Why Gamers Shouldn't Disable VBS in Windows

Gamers have been striving to get the best performance from their computer games since the beginning of the hobby. Many people are now turning to the internet to try to find ways to increase their FPS (frames per second) and get a smoother gaming experience. Since Windows 11 we have seen a new "fix" for gaming performance: it is recommended to disable VBS.

While disabling performance-demanding settings in Windows is nothing new, not all the settings someone on the internet tells you to disable are actually things you should delete. In fact, you shouldn't disable VBS because this feature helps protect the core functionality of your computer, and disabling it won't actually bring much performance gain.

What is VBS?

VBS stands for Virtualization-Based Security. It essentially uses hardware virtualization to create an isolated environment for the root of the operating system. The purpose of this is to help prevent the kernel (one of the most important parts of your PC) from being compromised if you accidentally download a virus or malware.

One of the main ways VBS helps protect your computer is with a solution called Memory Integrity. This feature essentially isolates Windows' running and kernel code from the environment to ensure it is safe and legal. This prevents unsigned and untrusted drivers from changing the core of your PC, protecting you from bad actors.

Since it plays such an important role in protecting the core of your PC, you shouldn't mess with VBS as turning it off could expose your computer to malware and viruses.

How to check if VBS is enabled

Unfortunately, not all Windows 11 computers have VBS enabled by default. Users upgrading unsupported PCs to Windows 11 will most likely see VBS disabled by default, as VBS needs to meet certain requirements in order to be enabled. Most newer PCs should meet all of these requirements, which is why some older PCs may not have VBS, even though VBS actually predates Windows 11. (This is why VBS is so relevant to Windows 11). You can learn more about VBS requirements by checking out Microsoft's in-depth article. Note that these requirements are quite technical in terms, so understanding them can be a bit difficult if you don't have a working knowledge of the underlying systems your computer needs to run and stay 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 functions and features currently running on the system. Look for the line that says Virtualization-based security .

Another way to easily check if VBS is enabled is to search for "Core Isolation" from the Start menu. From here, check whether the memory integrity feature is on or off. If turned on, memory integrity and VBS are enabled, providing additional protection for your PC. If you really want to disable it, you can turn it off to turn off VBS and remove the extra layer of security.

Is it worth disabling VBS to improve performance?

Not really. VBS provides a great deal of additional protection, and in most cases the performance increase for Windows and applications will not exceed 5%. Some users report a 15% improvement in performance after disabling the feature, although your experience may vary.

However, as I pointed out above, VBS is a very important security feature. Unless you know a lot about browsing the internet, I recommend leaving it on for extra protection. If you're having trouble with performance, you can try the following tips to help improve your game's performance before disabling VBS:

  • Free up storage space : If you're using a solid-state drive, it's always a good idea to empty the drive that contains the operating system as much as possible. This is because the fuller the SSD is, the slower it actually becomes. Therefore, I recommend keeping your operating system and any important applications separate from other stuff, such as games and applications that you don't need directly on the main drive. If you have too many apps or games installed on your main drive, try removing some of them and see if that makes your performance better.

  • Disable startup applications : If your main performance issues occur at startup, then you can try disabling applications that automatically launch when you turn on your PC. Many apps have a "Start at Login" option, and while you can disable them individually within the app, the easiest way is to open Task Manager using Control+Alt+Delete , find the Start Apps page, and then disable them if possible Many settings are disabled.

  • Disable Xbox Game Bar : Ever since Microsoft started mixing Xbox and Windows together to build its gaming ecosystem, the Xbox Game Bar has caused problems. This service, sometimes called Game DVR, allows you to record gameplay clips and capture screenshots. This all sounds convenient, but it can also cause some performance issues. To disable it, navigate to Games > Game Bar and turn off the feature. If you can't disable it this way, you can also disable it in the registry as per this forum post, but this requires a little more knowledge of the inner workings of your computer. Do not make registry edits if you are not sure what you are doing, as such edits may damage your PC's operating system.

  • Lower gaming settings : Of course, the least pleasant answer to improving PC gaming performance is to lower some of the more intensive settings. While they may make your game look beautiful, a lot of games aren't as optimized as you'd like, especially given all the cool technological advancements we have now. Try lowering heavy settings like shadows and post-processing, as they can often bog down your system depending on how the developer optimized them. In many cases, you may not even notice the visual degradation, but the game's performance will be significantly improved.