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Security feature slows Windows 11 down noticeably in some cases

VBS and HVCI can improve Windows 11 security. However, performance drops in games are to be expected.

Windows 11 will natively support VBS, Virtualization Based Technology, and HVCI, Hypervisor-Protected Code Integrity. Some prefabricated PC systems from third-party providers are even supposed to leave the technologies switched on at Microsoft’s recommendation. This makes sense in theory, as it increases the security and integrity of the computers sold. However, some of the techniques have a noticeable effect on performance in games.

This is the result of some benchmarks made by various editors such as sency news. The game magazine initially assumed that VBS alone would be responsible for the lower performance. Later, Computerbase also tested the behavior on a test system with Geforce RTX 3080 Ti and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X. There it becomes clear that only when the HVCI is switched on can really big differences be felt.

These range from a few frames in Doom Eternal to enormous drops in the racing game F1 2020. Here, 188.5 fps were measured with activated VBS and HVCI. With the security features switched off, it is 237.2 fps – 26 percent more.

Differences can also be quickly identified in the synthetic benchmark 3DMark Time Spy: 7,000 points are possible with activated VBS and HVCI. The native score is 9,266 points – 32 percent more. It should be noted that Time Spy is generally not yet optimized for Windows 11 and achieves better results under Windows 10.

Security or performance

The application performance does not seem to be noticeably affected by HVCI and VBS. So only gaming systems have to expect noticeable drops ex-works. The same applies to the loading of files on the mass storage device: Here Computerbase measures differences of sometimes 10 percent.

VBS and HVCI can be useful security functions. The former creates an isolated area on the main memory of the host system in order to run critical software (such as security programs) in it. HVCI – also Memory Integrity in the Windows Security App – controls, for example, whether processes classified as trustworthy by Windows can also present a valid certificate.

OEMs in particular will probably preset the functions at the factory. Homemade gaming PCs are unlikely to be affected as much. HVCI and VBS can also be switched on and off.