|Windows||November 20, 1985|
- The most popular and widely supported family of operating system among PC users.
- Backward compatibility is high, with newer versions of the operating system capable of running decades old software with minimal issues.
- Transitioned to periodic biannual major upgrades since the introduction of Windows 10.
- Official support
- Windows 10 Update history
- Microsoft Update Catalog - Allows for manual download of updates or device drivers. See related KB article.
- Microsoft Community - Official community for everything related to Microsoft
- Microsoft Community Discord - Official Discord server
- /r/windows10 - Subreddit dedicated to Windows 10
- /r/windows - Subreddit dedicated to Windows in general
The Command Prompt is the command-line interpreter provided by Microsoft for Windows systems and is the not-as-powerful equivalent of the shell in Linux and Mac OS. It can be accessed by going to 'run' and typing 'cmd.exe' or by running a 'Batch file'.
Admin Command Prompt
|Windows 8 and later|
The Task Manager is an application built into Windows that allows for the managing running processes as well as providing information about computer performance.
It can be accessed by any of the following ways:
- Right-click on the taskbar of Windows and select Task Manager.
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Task Manager.
- Press Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Esc to open it directly.
The Device Manager is an application built into Windows that allows for the management of device drivers. It can be accessed from the Control Panel.
The Registry Editor allows users to edit the Windows registry. It can be accessed by going to 'run' and typing 'Regedit.exe'.
A Blue Screen of Death (a.k.a BSOD or Bluescreen) is an error screen that Windows produces when it encounters an error that it cannot recover from.
DirectX is a collection of APIs for Windows that allows programs to interact directly with hardware.
The .NET Framework is a software framework for Windows that is required for games built in .NET-aware languages (such as C# or Visual Basic), including those that use XNA. Different games may require different versions of .NET Framework. A list with download links for most versions can be found here[Note 1]. Windows 8 and 10 users may want to read this.
DLL stands for "Dynamic Link Library". DLL files (.dll) are Windows exclusive library files containing code and data that can be used over several applications.
While they can save time for developers, these files can cause problems for the end-user (commonly referred to as "DLL Hell").
- Available for DirectX 9 and above; automatically engaged.
- Optimizations combining the benefits of classic exclusive fullscreen mode with that of borderless window mode, by utilizing flip model presentation in a maximized borderless window.
- Despite information stated elsewhere online, there is currently no built-in way of system-wide disabling fullscreen optimizations for all executables in Windows 10 v1803 and later. In earlier versions settings existed tied to this in Settings > Gaming > Game bar settings page, but this is no longer the case pending a move to the Display settings > Graphics settings subpage.
- Thankfully a 3rd party software developer has taken up the challenge of making it easy to adjust application compatibility settings in bulk.
Windows 10 (v1607 "Anniversary Update" and later) includes fullscreen optimizations (sometimes shortened as FSO) that attempts to convert games running in the "classic" exclusive fullscreen mode into using borderless window mode with flip model presentation instead. This optimization is completely transparent to the game, and it as well as injected tools (such as Special K) will believe and report that the game is running in exclusive fullscreen mode. This allows the use of Windows 10's Game bar as well as other system overlays in games that otherwise would not support them. A side-effect of the flip model presentation used is that it still allows the use of virtual refresh rate techniques such as G-Sync/FreeSync syncing the monitor to the frame rate despite them being configured for fullscreen only.
Earlier versions of Windows 10 (v1607-1709) also tried forcing games running in regular window modes (including borderless window mode) to use flip model presentation, however this was discovered to cause issues with some games. As a result, in Windows v1803 Microsoft had disabled that aspect of the feature and limited the fullscreen optimizations to only apply for games running in exclusive fullscreen mode.
|Disable fullscreen optimizations for an executable|
|Check if fullscreen optimizations are being used or not|
The Game bar (⊞ Win+G) allows easy capture recording of gameplay screenshots and video while playing a game and is enabled by default in Windows 10. Unfortunately, some games suffer from sporadic but severe FPS drops when the bar is enabled.
|Toggle Game bar|
|Toggle Game DVR background recording|
- Game Mode attempts to remove distractions while playing by applying minor changes to the behavior of Windows Update and may on some systems also help achieve a more stable frame rate in some games.
- Earlier versions of the feature also prioritized CPU and GPU resources to the game running in the foreground, but this was removed in v1803 as it was found to negatively impact some games and scenarios.
- Microsoft's official support article: Use Game Mode while gaming on your Windows 10 device
|Toggle Game Mode for a game|
Disable driver updates delivered through Windows Update
- Driver updates can only be disabled before they are actually downloaded/installed.
- Not all driver updates will be listed at first, however they can be disabled gradually.
|How to temporarily prevent a driver update from reinstalling in Windows 10|
|How to temporarily prevent a driver update from reinstalling in Windows 10 (alternative method)|
Disable memory compression
|Change settings in Powershell|
Search for the name Powershell in the system, and launch it as administrator via RBM.
Disable "Control Flow Guard"
|In Windows Defender|
Use this instruction and choose executable. Don't turn off CFG globally - it's a major security breach.
Turn on ReadyBoost
- This is only necessary on low-end devices with memory concerns, such as on machines with 4 GB RAM or less.
|Configure your USB flash drive in Computer to use with ReadyBoost|
Change privacy settings
- May fix stuttering when connected to the Internet.
- Can cause problems in Microsoft Store games such as the Forza series or for other components such as Windows Update.
- Only official supported methods of changing privacy or diagnostics settings are through built-in control panels such as the Settings app or applicable group policy objects (not available for Windows 10 Home users) of the operating system. Third-party tools may introduce unexpected issues or compatibility issues due to forcefully applying system-wide changes that might not have been properly tested or accounted for.
|Use Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10|
Go to Security and Privacy and disabled all of the options under "Privacy."
- See Windows Compatibility Mode for information on how to use the built-in backward compatibility mode of Windows.
For modern versions of Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), it is recommended to use DOSBox.
- If you're having trouble getting DOS games to run on older versions of NT (XP & 2000) checkout The Sierra Help Pages.
- In the transition from Windows 9x to NT based versions, DOS compatibility was temporarily maintained, at least for 32-bit editions. For Windows 10 32 bit you'll need to add NTVDM support via Windows Features.
Running 16 bit applications on 64 bit system
Screen recorders, overlays, injectors won't work with Windows Apps
See Windows Store article for this and other Windows Apps related issues.
Alt F4 doesn't terminate frozen applications
Older Games Missing .dll File on Windows Vista and later
- Some .dll files have different names on Windows Vista and later.
- See also DLL is missing from your computer
|Copy DLL to folder|
DirectDraw is broken
This issue actually first materialized in 8.1, unfortunately there is little more that can be done than use a DDraw wrapper:
- DgVoodoo 2, a glide wrapper, also has a DDraw wrapper built-in.
- Direct3D 8 has a very similar issue on 8.1 and later as well, however the ddraw wrappers (with an exception to the ones that include a d3d8.dll) do not fix the issue as D3D8 doesn't use ddraw, being the first version of DirectX to deprecate it. Instead use a patched d3d8.dll, the DX8 to DX9 convertor or the d3d8to9 wrapper.
- Users of Windows Vista and on-wards actually benefit from a DDraw wrapper due to it no longer being hardware accelerated on such systems, however the built-in DDraw wasn't completely broken until 8.1.
Older games refuse to start on Windows 8 and later
Note: Normally Windows 8+ automatically detects if an application needs DirectPlay or other legacy components when it launches and prompts the user to install DirectPlay, but this requires a certain combination of services to be active such as the Diagnostic Policy Service which are sometimes disabled by the user.
Force CPU affinity
- Prevents processes from using other CPU cores than the ones allowed, which can work around threading synchronization issues that might exist.
|Provisional solution: Task manager|
|Permanent solution: customized shortcut|
|Permanent solution: flag game executable|
|Windows XP and Server 2003 (x86 only): edit boot configuration file|
|Windows Vista and later (x86 only): edit boot configuration database|
|Force IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE flag in executables|
Shoddy coded applications mess system-wide registry setting
|Edit key ACL|
|Reset DirectShow filters|
|Install the Windows Media Source Filter automatically|
|Install the Windows Media Source Filter manually|
|QuickTime for Windows is no more|
Game files missing after upgrading or refreshing Windows
- Upgrading or refreshing your Windows installation will move some files and folders to a
Windows.oldfolder on the system drive.
|Retrieve files from windows.old|
Non-Unicode applications might not work properly
- This is most commonly an issue with Japanese games and visual novels, and may prevent a game from being installed, launched, or even work properly (may have scrambled text or bugs).
- Locale Emulator/Microsoft AppLocale runs the application with the correct localization without affecting the rest of the operating system.
|Use Locale Emulator|
|Use Microsoft AppLocale|
|Change non-Unicode language system-wide|
IPX protocol deprecated
- IPX was a LAN protocol commonly used with older programs, especially games. Unfortunately it was removed entirely from Vista and later with no indication of returning.
|Try a wrapper|
Try one of the following:
|Copy support files from Windows XP|
What you need: a working installation of Windows XP sp2.
Step 1. Create a new folder c:\temp
Step 2. Copy the following files to the directory c:\temp *and* to the corresponding vista directories: Note: You might need to open up an "elevated" command prompt, "run as administrator", (to get write access to directories).
Windows\System32\drivers\nwlnkipx.sys Windows\System32\drivers\nwlnkflt.sys Windows\System32\drivers\nwlnkfwd.sys Windows\System32\drivers\nwlnknb.sys Windows\System32\drivers\nwlnkspx.sys
Windows\System32\rtipxmib.dll Windows\System32\wshisn.dll Windows\System32\nwprovau.dll
Windows\inf\netnwlnk.inf (*) Windows\inf\netnwlnk.pnf (*)
(*) The directory "inf" is hidden
Step 3. Go to "manage network connection" (in control panel-> network). Right click your LAN adapter connection, click "install", "protocol", "Add", Do not select the IPX that is already in the list, be sure to select "have disk". Navigate to "c:\temp" and select file "netnwlnk.inf", now select "WLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS". You will get a warning it's not verifiable, install anyway (or not..).
If you get an error message about a missing module, you forgot to copy the above files to the windows 7 directories.
Step 4. Reboot computer.
Lowered volume when using background Metro/UWP apps
Microsoft removed the MIDI Mapper
- Over the last versions of Windows, Microsoft have slowly but steadily deprecated the original Microsoft MIDI Mapper of Windows.
|Use the CoolSoft MIDIMapper|
SafeDisc protected games do not work with Windows 10
- This exposes the system to known security vulnerabilities, and can make the system more susceptible to malicious attacks.
Previous versions of Windows included a compatible version of
secdrv.sys for Macrovision SafeDisc DRM; Windows 10 does not, rendering games protected by SafeDisc unplayable. According to a Microsoft representative "Safedisc is not supported on Windows 10" and people will have to wait for Trymedia to come out with an updated kernel driver, something which is impossible as official SafeDisc support was dropped on March 30, 2009. However a workaround is to obtain and install the kernel driver from an older version of Windows, as described below.
|Install SafeDisc drivers from a previous version of Windows|
Microstuttering in Multiplayer games
- The Multimedia Class Scheduler Service has built-in network throttling which can greatly degrade performance of online games.
|Edit the registry|
WiFi background scan causes latency
- WiFi adapters periodically perform background scans to discover additional networks. Unfortunately this induces latency, see here for more info.
Use WLAN Optimizer.
Core parking causes problems with games
|Quick registry hack|
|Quick registry hack (extended, adjustable in power settings)|
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\PowerSettings\54533251-82be-4824-96c1-47b60b740d00\0cc5b647-c1df-4637-891a-dec35c318583] "Attributes"=dword:00000000
Now adjustable in Start -> Control Panel -> Power Options -> 'Change Plan settings' -> 'Change advanced power settings' -> Processor Power Management -> Processor performance core parking min cores; 100% means all are used.
Crashes in some games
|Change Data Execution Prevention setting|
Add a DEP Exception for your game executable. Sometimes reboot needed afterwards.
Stuttering in games on Windows 10 Creators Update 1709 and up
Once the free memory is exhausted, performance takes a big hit - games with heavy caching like BF1 suffer horribly. The only way to fix it previously was restarting the computer (thus clearing the memory), which explains why it was only happening after a while and not on a fresh boot.
Install the bundled games of Windows 7 on newer versions
- While Microsoft haven't made the games bundled with older versions of Windows easily accessible to newer versions of the operating system, it is still possible to download and install these due to efforts from the community to make them compatible with newer versions of Windows.
|Download and install the desired games from this article.|
The package includes the following games from Windows 7:
Install 3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet from Windows XP on newer versions
- Microsoft decided not to port the game to later versions of Windows, but you can still install it for yourself.
|Download the XP Mode file from Microsoft's website and extract the Pinball game from it.|
Speed up loading of web pages in Windows
- Windows ships with the Automatically detect settings feature enabled by default for compatibility reasons to allows automatic configuration of internet connectivity in networks that supports it by using the DNS or DHCP services of said network. This option is not normally relevant for home or small network users as support for this type of automatic configuration is usually only found within corporate or academic networks that relies on some form of proxy to allow users to browse the web. The feature has in some instances been found to add noticeable delays when loading content from the Internet, and users might therefor want to disable it for troubleshooting purposes or permanently if they are connected to a network that does not rely upon it.
- Disabling this feature affects all applications that relies on the internal IE subsystem of Windows, such as Google Chrome, Steam, and more.
Changing default timer resolution
- This only concerns systems where the CPU is the limiting factor, and not the GPU, and can in some cases have a detrimental effect on performance.
|Use TimerTool to set the resolution to the maximum (0.500ms)|
Disabling Spectre and Meltdown patches
Force the use of the motherboard microcode version instead of the one from the OS
- The current microcode update version loaded into the CPU can be loaded either from the motherboard or the operating system (if newer). Because of this, it is on some computers possible to downgrade the microcode version used by the CPU by forcing the use of the version present in the motherboard if said version is older by deleting the microcode version present in the OS.
- Downgrading the microcode version can in some rare cases fix stuttering in some games, such as for Fortnite on Intel i5-4690K (e.g. when the OS microcode is revision 25, and the motherboard microcode is revision 24).
- This is not generally recommended as downgrading the microcode version may result in unwanted consequences or lowered system security. Follow the instructions below at your own risk!
Limiting CPU usage per process
- Can fix freezes due to insufficient threads or CPU in some games on dual-core CPU, such as The Witcher 3, Steel Panthers: World at War, and Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
|Download Battle Encoder Shirase|
|Download Process Lasso|
Set priority class of the game process to high
|Released||Version||OS build||"Friendly name"||Codename|
|October 20, 2020||Windows 10 v20H2||19042||October 2020 Update||20H2|
|May 27, 2020||Windows 10 v2004||19041||May 2020 Update||20H1|
|November 12, 2019||Windows 10 v1909||18363||November 2019 Update||19H2|
|May 21, 2019||Windows 10 v1903||18362||May 2019 Update||19H1|
|November 13, 2018||Windows 10 v1809||17763||October 2018 Update||Redstone 5|
|April 30, 2018||Windows 10 v1803||17134||April 2018 Update||Redstone 4|
|November 17, 2017||Windows 10 v1709||16299||Fall Creators Update||Redstone 3|
|April 5, 2017||Windows 10 v1703||15063||Creators Update||Redstone 2|
|August 2, 2016||Windows 10 v1607||14393||Anniversary Update||Redstone 1|
|November 10, 2015||Windows 10 v1511||10586||November Update||Threshold 2|
|July 29, 2015||Windows 10 v1507||10240||Windows 10||Threshold 1|
- Also known as being version NT 10.0.
|Released||Version||OS build||Release version||Codename|
|October 17, 2013||Windows 8.1||9600||NT 6.3||Blue|
|October 26, 2012||Windows 8||9200||NT 6.2||'8'|
|October 22, 2009||Windows 7||7600||NT 6.1||Windows 7|
|January 30, 2007||Windows Vista||6000||NT 6.0||Longhorn|
|April 25, 2005||Windows XP Professional x64 Edition||3790||NT 5.2||?|
|October 25, 2001||Windows XP||2600||NT 5.1||Whistler|
|September 14, 2000||Windows Me||3000||4.90||Millennium|
|February 16, 2000||Windows 2000||2195||NT 5.0||Windows NT 5.0|
|June 25, 1998||Windows 98||2222 A||4.10||Memphis, ChiCairo|
|August 24, 1996||Windows NT 4.0||1381||NT 4.0||Shell Update Release (SUR)|
|August 24, 1995||Windows 95||950||4.00||Chicago|
|May 30, 1995||Windows NT 3.51||1057||NT 3.51||?|
|September 21, 1994||Windows NT 3.5||807||NT 3.5||Daytona|
|November 22, 1993||Windows 3.2||153||3.2||?|
|November 8, 1993||Windows for Workgroups 3.11||300||3.11||Snowball|
|July 27, 1993||Windows NT 3.1||528||NT 3.1||Razzle|
|April 6, 1992||Windows 3.1||103||3.10||?|
|May 22, 1990||Windows 3.0||?||3.00||?|
|March 13, 1989||Windows 2.11||?||2.11||?|
|May 27, 1988||Windows 2.10||?||2.10||?|
|December 9, 1987||Windows 2.03||?||2.03||?|
|April 10, 1987||Windows 1.04||?||1.04||?|
|August 21, 1986||Windows 1.03||?||1.03||?|
|May 14, 1986||Windows 1.02||?||1.02||?|
|November 20, 1985||Windows 1.0||?||1.01||?|
- There are only 3 major .NET CLR versions that at worst should be needed to be installed.
- Users can run
powercfg /energyin an elevated command line prompt to generate a power efficiency diagnostics report in Windows which will gather data for a minute. After a minute have passed, check the report in
C:\WINDOWS\system32\energy-report.htmlto identify (labeled Platform Timer Resolution:Outstanding Timer Request) which running processes requested a higher resolution and what resolution they requested.
- Frequently Asked Questions About the .NET Framework 1.1 - MSDN (retrieved)
- .NET Framework & Windows OS versions | Microsoft Docs
- .NET Versioning and Multi-Targeting - .NET 4.5 is an in-place upgrade to .NET 4.0 - Scott Hanselman
- Reddit - BUG: DX9/DX11 Games do not enter Independent FLIP mode presentation in builds newer than 1709 in borderless mode. - last accessed on 2020-07-21
- "I ran presentmon and compared borderless games from 1709, and 1803-1903, and it seems all newer builds than 1709 run games in borderless as COPY with GPU GDI"
- Reddit - BUG: DX9/DX11 Games do not enter Independent FLIP mode presentation in builds newer than 1709 in borderless mode. - MSFTJesse (Jesse Natalie @ Microsoft's DirectX team) - last accessed on 2020-07-21
- "FYI, this is by design. There are some behaviors that flip model (a prereq for independent flip) cannot replicate. The fact that they used to get upgraded to flip model in windowed mode (note that from the API point of view, borderless windowed is still just windowed) meant that there was a risk of breaking some games. As we're trying to more broadly enable the use of independent flip for all apps, that risk became unacceptable, so we enabled the promotion to only apply while the games are in fullscreen exclusive mode."
- Verified by User:Aemony on 2018-08-19
- How to fix CS 30 FPS cap after Windows 10 anniversary update! :: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive General Discussions
- Xbox Support - Use Game Mode while gaming on your Windows 10 device - last accessed on 2020-05-09
- "When you use Game Mode, Windows prioritizes your gaming experience. When you’re running a game, Game Mode:
- Prevents Windows Update from performing driver installations and sending restart notifications.
- Helps achieve a more stable frame rate depending on the specific game and system."
- "When you use Game Mode, Windows prioritizes your gaming experience. When you’re running a game, Game Mode:
- Reddit - /r/pcgaming - hamiltonia comments on Does Windows 10 Game Mode still hurt performance? - last accessed on 2020-05-09
- "In these later builds Game Mode is intended to help by removing distractions while playing. In particular it tries to stop Windows Update from updating drivers and stops it from notifying you of non-critical updates. It also causes the CPU to run at a minimum of 100% (on desktop, not laptops) to help reduce CPU fluctuations which may cause performance issues."
- Reddit - /r/pcgaming - hamiltonia comments on Does Windows 10 Game Mode still hurt performance? - last accessed on 2020-05-09
- "In the latest versions of Windows (1809 & 1903) Game Mode no longer does GPU/CPU prioritization. This prioritization was intended to give more resources to the running game at the cost of background processes, but we found it impacted some games and other scenarios. As an example streaming was impacted in apps like OBS because we were starving them of resources needed to encode."
-  Blog entry of memory compression tests
- /3GB (Windows Drivers) - Microsoft Developer Network
- BCDEdit /set (Windows Drivers) - Microsoft Developer Network
- The oft-misunderstood /3GB switch – The Old New Thing
- Kernel address space consequences of the /3GB switch – The Old New Thing
- Windows Vista File and Registry Virtualisation – Richard's Weblog
- Monopoly Tycoon Music Fix | mrpenguinb's blog
- Tomb Raider 6 Modding Thread - www.tombraiderforums.com
- Retrieve files from the Windows.old folder - Microsoft Windows Help
- Change the system locale - Windows Help
- Microsoft Community Forums :: Age of Mythology - Windows 10
- SafeDisc End-of-Life Notice - Trymedia - Wayback Machine - last accessed on 2018-07-26
- Verified by User:KyoriAsh on 2018-07-19
- Microsoft Community - SECDRV.SYS Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of older games. - replies by EricSoAndSo - last accessed on 2019-04-18
- How-To Geek - Why Microsoft Dropped 3D Pinball From Windows (and How to Bring It Back)
- Reddit Gaming Subreddit - Make Big Picture Quicker
- Microsoft Docs - timeBeginPeriod function - last accessed on 2019-05-31
- Random ASCII - Windows Timer Resolution: Megawatts Wasted - last accessed on 2019-05-31
- Verified by User:Aemony on 2019-05-31
- Understanding the performance impact of Spectre and Meltdown mitigations on Windows Systems - Microsoft Security - last accessed on 2020-09-15
- Benchmarks for all the security patches and microcode updates on a Skylake 6700K : hardware - last accessed on 2020-09-15
- Protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities in Windows client copy - last accessed on 2020-09-15
- Updating microcodes guide