Windows 11: up to 30% less performance, a security function involved – Frandroid

The launch of Windows 11 is imminent and testing has begun. A security function is called into question by several benchmarks: the drop in performance would go up to 30%.

Xbox app on Windows

The Xbox app on a Windows PC // Source: Microsoft Xbox

The output of Windows 11 is the right opportunity to test the new system with its predecessor to answer the question: should you update your machine? Thanks to several changes made by Microsoft, the performance of the new system should be up, especially on modern machines. However, in fact, several tech players have observed a drop in performance, and not the least.

Up to -30% in-game performance

Three players confirmed the drop in performance using their own methods. First the firm UL Benchmark, publisher of 3DMark and PCMark software in particular, which noted a drop in performance confirmed by the Computer Base and PC Gamer sites with more precise measurements. On the Shadow of The Tomb Raider game, PC Gamer saw a 28% drop in performance, from 107 frames per second on average to 77.

Same observation on the game Horizon Zero Dawn which goes from 87 images per second on average to 65 images per second.

The three sources implicate the same function: VBS, or Virtualization-based Security. In French: security based on virtualization.

A security function sometimes activated by default

VBS is a security feature developed for Windows 10 that allows CPU capabilities to be used in virtualization to isolate a portion of RAM from normal operation of the operating system. This isolated part will thus be protected from vulnerabilities. Microsoft uses this method to create a secure session where the user’s authentication data will be stored in the isolated part of memory. This also makes it possible to verify the legitimacy of the code to be executed, in particular when it comes to programs affecting the Windows kernel such as certain drivers. If any of this software were to be malware, it would not be able to access this isolated part.

The VBS function can in particular be activated by default by PC manufacturers when they market a machine for Windows 11 to reinforce security. On PCs updated from Windows 10, VBS should be disabled by default. Gaming PC manufacturers may decide to disable this feature, which is not required by Microsoft, to ensure high performance.

A not so easy to activate and deactivate option

As we said, VBS is an optional function. In principle, it is possible to activate or deactivate it at any time. To check its status, you have to take a tour of the Windows “system information” application and check the “virtualization-based security” line to see if the function is “running” or not.

Unfortunately, its activation or deactivation is not a simple option. In principle, the setting is in “Windows security” then “Device security” and finally “Kernel isolation”, but in our case, the options were disabled on this window while VBS was enabled. According to PC Gamer, you have to go through the registry editor and change settings in the BIOS. Methods that are not recommended to say the least, unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Hopefully Microsoft will soon come up with a more reliable method to leave this setting up to the user. The VBS feature looks great on paper and we had no trouble playing machine video games with the VBS enabled. It is therefore not necessarily necessary to deactivate it, but the choice should be left more easily.

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