Windows 11: New update costs performance

Microsoft has decided to enable a performance-reducing security feature in Windows 11 by default in the latest Windows 11 update.

Microsoft has enabled performance-reducing protection mechanisms by default in its latest update for Windows 11 (22H2). However, the Redmond company says that progress has been made in reducing the performance losses, as our sister portal PC-World also reports.

In detail, it is about the function of the core insulation under the point “memory integrity”. This is intended to prevent attackers from injecting malicious code into secure processes. This change in Windows 11 security policies has already resulted in a small but significant performance loss in previous tests by PC-World and Tom’s Hardware.

What is core insulation?

In Windows 10 and 11, supported hardware uses a form of virtualization to protect the operating system and PC from malicious code by isolating certain processes in the PC’s memory. Certain hardware features are required to enable this feature, including motherboards and CPUs that support TPM 2.0. The increased priority given to security has in part led Microsoft to require PCs with processors that support these features as a prerequisite for Windows 11. However, core isolation has been supported for several generations of processors, although PCs have not necessarily taken advantage of it.


Windows 10/11 – what is TPM and what do I need for it?

As PC-World reports, the function is only activated if you have not previously deactivated it yourself. An exception is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, here this function cannot be deactivated.

How does this affect your PC?

Microsoft has thus decided to better protect PCs and users at the expense of a reduction in performance. At the time, PC-World’s tests focused on the impact on overall productivity – turning on the feature resulted in a performance drop of around 5 percent on 6th Gen Intel processors. The PCMark tests, which measure general productivity, turned out worse. A drop in performance of more than 10 percent was measured with old 6th generation Intel Core CPUs.

When it comes to gaming, however, Tom’s Hardware found that even newer processors like the Core i7-11700K experience a 7 percent drop in performance in popular games like Red Dead Redemption 2 — roughly the equivalent of an entire processor generation’s performance. This is quite significant, especially for systems that are already on the edge of playable frame rates.

However, both tests were conducted in October 2021, about a year ago. Microsoft assumes that at least some of these performance losses could be compensated for by the development work since then. At what time? We do not know that, yet.

Should I leave the feature enabled?

If you’re an average PC user, Microsoft’s decision will likely stand you in good stead. However, gamers should consider disabling this feature while gaming or using Windows 10 instead. Because Microsoft will support Windows 10 for a few more years.

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