Microsoft says it's fixed an issue in Windows 10 Game Mode that 'results in lower frame rates'

Windows 10

If you are still experiencing gameplay issues in Windows 10—and specifically stuttering and lower than expected frame rates—hang tight, a cure for what ails your PC is coming. Hopefully, anyway. It's worth remembering that it was a previous Windows update that caused these performance woes on some PCs in the first place.

Unfortunately for some unlucky users, the cumulative Patch Tuesday update Microsoft rolled out in April had a penchant for trashing frame rates and causing games to stutter, without any obvious rhyme or reason.

Various complaints surfaced following the roll out, including one user who said they began seeing "consistent stuttering in Doom Eternal" on a PC configured with a Ryzen 5 3600 CPU and a GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card.

"I think I also have the same problem. Since yesterday when I upgraded Windows, my performance in Warzone has gone from 90 fps on average to 75 fps, even drops below 60 fps (V-Sync off)," another user wrote at the time.

The good news is, for some people the issue got resolved with this month's Patch Tuesday update (KB5004327). However, not everyone has been so luck. As spotted by Windows Latest, some Windows 10 users report having the same performance problems even after installing the latest cumulative update, which began rolling out a little over a week ago.

"Once again, I am still having gaming performance issues since KB500842. Somebody from Microsoft really needs to get this resolved," a user wrote on Reddit. "The workaround is to set your power plan to 'High Performance' but I prefer to stay on the 'Balanced' power plan...This is frustrating to deal with."

The same issue does not appear to be present in Windows 11, though it is only available in preview form at the moment. And even when it releases later this year, an argument could be made for holding off upgrading to see what inevitable wrinkles will still need ironing out.

Fortunately, Microsoft thinks it has finally found the root cause. While Microsoft has not gone into great detail about the issue, the release notes for an upcoming Windows 10 feature update (21H2) suggest a permanent fix is coming.

"We fixed an issue that prevents power plans and Game Mode from working as expected. This results in lower frame rates and reduced performance while gaming," the release notes state.

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The caveat is that it could be a few months before the 21H2 update arrives (probably around the same time as Windows 11). It's also available now in preview form to members of the Window Insider program, though it's possible Microsoft will dish up the same fix in the next cumulative update, which arrives on August 10 (the second Tuesday of next month).

In the meantime, there are a couple of potential workarounds you can try if games are not running properly on your machine. One is to select the 'High performance' power plan in Windows 10 and hope the OS does not ignore your choice. The other is to turn off Game Mode. You may have better success with the latter, as it has been linked to performance issues for over a year.

Beyond those measures, the same general advice applies—be sure you're running the latest drivers for your hardware, particularly your GPU, and apply any available game patches for titles that are having fits on your PC.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).