Windows 10 has been suffering from a persistent bug affecting the performance of games in recent times, and after a couple of failed fixes, Microsoft has finally rolled out what will hopefully be a definitive solution – albeit still in testing.
The new patch KB5004296 is a preview update, so it’s currently optional, and you may want to wait until next month when the final (and fully tested) version is deployed as part of Microsoft’s monthly cumulative update for August. That said, if you’re a really frustrated gamer, you might want to get this potential fix sooner rather than later.
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If so, you’ll need to manually hunt for it, and check for updates under Windows Updates (in Settings), where you will find it marked as an ‘optional quality update’. It’s available for affected versions of Windows 10 which are the last three releases (the current 21H1, along with last year’s 20H2 and 20H1).
The gaming-related bug in question can cause stuttering and frame rate issues, so basically interferes with smooth gameplay and is pretty distracting for those who are hit by the problem – a minority of Windows 10 users according to Microsoft.
The KB5004296 patch notes (opens in new tab) state that it: “Updates an issue that prevents power plans and Game Mode from working as expected. This results in lower frame rates and reduced performance while gaming.”
There are a couple of other fixes provided for gamers, too, including the cure for overly loud sound effects being produced when using a game controller, and an “issue that prevents gaming services from opening certain games for desktop users”.
Analysis: Microsoft must do better
There’s quite a history to this frame rate disrupting bug, which is becoming one of those sad Windows 10 sagas of fixes on top of fixes failing to perform. The gremlin first struck in mid-April with the KB5001330 update (although it was actually present in KB5000842, the previous preview patch). Microsoft responded with a server-side fix later in April.
That didn’t do the trick, or was just some kind of stopgap measure, as a June cumulative update, KB5003690, then arrived to tackle the issue. That one was a preview update, and it was followed by the full fix which was delivered in July’s big patch (KB5004237). However, this solution did not work, as we soon discovered.
So, technically this is Microsoft’s third crack at this particular nut, and with any luck the fix will actually stick this time. If not, and we need another correction, that’s going to look bad, as this is certainly not the first time we’ve seen a serious glitch persist for months with multiple attempts to right it going, er, wrong. While the bug may only affect a small subset of Windows 10 users, you can guarantee that for this minority, the past few months have been a pretty frustrating time.
We’ve said it before, and here’s hoping we won’t have to keep saying it: Microsoft needs to do better with testing and quality assurance, and we can but cross our fingers that Windows 11 may bring some changes on this front.
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Via Windows Latest (opens in new tab)