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PC Game Performance Can Drop With Windows 11 22H2, Microsoft Warns

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(Photo: PCMag)
Back in September, Microsoft began to send the first big Windows 11 update of the year to users via a slow rollout. Dubbed 22H2, it is sort of like the Service Packs of yore, offering a ton of patches and new features. But despite its promise, it’s been a rocky launch as users began to report BSODs and issues with Nvidia GPUs. Now Microsoft is warning gamers about the update, saying it can cause “unexpected” performance in some games and gaming-related apps. As a result of this situation, Microsoft is pausing the rollout until it can bundle a fix into the next update.

In a new blog post titled “Lower than expected performance in some games,” Microsoft says that “some games and apps might experience lower than expected performance or stuttering on Windows 11, version 22H2.” The actual reason cited is bizarre: “Affected games and apps are inadvertently enabling GPU performance debugging features not meant to be used by consumers.” This confirms what Nvidia said was the reason back in September. Microsoft doesn’t say which games are affected by the bug, but we imagine if you’re experiencing it you’d know. While Microsoft figures this out, it’s placed a “compatibility hold” on the update. So if you haven’t already seen it as available for your system, you won’t until it’s fixed. Redmond is also warning users to not do a manual upgrade to 22H2 with its Media Creation Tool.

Tabbed Explorer windows are one of the banner features of the 22H2 update for Windows 11. (Image: Microsoft)

If you have already installed it and are experiencing the bug, Microsoft says to “update your games and gaming-related apps.” Thankfully, these days those updates usually happen automatically through Steam, EGS, and related gaming hubs. For its part, Nvidia has already addressed the issue with an update to GeForce Experience. The latest 3.26 version has the fix bundled with it, so grab it now if you’re an Nvidia user.

This seems like a pretty big stumble for Microsoft. It was previously reported that Microsoft was seeing this issue when it was testing the update with Insiders but released it anyway. Now it’s taken the company over a month to respond to complaints about game performance. Although it’s great it’s figured out the issue, the fact that it took this long is worrying. Plus, it says it has no timeline for when a fix will be available. That’s a pretty bad spot to be in when it comes to the biggest update of the year for your newest operating system.

We suppose if there’s any solace for Microsoft here, it’s that hardly anyone is using Windows 11. According to Statcounter, only 15 percent of Windows users are on 11. The vast majority — 71 percent — are still on Windows 10. Still, it’s not a good look when Microsoft is billing Windows 11 as the best OS for gaming.

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