found that Game Mode didn't have a huge impact on higher-end systems, but if you're prone to multitasking or have lots of processes running in the background, Game Mode could be useful to you. Additionally, Microsoft has plans to improve the feature in subsequent updates, so it's at least worth knowing where it is.

Here's how to enable (and disable) Game Mode in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Enable (and disable) Game Mode

You can also force Game Mode to switch on in specific games, whether they're tested by Microsoft or not. Previously, you could toggle Game Mode in the Windows 10 and 11 Game Bar, but the setting has since moved. To do this now, you need to use the Windows 10 and 11 Settings menu.

  1. Open the Settings menu by clicking the cogwheel icon in the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can simply type "Settings" into the Start menu to find it more easily.
  2. Select the Gaming section of the Settings menu.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Navigate to the Game Mode section in the sidebar. You can also simply search "Game Mode" in the Start menu to find it more quickly.
  2. Click to toggle Game Mode on or off. Turning it off will ensure background processes aren't impacting while running a game.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

While Game Mode won't make a huge difference for most PC games, if you're prone to heavy background task usage, or you're using a lower-end system without much overhead for games, Game Mode could be useful.

It's unknown whether Game Mode has undergone any enhancements on the new version of the OS, Windows 11, but we expect it essentially has the same functionality. If you turn it on, it will try to limit access of background tasks to your system resources, prioritizing gaming. If you turn it off, it will ensure background processes remain at the same priority. In testing, we haven't really found that it makes much difference either way, while trying to run games at the same time as rendering in Adobe Premier, for example. I think if you want to ensure that your system runs as expected, it might be worth simply turning it off.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Thanks for the help. Really useful. :)
  • Game mode and DVR, in fact the xbox app kill my graphic card o/c (even the one from factory). So it did a big fps drop in all my games, not fun at all :/
  • I wonder how can it apply to non-game apps such as a video player to increase fps ?
  • i tried game mode on world of tanks full settings just as a test, it did not do any good,, FPS dropped constantly. i wonder how far this mode helps with outside Windows store games? game mode is good to have tho.
  • That one bounced!  
  • Disable background recording. I use it with World of Tanks without any issue for recording with game mode activated.
  • Game mode is useful on my low end PC. I just keep Edge or any other app in background, with my game....And when my dad comes in........Fire 🔥 Alt+Tab....and because of game mode, my game remains intact and no longer crashes and hangs the system.XD
  • Game mode butchered FH3 for me. increased loading times by about 10x and the game would freeze every few seconds for about 15 seconds. It also made all the background apps that I had running not go to well. Took me ages to troubleshoot too, thought my rig was about to die.
  • Disable the background recording.
  • I thought that game mode was supposed to only be for non technical people with lots of junkware running in the background, and that it was counterproductive for power users with optimized systems?
  • Now if only they would release an easy way to use this in non store games, on a keyboardless tablet, where it actually the most useful. Adding it as a toggle to a desktop shortcut would work for me. Windows key G requires that you run the game in windowed mode, toggle the game mode via the virtual keyboard, and then change the game to fullscreen. Every time you run it. Please fix this Microsoft. Thanks.
  • Borderless you Muppet. Run your games in full screen borderless
  • Anyone know if I can record desktop or maps using game bar?
  • Yes, you can record anything using the game bar, just click Win+G and click "Yes, this is a game" when the popup appears.
  • I get a high frame rate but I find this helps stop some of the little stutters I get every now and then.
  • Cant open game bar with Mass Effect Andromeda :( any help. Why does not MS create a game mode application, which allows to add any game you want to support
  • hey have you set Mass Effect Andromeda on windowed mode or fullscreen window I have noticed that the gaming features don't work if your game is full screen if it is not a windows game.......
  • Set all your games to run borderless. It's still full screen view but game bar will work.
  • Game mode landed on one of my desktop PCs and thinks that Chrome is a game, always popping up and capturing all keyboard input when I open chrome. I've managed to disable game mode through Settings but there seem to be some keyboard hooks left in the system and the lower case "g" on my keyboard no longer works. I can get it to work temporarily by using a combination of win+G or just hit the win key twice, which makes lower case G work for a little while. USB keyboard, bluetooth keyboard, makes no difference. Game mode has hijacked the "g" key permanently and now my computer is useless (despite having disabled game mode). I'm having to write this on a laptop that magically doesn't have this update yet. Does anyone know how to completely remove this Game mode update? (no, I don't have system restore points to roll back to).
  • yes win key + g is game bar but
    you can change it in setting
  • False. Try again bozo