Why Gamers Shouldn’t Bother Disabling VBS in Windows


Gamers have been trying to get the best performance out of their PC games since the dawn of the hobby. Many now turning to the internet to try to find ways to improve their FPS (frames per second) and get a smoother gaming experience. Since Windows 11, we’ve seen a new “fix” popping up for gaming performance: a recommendation to disable VBS.

While the prospect of disabling performance-hungry settings in Windows isn’t exactly a new one, not every setting someone on the internet tells you to disable is actually something you should cut. In fact, you shouldn’t disable VBS, as this feature helps protect your computer’s core functionality, and disabling it doesn’t actually offer that much of a bump in performance.

What is VBS?

VBS stands for virtualization-based security. It essentially uses hardware virtualization to create an isolated environment for the root of your operating system. This is designed to help keep the kernel—one of the most important parts of your PC—from being compromised should you accidentally download a virus or malware.

One of the main ways VBS helps protect your computer is by using a solution called memory integrity. This feature essentially causes Windows to run and kernel code with the isolated environment to ensure that it is secure and legitimate. This keeps unsigned and untrusted drivers from being able to change the very core of your PC, thus protecting you from bad actors.

Because it plays such an important part in protecting the core of your PC, you shouldn’t mess with VBS, as turning it off could open your computer up to attacks from malware and viruses.

How to check if VBS is enabled

Unfortunately, not all Windows 11 PCs will have VBS enabled by default. Users who upgraded unsupported PCs to Windows 11 are the most likely to see VBS disabled by default, as VBS has certain requirements that need to be met before it can be enabled. Most newer PCs should meet all of these requirements, which is why some older PCs might not have VBS even though VBS actually predates Windows 11. (That’s also why VBS is so associated with Windows 11). You can learn a bit more about the requirements for VBS by checking out Microsoft’s in-depth writeup. Note that the requirements are very heavy in technical jargon, so it might be a bit difficult to understand them if you don’t have a working knowledge of the foundational systems that computers require to run and remain secure.

To check if VBS is enabled on your PC, pull up the Start Menu and search for System Information. This will open a new window with a long list of different functionality and features that your system is currently running. Look for the line that reads Virtualization-based security.

Another way to easily check if VBS is enabled is to search Core Isolation from your Start Menu. From here, check if the Memory integrity function is toggled on or off. If it is on, then memory integrity and VBS are enabled, giving your PC a bit more protection. If you really do want to disable it, you can toggle this off to turn off VBS and remove that extra layer of security.

Is it worth disabling VBS to improve performance?

Not really. VBS offers a good deal of extra protection, and in most cases, you’re not going to see more than a five percent increase in performance across Windows and apps. Some users have reported up to 15 percent increases in performance when disabling the feature, although your mileage may vary.

However, as I noted above, VBS is a really important security feature. Unless you’re very smart about how you browse the internet, I recommend leaving it on for extra protection. If you are struggling with performance, then you can try these tips to help improve gaming performance before disabling VBS:

  • Free up storage space: If you’re using a solid state drive, then keeping the drive with your operating system on it as empty as possible is always a good idea. That’s because SSDs can actually slow down the more full they are. Because of this, I recommend keeping your OS and any important apps separated from other things, like games and apps you don’t need directly on your primary drive. If you do have too many apps or games installed on your primary drive, try deleting some of them to see if that makes your performance any better.

  • Disable startup apps: If your main performance issues are happening at startup, then you can try disabling apps that automatically start when you turn on your PC. A lot of apps have a “launch at login” option, and while you can disable them individually in the apps, the easiest way to do this is to open the Task Manager with Control + Alt + Delete, find the Startup Apps page, and set as many as you can to disabled.

  • Disable Xbox Game Bar: Ever since Microsoft started blending Xbox and Windows together for its gaming ecosystem, the Xbox Game Bar has caused issues. Sometimes referred to as Game DVR, this service allows you to record game clips and capture screenshots. That all sounds handy, but it can also cause some performance issues. To disable it, navigate to Gaming > Game Bar and toggle the feature off. If you aren’t able to disable it this way, you can also disable it in the Registry by following this forum post, though that requires a bit more knowledge of your PC’s inner workings. Do not make registry edits if you are not confident that you know what you are doing, as these kinds of edits can break your PC’s operating system.

  • Lower game settings: Of course, the least enjoyable answer to improving PC performance in games is to lower some of the more intensive settings. While they might make your games look pretty, a lot of games just aren’t as well optimized as you might hope they would be, especially with all the cool tech advancements we have these days. Try lowering heavy settings like shadows and post-processing, as they can often bog your system down depending on how the developer optimized for them. In many cases, you might not even notice a visual downgrade, but the performance of your game will increase drastically.


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