How to Use DirectStorage in Windows 11

If your PC supports it, you'll have dramatically faster game loading times

What to Know

  • Press Windows Key + G > Gear icon > Gaming Features, and check both the Graphics and DirectStorage sections to see if your hardware is compatible.
  • For DirectStorage to work, your PC needs to have an NVMe SSD and a DirectX 12 compatible graphics card.
  • DirectStorage is enabled automatically if your PC supports it, so you don’t need to turn it on.

This article explains how to take advantage of DirectStorage in Windows 11 to improve your game loading times.

How to Use DirectStorage in Windows 11

DirectStorage is built into Windows 11, so you don’t need to do anything to enable it. If your PC has the necessary specifications for DirectStorage to work, and you play a game that’s compatible with DirectStorage, Windows 11 will automatically leverage this feature to improve your load times and game performance.

For DirectStorage to work, your computer needs to meet or exceed these specifications:

  • An NVMe SSD (PCIe 4.0 recommended)
  • A video card that supports DirectX 12 and Shader Model 6.0
  • Windows 11

Windows 10 also supports DirectStorage via a patch, but Microsoft recommends Windows 11.

How to Check if Your PC Can Use DirectStorage

If you aren’t sure whether or not your PC is compatible with DirectStorage, that is something you can check. You’ll need to check what kind of storage drive you have and check what kind of video card you have.

Here’s how to check if your PC can use DirectStorage:

  1. Press Windows Key + G to open the Xbox Game Bar on your Windows 11 PC, then click the gear icon.

    The gear icon highlighted on the Windows Game Bar.
  2. Click Gaming Features.

    Gaming features highlighted in windows game bar settings.
  3. Look in the messages Your system is DirectX 12 Ultimate ready, and DirectStorage supported. If you see both messages, your PC supports DirectStorage.

    Your system is DirectX 12 Ultimate ready, and DirectStorage supported highlighted in the Windows game bar gaming features.

How to Enable DirectStorage on a PC That Doesn't Support It

If your Windows 11 PC doesn’t meet the requirements for DirectStorage, then you won’t be able to enable the feature. If you choose to upgrade your PC, you will need to install an NVMe SSD and upgrade your graphics card to DirectX 12. After performing those upgrades, Windows 11 will automatically enable DirectStorage for games that support it.

What Is DirectStorage, and How Does It Work?

DirectStorage is a feature that Microsoft developed for Xbox consoles that can improve load times and graphics performance when gaming on Windows 11 by speeding up the storage and retrieval of data. It takes advantage of the incredibly fast read and write times provided by NVMe drives, which is why the feature isn’t available if you don’t have an NVMe drive.

In addition to taking advantage of speedy NVME drives, DirectStorage also uses your graphics card to handle compressed data directly, instead of first having your CPU decompress everything (which is the way things normally work). This removes a potential bottleneck, as the graphics card can start rendering things right away instead of waiting on the CPU, and it’s why DirectStorage won’t work if your video card doesn’t support DirectX 12.

When your PC has both an NVMe and a DirectX 12 video card, and a game developer has opted to take advantage of DirectStorage, the result is significantly faster load times. Microsoft states that load times can be up to 40 times faster, and in many instances that results in nearly instantaneous loading.

  • Will DirectStorage make game play faster?

    In one way yes, in another, likely more important way, no. If you are talking about loading games and overall waiting for the game to be ready to play, yes, it'll be faster. Will using a system with DirectStorage increase graphics fluidity and FPS, then no. For better and faster graphics you need a beefier graphics card.

  • Will an SSD make gaming faster?

    As with DirectStorage, yes but mostly no. An SSD will make your game load faster so there'll be less waiting to start playing the game and less waiting while new levels load into memory. An SSD is a worthwhile investment beyond gaming as it speeds up boot time, opening apps, and saving files.

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