Microsoft details Windows 11 performance gains it delivered, reiterating it as most reliable

Windows 11 logo with app icons floating on the background

Microsoft recently released the latest feature update for Windows 11 version 22H2 dubbed Moment 3. Almost simultaneously, a special configuration update via the Controlled Feature rollout (CFR) was also quietly published by the tech giant.

A few days after, Microsoft also released a list of performance-related enhancements that it made throughout the year to "more than one billion users worldwide". It is essentially a rundown of what changes were introduced over the past year on Insider channels that have now made their way to the Moment 3 feature.

Microsoft's Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay had once reminded people that its latest OS was all about quality; and once again, the firm has reminded users that Windows 11 is the "most reliable version of Windows ever" in the list of highlights. The blog post says:

Among the highlights from the last year:

  • We improved frequently used shell interactions like Taskbar, Notifications, and Quick Settings by as much as 15%!
  • Getting users into productivity faster by improving the time it takes to get to the desktop by 10% and reducing the impact of startup apps by over 50%.
  • Making PCs more sustainable with our new Energy Recommendations and Carbon-Aware Windows Update. We see a 6% average reduction in energy consumption for the users who use the recommended energy settings
  • Windows 11 is the most reliable version of Windows ever, with recent updates continuing to improve reliability.
  • Microsoft Edge starts up faster than ever before and saves memory with features like Sleeping Tabs, which saves up to 83% of memory for background tabs.
  • The new Teams app for Windows is 2x faster while using half the resources.

Among the improvements, Microsoft has detailed the enhancements made to startup apps on Windows 11 which can lead to over 50% lesser impact on the system resources. As you can see in the graphic below, the "User initiated app" is able to launch much sooner in the "After" section, whereas, in the "Before" part, it had to wait for the Startup App 4 to initiate.

Windows 11 app startup performance boost in post boot situation

Microsoft has also detailed File Explorer improvements wherein there is up to a 67% reduction in deletion time for bulk files. The average reduction time seems to be around ~40%.

Windows 11 File explorer improvement

There are also improvements to gaming. Microsoft says that high report mouse stuttering issues are greatly reduced. It explains:

The Windows input stack was being pushed to its limits with high report rate mice and their input being delivered to not just the game, but also multiple background processes. In turn, that caused a significant amount of time processing input rather than providing as many cycles as possible for rendering the game experience.

We set out to reduce the amount of processing time it took to handle input requests by throttling and coalescing background raw mouse listeners and capping their message rate. Prior to these changes, we observed on a Surface Laptop Studio with a 1000 Hz mouse, a test bed of background listeners, and popular games that there was significant stutter. After the improvements, on the same setup, we now deliver a smooth, uninterrupted gaming experience and preserve the low latency, high precision input experience in games while being efficient with input for background listeners!

The company has provided a list that summarizes all the improvements made:

While the examples above highlight some of the improvements in the February and May updates, there are many other improvements available today, including:

  • Taskbar improvements to ensure Taskbar is readily available after logging in
  • Task View performance improvements when devices are under heavy load
  • Improved performance of Windows Notification Service
  • Improved launch time of Quick Settings and Notification Center
  • Reduced threads, dlls, and graphics device count in Explorer
  • Reduced CPU usage of explorer
  • Reduced memory usage of Notification Center
  • Touch keyboard performance improvements
  • Resource usage reductions in multi-user scenarios
  • Reduced voice access and Narrator latency in larger documents
  • Improved voice typing activation time
  • Improved speed of theme changes
  • Reduced size on disk by leveraging features-on-demand via the Store

For developers, there is a lot coming in the May release too. Some highlights that intersect fundamentals:

  • New enhanced kernel minidump format for better debugging
  • Live kernel dumps can now be collected directly via Task Manager
  • New richer, more actionable third-party reliability data views in Partner Center
  • Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA) is now supported and available on Arm devices

You will find more details on the Microsoft blog post linked here.

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