Windows 11 Tackles PC Slowdowns

John Lister's picture

Windows 11 will soon give users extra controls to stop applications hogging resources. The Task Manager change will help users balance performance and control.

The new Efficiency Mode works in a similar way to power-saving mode on some PCs and mobile devices, though in this case the emphasis is on the processor.

At the moment, users have several options for dealing with "greedy" applications but they all involve compromises. One option is to put the entire computer into a "Best Power Efficiency" option through the power mode settings. The problem is that this affects all applications, including those where performance could be limited.

Another option is to completely shut down an application in the Task Manager. This - along with the ultimate solution of restarting the PC - will deal with the problem immediately but isn't practical, particularly for persistent problems.

Low Priority Frees Other Apps

The new Efficiency Mode operates on an application-by-application basis. Once switched on, it has two effects.

The first is in the way Windows handles different threads, which are roughly similar to a series of to-do lists for each application or operation. Normally Windows will assign each thread a priority score and use this to decide which thread the computer's processor will deal with at any particular instant. The idea is to balance the load while still letting each application run smoothly.

Efficiency Mode manually switches the thread to the lowest priority level. This means the application will still run, but shouldn't get in the way of other applications, causing a noticeable slow down. For this reason, the Efficiency Mode will run best on apps designed to run in the background such as scanning tools. (Source:

Eco Mode Cuts Power Use

The second effect is to enable a feature called Eco Quality of Service. This is already available for all applications but only runs where the developer has enabled it by default. The mode is specifically designed to run the application and access the computer processor in the most energy efficient manner. Again, it makes more sense for some types of application, particularly ones where a near-immediate response time isn't vital.

The idea with both elements is that users can decide for themselves if switching on Efficiency Mode brings overall benefits that outweigh any performance issues. Microsoft says the effects will vary from case to case, with its testing showing an overall performance increase in the computer's responsiveness of between 14 and 76 percent. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you use this mode? Does it sound like too much effort for the average user to investigate? Do you often "kill" sluggish programs through Task Manager?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Chances are if you're running Windows 11, you already own modern hardware with a modern CPU, modern RAM, and (hopefully) an SSD or NVMe. Honestly, I don't know how much of a difference the task manager eco mode is going to make on a system with decent specs. If you have an app that is constantly eating your CPU, it would be best to find another alternative that will do the same job without the slowdown.

Speaking from experience while fixing client machines remotely: Carbonite backup, Mcafee, Norton, and Malwarebytes Pro are the worst offenders that suck CPU power and cause MASSIVE slowdowns - especially on older hardware. Simply removing these programs will often result in the PC running 2x faster, and you don't need a special task manager to fix it.