Microsoft has released an easy way to check if your PC is DirectStorage-ready in the latest Windows 11 update, in the form of Microsoft Game Bar Preview.

As reported by PC Gamer, (Opens in a new tab), users can access the Game Features tab in the settings menu after the Xbox Game Bar update. The updated version of this tool now shows if your system is DirectX 12 Ultimate ready, as well as which parts of your gaming PC or laptop will need to be upgraded to be ready for next-generation DirectStorage functionality.

It's worth mentioning that Windows 10 will also notify you if your system is DirectX 12 Ultimate ready, but will mention that your operating system requires an update, even though Microsoft has previously confirmed that both are compatible.

DirectStorage, for those who don't know, is a useful technology that speeds up SSD load times and has already been implemented in hardware like Microsoft's Series X and Series S.

Basically, DirectStorage allows developers to better utilize the speed of the latest storage devices (especially NVMe SSDs) to get the most out of the potential available bandwidth. Not only will this translate to faster load times, but you should also see open world games running smoothly.

How to Update Xbox Game Bar

Unfortunately, this hasn't been rolled out to the public yet, so you'll need to download the Xbox Insider Hub if you want early access to the feature. It's a bit tricky to set up, but if you're particularly interested, you can follow the instructions provided below.


  • Search the Microsoft Store on the Windows 11 taskbar and download the Xbox Insider Center (opens in a new tab) app. Follow the instructions on the screen to register.
  • Click on Previews on the left side, then enter Windows Games.
  • More instructions on screen! Select Meet with then complete the registration process. A few new windows may open to complete this step.
  • Return to Microsoft Store home page and go to your Library down left. Once you're inside, press Update all at the top right and will install the xbox game bar (if not already on your system).
  • To access it, type xbox game bar on your taskbar or touch Windows key + G to load the xbox game bar.
  • Click it Settings icon, then click Game features. This will now display the updated system information requirements.
  • Analysis: what does this really mean for gamers?

    Screenshot of updated Xbox Game Bar showing system requirements. (Image credit: Microsoft)

    Of course, SSD technology and advancements don't sound as exciting as, say, more powerful graphics, but it really is an essential development in the gaming space.

    Cooper Partin, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, explains that “DirectStorage is designed for modern gaming systems. It handles small reads more efficiently and can bundle multiple queries. When fully integrated into your title, DirectStorage with an NVMe SSD in Windows 11 reduces CPU overhead in a game by 20-40%.

    That's a huge improvement, even if we're only looking at the 20% reduction. This will result in smoother gameplay during streaming, as well as shorter loading menus, and as game files get larger and models more detailed, we'll need to keep an eye on bottlenecks.

    DirectStorage support became available for PC gaming several months ago, but this tool will help you better understand what limitations might prevent your system from accessing the technology, in the same way that Microsoft also created a tool to help people Make your Windows 10 systems ready to upgrade to Windows 11.

    Typically, you'll need an NVMe SSD with at least 1TB of storage capable of supporting and using the Standard NVM Express Controller, as well as a graphics card that supports DirectX 12 Ultimate and Shader Model 6.0. If you have something from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series or AMD RDNA2, then it's gold, but otherwise you'll need to upgrade some components to use this technology.

    Fortunately, Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA3 GPUs are on the horizon, which, coupled with this DirectStorage release, might make this a good time to consider some upgrades.

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