Windows 11 gets free speed boost with latest update

Windows 11 File Explorer on a PC in an office
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Windows 11 has finally cured all of the serious problems with drive slowdown that have been plaguing some users for a good while now, according to a new report.

While these issues were supposedly fixed with the December cumulative update for Windows 11, as we reported at the time, even after that patch went out, some folks were still complaining about drive sluggishness.

However, Windows Latest reports that with the latest preview patch for Windows 11 – namely KB5008353 – the full fix is delivered, and all users should be happy, according to its own testing and other anecdotal evidence online. In the update notes, Microsoft states that it: “Addresses a performance regression issue that occurs when you enable the update sequence number (USN) journal.”

The USN journal is a log of changes to files on your drive, and so it could be tied into any remaining performance issues. A Reddit user speculates that this particular tweak is the key point, and observes: “I installed KB5008353 and my OS drive NVME random write speeds are almost 3.5x faster.”

Another user on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub stated: “Not only on NVME, even my SATA SSD is faster now. Earlier Windows 11 used to boot up slower than Windows 10.”

A further major issue whereby the colors on some HDR monitors were getting messed up has also been fixed with this patch.

Microsoft says the update addresses a “known issue that might prevent some image editing programs from rendering colors correctly on certain high dynamic range (HDR) displays.”

So, no more white looking like it’s yellow, or other visual glitches which could be seriously annoying in image editing apps.

KB5008353 is in testing right now, as a preview update, but will get its full release as the cumulative update for February (next week, in fact).

Analysis: A ‘drastic’ uplift in system performance all round

Obviously it’s a relief to see the drive speed bug finally addressed for good – we hope, anyway – because this can cut performance in half and has been a serious problem for some users. The cure for misbehaving colors on HDR monitors is also very welcome, of course, and that fix has come pretty quickly.

On the other hand, the wait for the drive performance issue to be remedied has been way too long, and it’s disappointing that the apparent cure from December 2021 seemingly didn’t work fully.

There are a bunch of important fixes in this preview update, in fact, and as well as those two major ones, there are solutions for some problems with File Explorer, including a fix for “some issues that affect File Explorer’s performance when you browse for files and select files,” and a “reliability issue that causes File Explorer and desktop context menus to stop working.”

A Reddit user in the above mentioned thread clarifies: “No more slight delays in opening context menus! Basically no more delays in anything. Even the start menu opens up instantly. This was one minor thing annoying me about W11, but now I think I’m finally content with 11.”

Another Redditor agrees: “There are multiple reports from Insiders that this update is a drastic increase in system responsiveness, I just installed it, can confirm that too.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).