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How To Disable Visual Effects in Windows 11 (Boost Speed)

Windows has always been evolving with time. One of the most recent changes in Windows is the new UI enhancements. One of these UI enhancements is visual effects and animations. It provides an eye-catching view on your desktop and makes your desktop feel more alive with animations, graphics, and videos.

The visual effects mainly include drop shadows, smooth edges, transparency effects (also called Glassmorphism UI effect), smoother transitions, animations, etc.

visual effects in windows 11
Visual Effects in Windows

It appears you want to disable visual effects to boost the performance of your device, or you are finding the new User Interface of Windows 11 overwhelming. By the end of this article, you will be able to understand and perform the following functions:

Step 1: In the Start menu, search for “View Advanced System Settings” (without quotation marks) and hit the enter key.

Step 2: The “System Properties” panel will appear in form of a popup. Now, select the “Settings” option in the Performance section.

settings button in performance section in advanced system settings in windows
Settings Button

Step 3: The “Performance Options” panel window will appear. Now, select the “Adjust for best performance” option or manually uncheck the checkbox to disable visual effects.

uncheck the boxes and select adjust for best performance option to disable visual effects in windows 11
Disable Visual Effects

Note: Depending on your preferences, you can adjust the visual effects in Windows. The uses of different visual effects and animations are listed below to help you understand what each effect performs, so, it’ll be easier for you to configure the settings.

  • Animate Controls and elements inside Windows – These are the animations inside the file or folder, which include fade effect, pulsating effect, taskbar animations, and start menu slide-up animation.
  • Animate Windows when minimizing and maximizing – When you press the restore button on the top-right side of the window, you will notice some animation taking place while the window is being minimized or maximized.
  • Animations in taskbar – These are micro-animations and micro-interactions taking place inside the taskbar while hovering and pressing the icons.
  • Enable Peek – This feature allows you to get a preview of the windows on your taskbar, making it easier to filter through the numerous windows you use on a regular basis.
  • Fade or Slide Menus into view – This includes fading and sliding effects taking place inside the whole Windows.
  • Fade or slide ToolTips into view – When you hover your cursor over a file, folder, or app in Windows, the name of the object appears and a tiny sliding effect appears to reveal the file name.
  • Fade out menu items after clicking – It’s pretty self-explanatory, when you click the menu items, you will notice a fade-out effect.
  • Save Taskbar Thumbnail Previews – When you hover over an icon on the taskbar of opened items, it will show an instant thumbnail preview of the opened tab.
  • Show Shadows under Mouse Pointer – These are the shadows visible under the cursor.
  • Show Shadows under Windows – These involve the shadows under an opened in-view window.
  • Show Thumbnails instead of icons – When you look at an image in Windows, you’ll see a thumbnail instead of the Image File App.
  • Show Translucent selection rectangle – It’s the box that appears when you press and hold the left mouse button, then moves it over items to choose them when you let go of the button.
  • Show window contents while dragging – When you drag the Window, you’ll see that the content is also dragged. If this option is disabled, you will see an outline being moved.
  • Slide-open combo boxes – The combo box is similar to a drop-down box on Windows. When you click the down arrow in the address bar, you will notice a sliding animation.
  • Smooth edges of screen fonts – When this feature is enabled, you will see smoother edges of Fonts, by default, Microsoft Windows uses Segoe UI Variable font.
  • Smooth-scroll list boxes – When smooth scrolling is turned on, a row is scrolled completely, and partial scrolling, if turned off.
  • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop – Under the Icon Label (that is the text below an icon), you will observe shadows behind the text.

Performance Impacts

The Visual Effects in Windows make use of graphic card and CPU to render the graphics including shadows, transparency effects (also called Glassmorphism effect), smooth edges, etc. So disabling the visuals will lower the GPU usage and increase the device’s performance, especially while rendering in low-end GPU. For a computer, an images and other visuals are just matrices and the GPU is way faster than the CPU in performing operations on matrices.

But, in Microsoft’s Q&A session, they stated that enabling or disabling Visual Effects in Windows 11 will not impact performance. As per Microsoft, Mica transparency (which is a part of the Microsoft Fluent Design System) was specifically designed for better performance as compared to the old Acrylic design. Also, the effects such as rounded corners are optimized for rendering performance.

It’s a bit contradictory statement by Microsoft because the “Adjust for best performance” option is still available when we access the performance options panel. If visuals don’t affect performance, then there should be no need for this option.

Reduced Cognitive Load

Some users might feel cognitive overload and distractions due to excessive visual effects in Windows 11. There can be plenty of reasons for cognitive overload in Windows (varying from person to person) including Too many options provided to the user (Hick’s Law), Ambiguous UI, Complex navigation, etc.

Next Steps

We’ve covered how to disable visual effects in Windows 11.

Visual Effects should be off if you prioritize speed and performance on your Windows 11. You should not disable it if you are concerned about appearance. Additionally, you may turn off Windows’ transparency effects by enabling the “Battery Saving” mode at the expense of your device’s performance. Finally, it’s entirely up to your preferences.

Further, increase your PC performance by following the related articles below.

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