You don’t have to be a power user to check your computer’s performance in Windows 10. Microsoft has provided some straightforward tools that can give you insights into how your computer is doing as well as the likely source of any slowdowns you’re noticing. They also have numerous tips to improve your Windows 10 performance if it is lacking.
If you’ve been a Windows user for long, you probably know about Task Manager, which can be a useful tool to analyze which programs are using what resources. However, in recent iterations, Microsoft has made Task Manager less useful for actually understanding where your resources are going. You probably still use it for killing unresponsive apps, but that might be it.
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Xbox Game Bar Gives Excellent Windows 10 Performance Metrics
If you’re looking for how to check computer performance Windows 10 gives you some new tools to do so. In this short explainer, we’re covering Xbox Game Bar’s computer performance widget. This tool was created for gamers and streamers to give them an easy way to capture gaming footage, but its business applications are impressive as well.
In another recent post, we covered how to create simple screen recordings using Xbox Game Bar, so be sure to check out that post if you haven’t yet. Today, we’re focusing exclusively on the Performance tab.
How to Launch Xbox Game Bar
There are two ways to launch Xbox Game Bar. You can search for it in the task bar (“game bar” will work), or you can use a keyboard shortcut: Windows Key + G. Either method will bring up an overlay on your screen.
You can ignore the capture, audio and Xbox Social widgets for now: All you need currently is the Performance widget.
Understanding the Performance Widget
The Performance widget shows you exactly how your computer is diverting energy and shows where performance may be lagging or falling behind. You’ll see metrics for your computer’s CPU, GPU, RAM and FPS.
FPS is frames per second, which probably doesn’t matter to you if you’re only doing basic business tasks. But the other three categories matter a great deal in terms of Windows 10 performance.
Windows 10 Performance: CPU
The CPU, or central processing unit, is both the heart and brains of your computer. It’s the primary chipset that does all the basic computations necessary to run applications. The faster and more powerful your CPU, the more you can do and the faster you can do it.
If you’re seeing a very high percentage under CPU Performance, that means your CPU is nearing its maximum processing capacity. Closing apps that you aren’t using can cut down on background CPU usage.
Also, sometimes an app will malfunction in a way that takes up an inordinate amount of CPU performance. You may need to kill and restart an app in that situation.
If you’re running the bare minimum of applications to do your work and are still maxing out your CPU performance, then you likely need to upgrade your computer.
Windows 10 Performance: GPU
The CPU handles all the basic computing tasks, but there’s one important exception: graphics-intensive tasks. Your computer has a GPU, or graphics processing unit, that’s custom-designed to handle graphics processes. Some computers have a dedicated GPU, while others use a (cheaper and less powerful) integrated GPU.
If you’re running graphics-intensive software, expect GPU performance to run high. Again, if you’re unable to complete necessary tasks well and you see your GPU performance pushed to the max, you may need an upgrade.
Windows 10 Performance: RAM
RAM, or random access memory, is like your computer’s short-term memory. Everything that your PC needs to access regularly and quickly will get loaded into RAM rather than read off your hard drive.
Modern applications and operating systems can be quite RAM-intensive, but when your computer runs low on available RAM, performance takes a serious hit.
If you’re short on available RAM, kill or restart any applications that are using a large portion. Google Chrome is a great browser, but it eats RAM like candy — especially if it’s been running for a while. Simply restarting the browser can cut down its RAM usage significantly.
With all three, restarting your computer can give you a fresh start. After a restart, open only needed applications and then run the Performance widget. This will give you a sort of baseline of how heavily taxed your computer’s resources are under normal operating conditions.
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