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How to Disable VBS and Speed Up Windows 11

Disable VBS
(Image credit: Future)

Virtualization-based security, aka VBS, allows Windows 11 to create a secure memory enclave that's isolated from unsafe code. Another built-in feature called Hypervisor-Enforced Code Integrity (HVCI) uses the capabilities of VBS to prevent unsigned or questionable drivers and software from getting into memory. Together VBS and HVCI add a layer of protection that limits how much damage malware can do, even if it gets past your antivirus software. 

Unfortunately, VBS and HVCI have a significant performance cost, particularly when it comes to gaming. In our tests, we found that games ran as much as 5 percent slower with these settings on as with them off. Others have seen even bigger deltas; our colleagues at PC Gamer saw drops of 25 percent, though they tested with a 10th Gen Intel CPU when Microsoft recommends no less than an 11th processor.

Simply upgrading to Windows 11 will not turn on VBS, unless you already had it enabled in Windows 10, where it has been a non-default option for several years. So, at the moment, this is a problem few people will actually have.

However, if you do a clean install of Windows 11 or buy a brand new laptop or desktop with Windows 11, you may have VBS / HVCI enabled by default. Microsoft recommends that OEMS have it enabled by default but notes that "some devices that are especially sensitive to performance (e.g. gaming PCs) may choose to ship with HVCI disabled." And we know of at least one OEM, MSI, who told us that they would ship their systems with VBS disabled.

If you're using Windows 11 and performance, particularly gaming performance, matters most to you, we'll show you how to check to see if VBS / HVCI is enabled and how to turn it off. However, if you're not gaming, you may want to leave the security in place.

How to Check if VBS is Enabled in Windows 11

Before you start thinking about turning off VBS, you need to find out if it's on in the first place. 

1. Open system information. The easiest way to do that is by searching for "system information" in Windows search and clicking the top result.

open system information

(Image credit: Future)

2. Scroll down to find the "Virtualization-based security" row. If it says "running," VBS is enabled. But if it says "not enabled," then you're done.

System information

(Image credit: Future)

How to Disable VBS / HVCI in Windows 11

1. Search for Core Isolation in Windows search and click the top result.

search for core isolation

(Image credit: Future)

2. Click Windows Security and Ok if asked what app to use. A submenu opens.

click Windows Security

(Image credit: Future)

3. Toggle Memory Integrity to off, if it was on. If it is not on, skip ahead to step 6.

toggle memory integrity to off

(Image credit: Future)

4. Reboot your PC as prompted..

reboot

(Image credit: Future)

5. Check system info again to see if virtualization-based security is listed as "not enabled." If so, you are done. If not, go to step 6 where you'll disable VBS in the registry.

check system info again

(Image credit: Future)

6. Open regedit. The easiest way is by hitting Windows + R, entering regedit in the text box and click Ok.

open regedit

(Image credit: Future)

7. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\DeviceGuard.

navigate to the registry key

(Image credit: Future)

8. Open EnableVirtualizationBasedSecurity and set it to 0.

Open EnableVirtualizationBasedSecurity and set it to 0

(Image credit: Future)

9. Close regedit and reboot your PC.

At this point, you should see that VBS is disabled in the system info app.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • cvzone
    If even the registry setting does not work for you, try "bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off" in cmd as admin.

    PS: If registry settings wont help, there might be an UEFI lock active. Delete secure boot keys, restart Windows and turn off the settings, then set secure boot keys.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    I have it turned off--I wonder if just turning off SVM in the bios would accomplish the same thing...? And yes I have noticed a slight performance uplift with SVM disabled (I don't need it for anything else, atm.) I recall reading awhile back that DeviceGuard is something Microsoft has devised so that Defender and third-party AV programs can run simultaneously without tripping all over each other and generating a lot of false positives and other undesirable things. But as I'm not a big believer in running more than a single (competent) AV program simultaneously, Defender is all I need and seems to be doing a thorough job so far.
    Reply
  • stairmand
    When you install Windows 11 it askes how you would like the PC optimised. (gaming, creative etc) you would think the gaming setting would disable it automatically.
    Reply