two rally cars driving on a wet surface in dirt 5

Should I update to Windows 11? Guide for Sim Racers

Will all my racing games and hardware work if I update to Windows 11 from Windows 10? Which new gaming features does Windows 11 include and what do I need to keep in mind for the upgrade?

Image credit: Codemasters / Electronic Arts

In October 2021, Microsoft released its latest operating system Windows 11. The OS includes several interesting features like enhanced security, improved virtual desktops and a refurbished surface.

But the key question for us sim racers remains: will my gaming experience benefit from the upgrade? Are the games ready for the new OS? What do I need to keep in mind when I upgrade my system? Here is everything you need to know about making sure your sim racing setup is ready for Windows 11.

Are my Favourite Racing Games Ready for Windows 11?

Let us answer the most urgent question first. Yes, all your favourite racing games will work on Windows 11. The OS has been out for over a year, so teething troubles and compatibility issues should belong to the past.

Whether you play iRacing, F1 22, RaceRoom, or whatever else, all of these games will work on Windows 11.

Considering hardware, all hardware that was supported by previous Windows versions will work with Windows 11 as well. Keep in mind that after upgrading to Windows 11, installing new drivers or updating your periphery software may be required.

How does Windows 11 improve my gaming?

Windows 11 includes new features that are made to boost your hardware’s performance compared to Windows 11. Here are the most important ones quickly explained:

Auto HDR: This feature boosts all games that do not naturally support HDR (high dynamic range) by improving the range of light and dark shades, adding more contrast and colour brightness. However, this feature only works if your monitor supports HDR and the game you play is running on DirectX 11 at minimum.

DirectStorage: DirectStorage transfers game data from your SSD to your graphics card without taking the extra route over the internal memory. In racing games, this can be very helpful to help loading small objects faster, for example trees, houses and other objects of environment. DirectStorage also boosts loading times in general significantly. To use this feature, you need an PCIe-SSD, a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 and a game that supports DirectStorage.

DirectX 12 Ultimate: Windows 11 offers an improved version of the API that runs all your games on Windows. DirectX 12 features a major graphics update which includes DirectX Raytracing, Variable Rate Shading and Gitter-Shading. Currently, only a few games support DirectX 12 Ultimate but it is meant to become the new standard in gaming. Racing fans can already try it out in Dirt 5. However, make sure your graphics card supports this feature.

Xbox Features: Microsoft is binding Xbox and PC gaming even closer together with Windows 11. The Xbox Game Bar received an update in Windows 11, making it a useful hub to monitor your system performance, adjust audio, capture footage or connect with friends while you play. Also, you can now install widgets in the Game Bar and real-time sync your game library to other devices like an Xbox. Windows 11 also enhances access to the Xbox Game Pass, which includes several racing game highlights like Forza Horizon 5, Dirt 5 or MotoGP 22.

What do I need to Keep in Mind when Upgrading?

Remember to save all your data before upgrading your PC to Windows 11. Although Windows offers an upgrade from Windows 10 that does not require you to set up your PC from scratch, an error during the installation can always happen. Stay safe and store your personal data on an external drive.

Also, if you are using older hardware, check whether your system fulfils the requirements to install Windows 11.

Can I Downgrade Windows 11 to Windows 10 again?

What if you upgraded to Windows 11 and you don’t like it, can you go back? The answer is yes. However, you need to do the downgrade within 10 days after upgrading to Windows 11.

Also, keep in mind that support for Windows 10 will run out in October 2025. At that point, you definitely will have to say goodbye to your old friend.

What do you think about Windows 11 and its gaming features? Let us know by sending a tweet @OverTake_gg or leave a comment down below!

Born and raised close to the Nürburgring.