Windows 11 currently has a new test build (opens in new tab) that brings a slew of new features such as a redesigned Task Manager and new Start menu folders. The build also has improvements for PC games. This includes Xbox HDR calibration and the ability to play older games in windowed mode with features like Auto HDR, Variable Refresh Rate and with less input lag.
The Windows HDR Calibration app will let PC gamers improve color accuracy and consistency on their HDR displays. This is a feature that’s standard on Xbox Series X. Three test patterns let you calibrate HDR to your liking. Microsoft said that its Insider Program users may see an early access point in HDR settings in this build but that the app isn’t live at the moment, though users will be able to try it out before its official launch.
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As The Verge (opens in new tab) points out, Windows 11 came with the Auto HDR feature from Xbox Series X/S but Microsoft is now making optimizations for windowed games to allow them to support Auto HDR and VRR. Microsoft also says that these optimizations will “significantly improve latency” for older titles running in windows mode.
This is significant because, previously, you had to run older DirectX 10 and Directx 11 games in fullscreen in order to get the aforementioned performance and latency features. DirectX 12 games already take advantage of the new presentation mode, according to Hanna Fisher (opens in new tab), who is a program manager in Microsoft’s graphics and DirectX team.
It’s great to see older PC games benefiting from these new features, especially in windowed mode. This will, at the very least, provide a more consistent experience whether you’re playing classics or modern titles. Issues may arise, however, and Microsoft is letting you opt into these optimizations. If a specific game isn’t playing nice with the new optimizations, you can simply exclude it.
These optimization features are currently only available to Windows Insider Program users and may not see public release for some time. Still, it’ll be interesting to see these features in action when they inevitably begin rolling out to all Windows 11 users.
Another upgrade that could make it to the general Windows 11 release is tabs for the File Explorer; we've been waiting for this!