Microsoft’s trick for speeding up PC games in Windows 11 works with only 12 games to start with – but far more are actually supported

We now know a lot more about how Microsoft’s Automatic Super Resolution (Auto SR) feature for speeding up gaming frame rates in Windows 11 will work, and what games it will initially support.

VideoCardz noticed a new entry in Microsoft’s support database on the topic of Auto SR, which underlines the requirements, as well as detailing what games will come as fully verified for the tech.

For those who missed it, Auto SR is an upscaling feature, meaning it runs a game at a lower resolution, upscaling to a higher one, so that you get a close-to-native-resolution image quality with a faster frame rate – using AI to pull off this trickery.

The notable catches are that you need a Copilot+ PC and indeed a Snapdragon X processor, one of the ARM-based chips that’ll power laptops launching next month. (You’ll also need Windows 11 24H2, which launches with those AI PCs).

As for the games which are verified and tested by Microsoft for Auto SR, the initial collection is as follows:

  • 7 Days to Die
  • BeamNG Drive
  • Borderlands 3
  • Control
  • Dark Souls III
  • God of War
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Analysis: Useful clarifications – and caveats

It’s interesting to see the fully verified games, and even if it’s only a small selection of a dozen right now, there are some big-name titles. However, the really interesting bit is the clarification that Automatic Super Resolution is a sweeping upscaling feature that can be applied to any game (DX11 or DX12).

We always assumed it would be a system-wide feature – after all, that was the whole point, compared to more targeted upscaling solutions that require support from the game dev such as Nvidia DLSS – and indeed this is the case. It’s just Microsoft worried us with its mention of Auto SR just applying to a “curated set of games” last week when it launched the feature, but these are just the verified games guaranteed to work well.

The majority of games should be fine with Auto SR in theory, but some may be wonky, or some may not work at all, and to that end, Microsoft is collaborating with the Worksonwoa.com website that lists games that can use the feature successfully – and also those that can’t use Auto SR for whatever reason. (This is the same website that also tells you whether your favorite PC game will run on Windows on ARM).

There are some nuances to note here, and the first is that verified games are set to work ‘out of the box’ with Auto SR, meaning the feature will be on by default. That could cause some confusion or conflict if a gamer is using another type of upscaling potentially – though you are told that by Windows that Auto SR is being enabled when the game is launched.

We guess Microsoft feels that less tech-savvy folks will benefit from having the feature automatically applied where it makes sense, in games that are fully tested to work well with Auto SR.

The Snapdragon X requirement is the other important point to note here, although we assume this will be widened to include future AMD and Intel laptop CPUs – those with a powerful enough NPU to qualify as the engine of a Copilot+ PC (as Auto SR will be for these PCs only).

However, we also noticed that Microsoft says Auto SR is only supported for games running on ARM64 natively or emulated x64 games (with the latter using Prism, the translation layer for running Windows games on ARM chips). Presumably that’s a reflection that currently (well, as of next month) only the new Snapdragon X can drive a Copilot+ PC, and that when AMD Strix Point or Intel Lunar Lake CPUs arrive for these AI-powered laptops, there’ll surely be fine with Auto SR.

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Microsoft’s official PC Cleaner app is now on the Microsoft Store – and makes big promises about speeding up your PC for free

Microsoft is making its powerful clean up tool PC Cleaner easier to install by adding it to the Microsoft Store (which is built-in to Windows 11) – and it could be a handy tool for speeding up your computer and fixing issues.

The tool is similar to CCleaner, a long-established third-party system cleaner for Windows (now also available for Mac, Android, and iOS). Apps like CCleaner aim to clear out clutter from Windows system folders and improve your PC’s performance due to the cleared space.

Microsoft has been testing its own system cleaning and maintenance software since 2022. Originally, Microsoft’s PC Manager app was being developed and tested by Microsoft’s for the Chinese market. Now, Windows Latest has spotted that the PC Manager app is available for download from the Microsoft Store and is also available in more regions including the US. You can use PC Cleaner in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 as it’s supported on both operating systems. It didn’t come up on either of my Windows 11 devices in the Microsoft store, but have a look for yourself. It seems like if you can’t get it yet, it is coming soon according to an official Microsoft PC Cleaner page.

A screenshot of the official Microsoft PC Cleaner page

(Image credit: Future)

What features and tools users can expect

The latest version of PC Cleaner introduces a floating toolbar which allows you to quickly access PC Cleaner’s tools. These include:

  • PC Boost which deals with unnecessary processes and deletes temporary files, along with a Smart Boost option for spikes in RAM usage and temporary files that exceed 1 GB file size.
  • Deep Cleanup that seeks out older Windows update files, clears out recycle bin files, your web cache, and application caches. However, you can select what you’d like to keep or remove.
  • Process which provides a view of all of the processes currently running on your PC, allowing you to end any process in PC Cleaner without opening up Task Manager.
  • Startup that allows you to manage the apps that launch on start-up
  • Large Files which locates large files on any of your drives more quickly than if you had to find them manually using File Explorer.
  • More tools like Taskbar Repair to revert it to its original state and Restore Default Apps to restore all default app preferences. In true Microsoft fashion, it looks like the company will apparently use this feature to encourage you to use Microsoft apps such as Edge, according to Windows Latest.

Man using download manager on laptop

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Microsoft's take on third-party system cleaner apps

Microsoft has spoken less than favorably about third-party PC cleaner apps and sometimes called them harmful. It would warn users that these apps would be more likely to delete crucially important registry files by accident to clean up as much ‘junk’ as possible. CCleaner even got Microsoft’s potentially unwanted program (PUP) stamp of disapproval. A PUP is a piece of software that may be perceived as unwanted, unnecessary, or harmful by users. While Microsoft has its own vested interest to have people use as many in-house apps as possible, CCleaner has had legitimate security concerns in the past because of malware-related incidents. 

However, it should be noted that while Microsoft has labeled CCleaner a PUP, it’s available to download from the Microsoft Store as well.

Microsoft’s PC Manager is free to use and it can be set to correspond with your Windows theme. It’s got a host of useful tools designed by Microsoft itself for Windows, and the company promises it won’t delete any necessary system files. While options like third-party apps are good to have, this seems like a solid bet and I’ll be installing it myself when it's available to me. It’s less likely to come with malware since it comes straight from Microsoft, and will be able to be downloaded via the Microsoft Store. It also has features for free that you have to pay for in other apps like CCleaner. If you can’t see it in the Microsoft Store yet (like me), there is an official Microsoft page for PC Cleaner that indicates a direct download link is coming soon. 

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Researchers tricked a Tesla Model S into speeding with a piece of tape – how could hackers cheat our cars in the future?

As the advent of autonomous driving inches forward year by year, there’s an incredible opportunity to cede control over to the machines. AI can help look for dangers on the road and adjust our speed long before problems occur. It’s an exciting time because machine learning in cars is almost magical.

The first time, a car like the Subaru Legacy Outback tells you not to look down at your phone, or a Ford Explorer applies the brakes suddenly when you fail to notice the semi-truck that just pulled out in front of you is when you realize how far we’ve come.

Curiously, these new advancements could also present an opportunity for hackers. While the AI tech in cars never needs to sleep and is always vigilant, it is not that hard to trick the machine learning routines, even with a piece of tape.

Over the limit

Recently, researchers at McAfee announced an 18-month project where they attempted to alter the cruise control abilities in two 2016 Tesla Model S cars. They applied tape to a speed limit sign and then drove the Model S, watching as the vehicle jumped up in speed by 80 miles-per-hour. It only took one extension of the number three on a speed limit sign that said 35, changing it to read 85 instead.

The companies that developed some of the autonomous driving tech in the Tesla S refuted the claims by saying a human driver would also read the speed limit sign inaccurately, and that’s exactly when I started wondering what this all means.

Tesla Model S

I agree that human drivers are likely not that perceptive. On a highway recently, I noticed how a departure lane I took off the main highway was posted at only 35 miles-per-hour (coincidentally enough).

I slowed down to 35, but I wondered why the city lowered the speed so quickly from 75 miles per hour. It was accurate, but it didn’t make sense to me. The road was nowhere near a residential area.

However, the fact that I was wondering is the important factor.

Tesla Model S

Autonomous tech in cars might not do this. Experts who responded to Mcafee did say the Model S also uses crowd-sourced data and likely also uses GPS data, which is much harder to spoof. That said, it made me wonder.

Autonomous cars will need to do more than read speed limit signs. They will also need to interpret the conditions and the setting — it would not make sense to suddenly go from 35 MPH to 85 MPH. If it is a simple calculation from one number to another, it won’t work.

New tricks

In the future, I wondered how hackers might trick cars in other ways. We’re on the verge of cars connecting to the roadway and to other cars. Recently, an artist demonstrated how hauling a wagon full of smartphones could trick Google Maps into thinking there was traffic congestion. What else could they do?

I can envision someone creating a stir by sending out fake signals about other cars on the road, sending notices about road closures, or even worse — tapping into car systems from the side of the road and telling them to brake suddenly.

Tesla Model S

At the same time, it is a lot of fuss over something minor. Fewer and fewer cars are reading roadway signs and are determining speed based on GPS data instead. No research has ever shown that hackers could cause cars to brake suddenly, and when there are examples they are usually in controlled environments. 

I think it is mostly a curiosity. We like to be able to fool the machines, and that’s a good thing. As long as they don’t ever start fooling with us.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully self-driving cars.

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