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How to play any windows game in full screen borderless windowed mode

Staff – January 28, 2020 at 10:21 AM

One of the benefits of gaming on a PC is the ability to customize your in-game settings to match the needs of your system or your personal preferences. Every person’s setup is unique, so being critical about the way you manage in-game settings is paramount for ensuring you have an optimal experience.

One setting that’s easy to overlook is the display mode settings. Typically, games provide “windowed,” “fullscreen,” and “bordered windowless” display modes. Though the latter two enable the game’s display to take up the entire screen, they possess a couple of key differences that could have a significant impact on your gaming experiences.

When to choose fullscreen mode

When an application is open in fullscreen mode, Windows grants it full control of the screen’s output. Assuming a game is optimized for the system and display being used, fullscreen mode has the potential to boost performance when compared to borderless windowed mode.

The catch, however, is that running a game in fullscreen mode hinders the player’s ability to access additional monitors or applications. The mouse cursor remains locked to whichever screen is displaying the game. To navigate out of the game, the player would need to use the Alt+Tab shortcut.

When to choose borderless windowed mode

The borderless windowed mode was devised as a compromise between a game’s fullscreen and windowed display options. In essence, games played in borderless windowed mode appear as though they’re being played in fullscreen, though in reality they’re really being displayed in borderless windows that have been stretched to cover the screen.

The primary benefit to playing a game in borderless windowed mode is its flexibility. Unlike fullscreen mode, borderless windowed mode allows users to mouse over additional monitors without undue interruption, making other applications much more accessible.

Which is right for you?

So which mode is right for you? The answer depends on your setup and preferences. If your setup only uses a single monitor fullscreen mode might be the right option, especially if you play competitive games and want the absolute best performance. If you want other applications more easily within reach, borderless windowed mode is the way to go.

Keep in mind that performance differences between the modes will vary depending on your hardware. Try them both to determine which is better suited to you and your setup.

Michael Crider is a veteran technology journalist with a decade of experience. He spent five years writing for Android Police and his work has appeared on Digital Trends and Lifehacker. He’s covered industry events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress in person. Read more.

If you’re a regular PC gamer, you know that playing a game in full screen mode can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Switching to a background program, using a second monitor, or suddenly getting a notification that takes focus can mess up your game. Playing the game in a window fixes these problems, but it’s less immersive and doesn’t use your monitor’s full space effectively.

Borderless windowed mode is an elegant solution. It runs the game in a window (with a small performance hit), but slims that window down to about a pixel width on all size. Set the game to run in a window at or near the maximum, and you can get those gorgeous full screen visuals while being able to instantly switch to another program,

Most high-end games published these days offer something like borderless windowed mode. But if you’ve found one that doesn’t, it’s an easy thing to fix with a handy freeware application.

Download Fullscreenizer

Head to this address: it’s a page for a tiny little freeware application called Fullscreenizer. Click “executable” to go to the download page, then click the “download” button. You’ll download a ZIP file to your desktop.

Unzip the file with whatever program you prefer, then double-click the fullscreenizer.exe file. Now you need to configure the game.

Get Your Game Ready

Open up the game you want to apply the change to, and go it its configuration panel. Change the display mode to “windowed” rather than “full screen.”

Now before applying the changes, select the highest possible resolution. Generally this is the same resolution as your primary monitor (most likely 1920×1080 at 60hz for modern desktop and laptop displays). This will make the window render at the same resolution as your monitor, but because of the non-adaptive elements of the Windows user interface like the taskbar, you won’t actually be able to see the full window at once.

Apply the changes to your game, and verify them or restart the game as necessary.

Activate Fullscreenizer

Now with both the game and Fullscreenizer, switch away from the game with Windows’ Alt+Tab command. Click the Fullscreenizer window, and click “refresh” if you don’t see your game in the list of running programs.

Now just click the game and click “Fullscreenize.” The game will come back into focus in the foreground, now covering the taskbar and all other windows. Bingo, you’ve got a full screen window running at your screen’s maximum resolution, but you can switch to other programs with Alt+Tab or the Windows key without that two-to-five second delay with a blank screen.

Multitask while you play

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Most computer games take over the whole screen when you play. But, depending on whether or not the developer allows it, you might be able to play in a window instead.

The process to window a game takes just a few seconds, however, some games don’t natively support windowed mode. So, you may have to take some more involved steps to prevent those games from taking up the whole screen.

This guide applies to Windows 10 and later.

Check for the Easy Button

Some games explicitly allow the application to run in a windowed mode. Go into the Settings menu and you’ll see options listed using varying language. If you don’t see the below options there, you might access them from the game’s launcher.

  • Windowed Mode: Runs the game in a resizeable window just like any other application.
  • Borderless Window Mode: Runs the game as a window, which may be full screen or not, but without the usual chrome (borders, toolbars, etc.) normal apps enjoy.
  • Fullscreen (Windowed) Mode: Runs the game full-screen, but full-screen view is just a maximized window, so you can run other apps atop the game.

Make Windows Work for You

The Windows operating system supports command-line switches to adjust certain start-up parameters of programs. One way to “force” an application like your favorite game to run in a windowed mode is to create a special shortcut to the program’s main executable, then configure that shortcut with the applicable command-line switch.

Right-click or tap-and-hold the shortcut for the computer game you want to play in windowed mode.

If you don’t see the shortcut on the desktop, you can make one yourself. To make a new shortcut to a game or program in Windows, either drag it to the desktop from the Start menu or right-click (or tap-and-hold if you’re on a touchscreen) the executable file and choose Send to > Desktop.

Select Properties.

In the Shortcut tab, in the Target: field, add -window or -w at the end of the file path. If one doesn’t work, try the other.

Select OK.

If you receive an “Access Denied” message, you may need to confirm you’re an administrator on that computer.

If the game doesn’t support Windowed Mode play, adding a command-line switch won’t work. But, it’s worth trying. Many games, officially or unofficially, allow the Windows operating system to control how they render.

Alternative Ways to Window a Game

Here are some additional methods to try if you want to play games in windowed mode:

Keyboard Shortcuts

Some games can be recomposed into a window by pressing the Alt + Enter keys together while in the game, or by pressing Ctrl + F.

Modify the .INI File

Some games store full-screen mode settings in an INI file. They might use the line “dWindowedMode” to define whether to run the game in windowed mode or not. If there’s a number after that line, make sure it’s 1. Some may use True/False to define that setting.

Use DxWnd

If the game relies on DirectX graphics, a program like DxWnd serves as a “wrapper” offering custom configurations to force full-screen DirectX games to run in a window. DxWnd sits between the game and the Windows operating system; it intercepts system calls between the game and the OS and translates them into an output that fits into a resizable window. But again, the game must rely on DirectX graphics for this method to work.

If Your Game Is Really Old

Some very old games from the MS-DOS era run in DOS emulators like the DOSBox emulator. DOSBox and similar programs use configuration files that specify full-screen behavior through customizable toggles.

Virtualization

Another option is to run the game through virtualization software like the VirtualBox virtualizer or VMware, or a Hyper-V virtual machine. Virtualization technology lets an entirely different operating system run as a guest OS within your existing operating system’s session. These virtual machines always run in a window, although you can maximize the window to get a full-screen effect.

Run a game in a virtual machine if it can’t be run in a windowed mode. As far as the game is concerned, it’s functioning like normal. The virtualization software governs its appearance as a window in its host operating system, not the game itself.

Some Considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to modify your games:

There are many games on the market. Some work on fullscreen mode and some only look great on windowed mode. And, in some cases, some games are designed to work on both modes, and you’re going to need a way to switch between them at runtime.

Setting your game’s default screen mode can be done by going to Edit > Project Settings… > Player > Resolution and Presentation and selecting a screen mode under the Resolution section. Changing screen mode can be done at runtime by setting the value of Screen.fullScreenMode to the desired value.

Depending on what your game does, some modes may be better than others. Keep on reading as I will explain how to do this in detail.

Switching Between Fullscreen, Windowed, and Borderless Window

To change screen mode, go to Edit > Project Settings… > Player

And look under the Resolution and Presentation section.

Pick the screen mode you want and you’re good to go!

Note: Not all screen modes are available for all platforms. HTML5, for example, doesn’t support fullscreen mode as it is rendered via a Canvas element so entering fullscreen mode needs to be done differently through the use of JavaScript.

There are 4 screen modes you can use in Unity: Exclusive Fullscreen, Fullscreen Window, Maximized Window, and Windowed.

You can also do this programmatically to switch between screen modes at runtime by setting Screen.fullScreenMode to a certain value which I will show you below.

Exclusive Fullscreen

Exclusive Fullscreen screen mode makes your game enter the true fullscreen mode. Your game will be rendered on top of everything on the target display, claiming exclusive use of that display.

What does this mean?

This means when the game enters Exclusive Fullscreen mode, the platform stops rendering everything else on the screen except your game.

This mode helps increase performance as more resources are allocated to running your game, but you will experience a delay and a short screen freeze when you switch back and forth between your game and other applications.

Additionally, running in the background is also not allowed while your game is running in Exclusive Fullscreen mode.

Switching to Exclusive Fullscreen mode programmatically at runtime can easily be done by setting the fullscreen mode value to FullScreenMode.ExclusiveFullScreen.

Important: Doing this will make your game enter Exclusive Fullscreen mode while keeping the same resolution as when your game is in Windowed mode.

This means, for example, if your game is running in Windowed mode with a window size of 1280×720 pixels, your display will adjust its current resolution to match that of the game’s when it enters the fullscreen mode.

If you want to adjust the resolution before entering the fullscreen mode, use Screen.SetResolution to enter fullscreen instead:

The example above will make your game enter Exclusive Fullscreen mode with a screen resolution of 1920×1080, a.k.a. 1080p.

If you want to enter Exclusive Fullscreen mode in the native resolution of your screen, use Screen.currentResolution to get the current width and height:

Windowed

The Windowed screen mode makes your game run in a standard window, with a title bar, a minimize button, a maximize button, and a close button.

Various options can be selected to make the game window resizable, among other things. Pick ones that suit your needs.

Do note that unchecking any of the supported aspect ratios will not prevent users from resizing your game to the unchecked aspect ratios when in Windowed mode.

To switch to the Windowed mode programmatically at runtime, simply set the fullscreen mode value to FullScreenMode.Windowed.

Important: Doing this will make your game enter Windowed mode while keeping the same resolution as when your game is in a fullscreen mode.

This means, for example, if your game is running in Exclusive Fullscreen mode with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, switching from the fullscreen mode to Windowed mode will not change the resolution. The game window will be kept at 1920×1080 pixels.

If you want to adjust the resolution before entering the Windowed mode, use Screen.SetResolution to switch to Windowed mode instead:

The example above will make your game enter Windowed mode with a screen resolution of 1280×720 pixels, a.k.a. 720p.

Fullscreen Window

The Fullscreen Window mode, or more widely known as the Borderless Window mode, is a mix between Windowed mode and Exclusive Fullscreen mode.

Fullscreen Window mode makes your game cover the entire display, just like the Exclusive Fullscreen mode, but instead of claiming the exclusive use of the target display, it merely renders the game in a fashion similar to a maximized window but without the title bar and the close buttons (hence, Borderless Window) while keeping everything else rendered behind it.

Although this screen mode comes with a decreased performance because it has to keep everything else rendered while the game is running, Fullscreen Window is popular among people who like to switch back and forth between applications a lot since there is no delay to Alt+Tab between apps.

Also, this mode allows your game to keep running in the background even when the game isn’t focused, just like the Windowed mode.

But similarly to the Exclusive Fullscreen mode, your game will keep the same resolution as before it enters Fullscreen Window mode.

So if your game runs at 1280×720 resolution as it enters the Fullscreen Window mode, it will keep that resolution.

But it won’t force the display to change the screen resolution, it will simply stretch your game window to fill the entire screen.

Entering Fullscreen Window mode programmatically can simply be done by setting the fullscreen mode value to FullScreenMode.Windowed.

If you want to adjust the resolution before entering the Fullscreen Window mode, use Screen.SetResolution to switch mode instead:

Maximized Window

This mode is basically the Windowed mode but maximized, with the title bar and all.

…Or that’s how it’s supposed to be.

There’s currently an issue with the Maximized Window mode that prevents it from behaving the way it’s intended and makes it fall back to Fullscreen Window mode.

The problem still exists even in Unity 2021 due to a particular problem.

I suggest don’t design your game around this screen mode for now.

Visit the Issue Tracker of this issue for more details.

Attribution

Window icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

Hi, I’m Pavee. I’m a software developer, an aspiring pixel artist, and the owner of Game Dev Planet. I love learning new things and have a passion for game development.

I like to play classic computer games from time to time and purchase them most of the time on Good Old Games. While those games run without issues on modern Windows PCs, you sometimes notice that they have been designed for hardware long past its prime time.

The screen resolution for instance may be set to 640×480 or even less, which looks out of place on modern HD monitors. One solution for that particular issue is to run the game in windowed mode.

While some games offer options to play them in window mode right away, others may not and that is were the problems begin.

This guide looks at the various options that you have to run computer games, old or new, in a window instead of full screen.

Alt-Enter

The first thing that you may want to try is hit the Alt-Enter key on your keyboard while the game is running in fullscreen mode. Some games change the mode to window automatically when you use the shortcut, while some won’t.

This is the easiest option to try, which is why I have selected it as the first choice in this regard.

Program settings / ini files

Some programs let you change the display mode — including whether to run them in full screen mode or not — in the program preferences.

Just open the preferences and go through them one by one to find out if the game you want to run in a window offers that option natively.

To give you an example: Dota 2 has a preference under Video / Audio that you can use to change the display mode from fullscreen to window or borderless window.

Dota 2

Some games ship with .ini files in the game directory that may offer options to change the game resolution and display mode as well.

To find out if that is the case for the game you try to play, open the game’s program folder on your system and search for .ini files.

If you do not find any here, chance is that it does not use these files.

Program shortcut

Another option that you have is to add commands to the program shortcut. Right-click on the shortcut on your system and add commands like the following ones to the end of the target field:

  • w
  • window
  • windowmode

Note that you may need elevated privileges to save these information to the file. Not all games support those commands, but some do. There may be other variations such as -f resolution, e.g. -f 1024×768

Game wrappers

Game wrappers may help you run games in a window. They intercept calls and use emulation to provide this and other functionality.

As with all solutions before, they work on some games but not on all of them. Here is a short selection of wrappers for you to try out:

  • DirectX OpenGL Wrapper – emulates API calles through OpenGL in order to run DirectX applications on other platforms.
  • DxWnd – the most sophisticated program of them all. A boatload of options, and the core purpose of the program is to make DirectX fullscreen games playable in windows.
  • Glide – has not been updated since 2005 but may still work with older games.

DxWnd

Virtualization

This is the last resort. If you want to play a DOS game, or a game with a DOS version, DOSBox is your first choice as it ships with all the functionality you need for that.

DOSBox

If not, then you need something different. If you are running Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise, you can make use of Windows XP Mode to run games in a window on your system.

If you do not, you can use virtualization software such as VMware or VirtualBox instead. What they do basically is emulate another operating system on your PC. Since it runs in windowed mode, all games that you install and launch in a virtual environment will also run in that mode.

Few of the Games won’t run on Windowed mode, but we want to play it in Fullscreen. Because the Game runs perfectly with Full Screen.

In Today’s Article, I will tell you How To Force a Game Into Windowed Mode. it’s a very easy and fast way to do that.

You can run any game in Windowed mode Like Gta 5, Resident Evil, Pubg, Human Fall Flat, Fortnite, and more Games.

you can use this method in any OS like Windows 7, 8, or 10 Pro. But Make sure you follow all these Steps Given below.

How To Force a Game Into Windowed Mode

  1. Go to your Game you want to Set as Windowed Mode
  2. Click on Game and Open properties
  3. here locate Target and After Exe” Space Type windowmode
  4. Now Locate Compatibility and Tick on Run this Program in Compatibility Mode for
  5. Select The window you have and Click on OK
  6. You will see Administrator Permission Option Click Continue

Now your game will Always start and run as windowed Mode. you can use this method for Any game.

NOTE – You can also You ALT+ENTER Button to Full size or for Windowed Game when you are inside the Game. For Example, if you are playing GTA 5 and want to run as windowed Mode. just Press ALT+ENTER Same time.

FAQs To Force a Game Into Windowed Mode

There are many similar and multiple times asked queries which people want to know and we have answered a few of them below.

You can also read them if you want. and if you are facing any kind of problem then you can comment down below.

How do I force a Fullscreen game in windowed mode?

  1. First Open your Game you want to Fullscreen in windowed mode
  2. Now Run the Game
  3. Now Press ALT+ENTER Buttons at Same Time
  4. You will see you have forced a fullscreen game in windowed mode

How do I run a game in windowed mode?

There are several ways to Do that but the easy and fastest way to run a game in windowed mode is just By pressing the ALT+ENTER button at the same time. But remember these Keys only work when you are in a Game.

How do I force a Game Resolution?

You can set your Game Resolutions from the Game Settings. Always set your Game Resolution according to your Monitor Size. You can Full size your Game by pressing ALT+Enter If you want.

Why won t my games go fullscreen?

There are possibly two reasons why your games won t go Fullscreen, either you are using Wrong method or the Game is not compatible to run as FullScreen. you can fullscreen any game just by pressing ALT+Enter Keys.

Do games run better in windowed mode?

Yes, in Windowed Mode the Games run Better because the game perspective for Gamer will change when we change the game to full screen. Also, you can play the game in full Size.

How do you force a game to run in 1920×1080?

You can switch or Force a game to run in 1920×1080 but it does not work for you if your monitor won’t support the 1920×1080 Resolution. it’s better to Go with ALT+Enter and the window will automatically set and show the full Size of Game.

So, I hope these Answers and this article help you with your Queries. if you still have doubts or have any other queries then make sure to comment down below.

Some applications and games launch in fullscreen mode when they are started on Windows 11 devices, while others don’t. Some of the latter may support fullscreen mode, e.g. by flipping a switch in the settings or through a keyboard shortcut. Most browsers for instance support the shortcut F11 to toggle fullscreen mode.

What, however, if you want to turn fullscreen mode on for an app or game that does not support these options? Or, turn it off for an application that launches in fullscreen mode automatically?

Not all programs support a dedicated fullscreen mode. Thunderbird for instance, the open source email client, does not support it. While you can use the maximize button to maximize the Thunderbird window on the desktop, you can’t launch the app in fullscreen mode.

Microsoft Store applications, including those that are included natively on Windows 11, do support the fullscreen mode usually, even though you may have troubles launching it as there is not a button usually to do so.

What you need to use is the keyboard shortcut Windows-Shift-Enter. Microsoft added the shortcut to Windows 10 and it has kept it in Windows 11.

Try it out: launch the Paint 3D application, make sure it is the active window, and execute the keyboard shortcut. The window enters fullscreen mode. Execute the shortcut again, and fullscreen mode is exited and you are back to the normal view mode.

This shortcut works for most Microsoft Store applications, but there are exceptions, especially with the recent influx of Win32 programs such as Firefox that have made their way into the store.

Notepad does not support the shortcut, but Calculator does. It is definitely a trial and error process of finding out.

This particular version of fullscreen mode is not as strict as the one known from games and some other applications. When you move the mouse cursor over the taskbar area, you will notice that it is displayed. It allows you to interact with other programs using the taskbar or the Start menu, without exiting fullscreen mode. The title bar of the window is also displayed in that mode when you move the mouse cursor to the top of the screen.

For regular applications and games, fullscreen mode may be toggled using Alt-Enter. It does not work all the time though. For browsers, you may use F11 to toggle fullscreen mode.

The Windows-Shift-Enter keyboard shortcut works for most Windows 11 applications. One downside to it is that it does not support the Esc-key to exit fullscreen mode. You need to use the shortcut again or use the window controls by moving the mouse cursor to the top and activating them there, e.g. the minimize button.

Now You: are there apps or games that you prefer to run in fullscreen mode?

Our Windows computer can be used for both professional and domestic tasks, so it is common for us to install a large number of applications and games on it. Sometimes we can find that some of them cannot be executed in full screen for whatever reason. When we talk about games, sure that using the full screen is a priority, since if we play in windowed mode it is less immersive and we do not take advantage of the full space of our monitor.

We can also find universal Windows programs that have been developed to be displayed in windowed mode, without the possibility of extending it to full screen. If we want to play our favorite games in full screen and we do not know how to do it, we are going to check different ways to see their content in full screen.

Open universal apps in full screen mode

With keyboard shortcut

Since the time immemorial of Windows, it has always been possible to launch some applications in full screen by pressing the f11 key. This option has already disappeared for some years, although there is a new option to do so.

Now, through the Windows 10 Creators Update tool it is possible to open in full screen mode any type of universal applications such as the Edge browser or the Microsoft Store. For this, it will only be necessary to launch any application and make sure that its entire window is maximized. Now using a simple keyboard shortcut formed by the Windows + Shift + Enter keys will help us to show the application in full screen.

At the moment that we no longer want to show the application in full screen, we can return it to normal mode. This is something as simple as hovering the mouse along the upper edge of the screen, where a bar will appear with an icon represented by two diagonal arrows pointing to the other. This bar has the option to exit full screen mode just by clicking on it. If we minimize it, the moment we maximize the application again, it will run in full screen mode again.

Run games in full screen

Using a keyboard shortcut

The first and simplest method to display a game in full screen is to use the Alt + Enter keyboard shortcuts while playing. This method should work for most games , allowing us to switch between screen mode and full screen mode interchangeably. This shortcut works for DOSBox which is very common when playing old games. In contrast, some games use this keyboard shortcut for other functions, so it will be necessary to force full screen through the game menu.

Look in the games settings menu

Within games, especially those more modern, they usually incorporate their own area to manage their settings in the menu. In this section, it is likely that we will find the option to launch the game in Full Screen (Full Screeen). To do this, we must start the game and navigate to the video configuration section and verify that there is a display mode in the form of a drop-down. Here we must select the full screen mode. Once we are playing in full screen we can exit it, it is possible to press the Esc key to exit this mode or we will have to return to the configuration menu to choose another display method.

Set the Windows 10 screen scale to 100%

On some occasions we may not be able to view games in full screen if the display scale is not set to 100% . In order to configure it, we must press the keyboard shortcut “Windows + I” and the “Configuration” window will open.

Now we select the “System” tab and then click on “Screen”. Next, we scroll down and look for the “Scale and distribution” option, where we will find the “Change the size of text, applications and other elements” function. We will click on the drop-down menu and we will change it to 100%.

Run the game in Compatibility Mode

There are situations in which the game may not be compatible with Windows 10 full screen mode. To do this, we can try to run the games in compatibility mode to try to solve the problem.

To do this, we right-click on the game’s shortcut and select “Properties”. Now we must click on the “Compatibility” tab and visualize the “Compatibility mode” section. Here we must select the box “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and select a previous version of Windows that will appear in the drop-down menu. Finally, click on “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes.

Enter a command in the shortcut

Another option that we can try to use to run games in Full Screen is using a shortcut . On it we will have to press the right mouse button and then select the “Properties” option from the context menu. In the “Destination” area we find the path of the game executable. To get them to run at Full Screen it will only be necessary to increase it by means of an additional command : “w”, “window”, “windowmode”.

Unlike consoles, where there is only one possible configuration, when we play a PC game we can choose from a wide variety of different options depending on our tastes, or the capacity of our computer. For example, we can choose the level of graphics we want to see, limit the FPS, apply different types of antialiasing, and much more. And, although most of these options are usually adjusted automatically according to the hardware of our PC, there is an option in all games that usually drives users crazy: the screen mode.

The screen mode of a game is, roughly speaking, how we are going to see the game on the monitor. We can show it in the form of a window, as if it were another program that we are running on the PC, or let the GPU take control of the monitor, give it maximum priority , and execute it above everything else in what is known. as “full screen”.

Each of these modes has its advantages and disadvantages . And, although some users may not notice a difference, for others it may be the option that allows them to experience optimal gameplay or experience performance issues.

Let’s take a look at what each of these settings looks like, how it affects gameplay, and the benefits (or potential issues) of each.

Window mode: the mode to avoid

The first of the modes that we are going to see is the ” window mode “. When we activate this option within the settings of any game, what we do is create a window, like that of any program (such as the file explorer, or the Internet browser), and within it process the entire game.

When running in this mode, we are not giving absolute priority to the game, so Windows continues to run other processes in the background. Microsoft keeps the desktop in memory, and all open programs continue with their scheduled CPU cycles as if we were working with them, even if we have the game window selected.

This has some advantages, such as being able to switch from the game to any other program instantly and seamlessly, and even have the game and another program open at the same time. And we can also resize the size of the window so that it occupies the space we want. But it also has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to performance. By having to keep the desktop and other processes in the background, games will suffer from constant lag and FPS drops . Also, we will be limited in screen resolution, and some technologies, such as FPS capping, will not work. Finally, in this mode we will not be able to configure many aspects of the monitor from the game, such as resolution, brightness, contrast or FPS. These changes should be made from the monitor itself, or from the GPU configuration software.

We should only choose this mode when we are going to perform several tasks at the same time on the PC (for example, be working and playing at the same time), since it will allow us to have both windows in view at the same time. If we are only going to play, and we do not have to use other programs, it is better not to choose it for the reasons that we have already mentioned.

Borderless window: somewhat better, but with the same problems

On the other hand, we have the ” borderless window ” option. In this mode, what we achieve is that the game runs in a window, but it will have the same size as the monitor, so it will seem that it is running in full screen mode, even though it is not.

Among the windows that we find in this mode we can highlight the possibility that the game occupies the entire space of the screen so that there are no elements on it that can mislead us, but if we need to change at any time to another program we can do it using the Alt + Tab shortcut, or by pressing the Win key to display the start menu. Also, if we use several screens, we can leave the game on one, and have the other one available to show any program.

But, as in windowed mode, this has the same drawbacks. For example, Windows will continue to keep all open programs running, and constantly refresh the desktop. Therefore, we may experience FPS drops and serious performance issues while playing the game. In addition, as in the previous case, we will not be able to configure the resolution, brightness, contrast or FPS of the game.

Full screen mode: take advantage of 100% of your PC

Finally, we come to the recommended mode whenever we are going to play: full screen mode. When we activate this mode, what we are doing is that the graph takes full control of the screen. In this way, we can change the resolution of the game (even above the resolution of the screen thanks to the DSR), raise or lower the brightness of the screen, the contrast, or apply different limitations to the FPS of the game (or eliminate the limitations for the GPU to process the frames without restrictions). We can also use technologies such as V-Sync or G-Sync. When we activate this mode, the desktop is also freed from memory, leaving all the resources available to the game, which translates into greater stability, better performance and more FPS.

However, we can also run into some drawbacks when using this mode. For example, the task of switching between applications while playing is complicated. Also, in this mode, if we don’t have a screen with a lot of Hz, it is easy for problems to appear in the game such as stuttering or tearing, problems that would be solved with V-Sync (in exchange for greater input lag).

Which one is better to play?

We recommend always using full screen mode . When we run a game, in the end what interests us the most is that the graphics have absolute control over it, and that we have the most available resources, in order to obtain the best performance. Thanks to this mode, we can also configure the brightness and contrast of the screen within the game and, when leaving, Windows will remain the same. However, we will not be able to switch to other programs. And if we do it forcefully (for example, with Control + Alt + Del), the game may crash and crash.

If full screen mode gives you problems, or you need to be able to use other programs at the same time, then we recommend using borderless window mode . This mode will allow us to take advantage of 100% of the screen, as if it were full screen, but having quick access to any other program open on the PC. The performance may not be ideal, but it’s the price you pay for being able to play games and use Windows multitasking.

I want to play Half Life 1 on a borderless window. If I enable “Run in a window” on the Video Options, the taskbar is still visible for some reason.

How can I play Half Life 1 (or any GoldSrc game) in a borderless window?

2 Answers 2

You can set the game to run in a borderless window through Steam:

Right-click the game in your library, go to ‘Properties. ‘, select ‘Set Launch Options‘, type in -windowed -noborder , and click ‘OK‘. Twice.

This should logically work for all Goldsource games.

For all games that can run in windowed mode (including Half Life 1), you can also consider using fullscreenizer, an open source tool that forces a chosen window to become fullscreen borderless.

This is especially useful for games that do support windowed mode but don’t support fullscreen borderless. But as Joachim pointed out, this specific game does. I personally use it for certain indie titles.

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Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged half-life .

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Last Updated June 15, 2021 By Johnny Salib 2 Comments

When I started playing Genshin Impact I got fairly annoyed with how the windowed system works as it seems like the way that things are coded or programmed in Genshin Impact are just far behind other video games.

I’ve personally been streaming Genshin Impact for a few months now and the reality is that the way that the Windowed System works on there is extremely frustrating as when using Streamlabs OBS I can’t actually access the chat overlay while playing it. This makes the issue of not having access to a Borderless Windowed function even more frustrating, as other streamers will know that this seems to be the only way players will be able to play a game while also being able to reply to chatters at the same time.

Now, I’m very well aware that hitting Alt+Enter will make Genshin Impact full-screen, but the reality is that even when you use this function when playing it can get frustrating due to Genshin Impact always minimizing whenever you switch screens, but what if I told you it didn’t actually have to be this way?

Well, this guide will let you know the easiest way to force your Genshin Impact game to open in a Borderless Windowed setting in order to keep the screen open when you switch tabs when using a dual monitor setup as well as how to force the borderless windowed screen to take on any size you need as often players are using monitors that do not have the aspect ratio that is available for them using the Genshin Impact default settings.

There are two ways a player will be able to open Genshin in Borderless Windowed, though I will let you know in advance that my preference is through steam because it’s much easier to get a grasp of and doesn’t give players as many problems as manually setting it up using the program file, nonetheless I will be covering how to get your full-screen Borderless Windowed in both methods just in case one doesn’t work for a player.

[NON-STEAM] HOW TO SET UP GENSHIN IMPACT BORDERLESS WINDOW ONLY USING WINDOWS

To begin players will have to locate their game file and must ensure that they are not editing the launcher file.

Players should be able to find the Game File in the following folder if they did not move the file or install it in a directory that is typical:

C:\Program Files\Genshin Impact\Genshin Impact Game

The file you are looking for is GenshinImpact.exe

Once players find GenshinImpact.exe they can right click the file and create a shortcut in order to place it anywhere on their desktop or in their launcher.

Players must then Right-click their shortcut and open “Properties” in order to access the game options they have access to.

Select the Shortcut tab and locate “Target” which is under the Target type and Target Location, here you can type in –popupwindow outside of the ” ” without using any quotations.

Players must now launch the game only by using this shortcut if they would like to have a borderless window, also allowing them to hit Alt+Enter to make their game Full-Screen.

HOW TO SET UP GENSHIN IMPACT BORDERLESS WINDOW ONLY USING STEAM

My preferred way of going about setting up a Borderless Window is by affecting the file using steam, simply because it is much easier to manage and launching games through steam is my typical way of getting ready for a Twitch Stream.

While the reality is that it might take you a bit more time to set things up using Steam, players have found much more success by using this method as Steam is more straight forward when it comes to finding the settings you need to alter.

To begin players must open Steam and click on the Games tab at the top of their Screen to select “Add a Non-Steam Game.”

A Browse launcher will now pop up for you to locate your file, which will most commonly be found here:

C:\Program Files\Genshin Impact\Genshin Impact Game

The file you are looking for is GenshinImpact.exe

Select Open and hit Add Selected Programs.

Now head back to your Steam Library and right click Genshin Impact and select Properties.

Once open players will see “Target”, “Start In” and below “Launch Options”.

Head to Launch options and type in –popupwindow.

Again, if players want full-screen they can still use Alt+Enter to access the full-screen.

HOW TO FIX GENSHIN IMPACT MINIMIZING WHEN YOU HAVE DUAL MONITORS

For players who are in the specific situation where they want to avoid having the game minimize every time they tab out or switch Windows they are going to want to complete the steps mentioned to force a Borderless Window and they will want to force their screen size to always be full-screen.

In order to do this, players will want to complete the steps above, but will also want to ensure that they put in the following commands as well -screen-width (ratio) -screen-height (ratio) with the dimensions that their monitor is.

For example, my full command is as follows for my screen:

-popupwindow -screen-width 2560 -screen-height 1440

Players will be able to check their screen resolution in their Display Settings on Windows however these are the most common for players who want to try things out on their own or cannot find their display settings

19-inch screen (standard ratio): 1280 x 1024 pixels

20-inch screen (standard ratio): 1600 x 1200 pixels

22-inch screen (widescreen): 1680 x 1050 pixels

24-inch screen (widescreen): 1900 x 1200 pixels

Note that there are some cases where these measurements are inaccurate, especially if a player has set up their computer with manual settings in order to get the graphics that they prefer for Window Sizes, so you may have some things to play around with, especially if you have an atypical monitor.

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About Johnny Salib

Johnny is a 20-something year old average gamer. His favourite games include Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Little Big Planet, Don’t Starve Together and League of Legends.

Johnny is also a sound designer/composer, recently becoming interested in video game soundtracks, and is a big animal enthusiast.

The menu video settings only allow for either fullscreen or windowed, but not borderless fullscreen or windowed fullscreen, which would be nice for me as I run a dual monitor setup. It is annoying to have to alt-tab out to the browser which then causes the game to minimize.

How can you run Genshin Impact in borderless windowed mode?

2 Answers 2

A non-Steam solution I’ve found:

  1. Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Genshin Impact\Genshin Impact Game path and locate the GenshinImpact.exe executable.
  2. Right-click to create a Shortcut to the executable.
  3. Right-click the Shortcut to open its properties
  4. In the Target field, append the string -popupwindow after whatever is currently inside the box.

Whenever you launch using the shortcut it should now start Genshin Impact in borderless windowed mode.

Make sure to press Alt + Enter when the game has launched.

This isn’t available in the game to my knowledge, but there is a workaround that the community has found that may work for you. If you have Steam installed on your PC:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Click “Games” in the top left corner, and in the submenu select “Add a Non-Steam Game.”
  1. A window will pop up, but don’t select the game from there. Instead, click on “Browse.

I have seen several games that have a video display mode that is windowed with no borders, at the same resolution as the desktop. It’s sometimes called “Borderless Windowed” mode, or “Maximized Fullscreen” mode. It seems to balance the trade-off between running in fullscreen, and running a game in windowed mode.

Fullscreen vs Windowed
A game in fullscreen mode fills your screen and is more immersive. Supposedly fullscreen mode provides better performance, but I don’t anything about that (nor have I recently observed better performance in fullscreen mode). The most common caveat is that your computer chokes momentarily if you alt-tab to go do something else. Playing in windowed mode allows you to switch to other tasks with no delay, or even multitask. Windowed mode also seems to be better for users using dual displays.

In Maximized Fullscreen mode, the game is in windowed mode, but the borders and title bar are removed and the resolution matches your desktop’s. In effect, it looks like you’re playing in fullscreen mode, but you can still switch to other applications with no delay. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me!

Multitasking is great if I happen to be respawning, waiting for a loading screen, or if I need to look up information about the game (like looking up quest info for MMOs). Clicking on the game pushes the other (naughty, immersion breaking) windows and the taskbar into the background, seamlessly filling the full screen.

Unfortunately most games don’t seem to include this feature yet. For the games that don’t, is there a way I can force this mode?

If you run your games or apps with the default settings, you might not be aware of multiple display modes. For example, most PC games are set to fullscreen mode, but you can change it to windowed or borderless mode. Also, you can view your web browser in fullscreen mode and improve your multitasking skills with the right mode.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between windowed, fullscreen, and borderless modes. So let’s see what they are and when you should use them.

What’s Windowed Mode?

Windowed mode is exactly what it sounds like. The app or game is running inside a window that doesn’t cover your whole screen. You can clearly see a well-defined border that separates the window from the rest of the environment.

In windowed mode, you can drag the app around the screen, resize it, and quickly have access to other applications. It’s easy to launch many apps or games and switch between them, especially if you have a multi-monitor setup.

What’s Fullscreen Mode?

When you’re running a game or app in fullscreen mode, it covers the entirety of your display. The whole focus is on the game, image, or program. You won’t be distracted by other apps or by the taskbar.

Fullscreen mode is usually the default display mode for most games that you play on your PC, Mac, Android, or iOS device. However, switching between tasks isn’t as quick and smooth since the computer prioritizes whatever is in fullscreen mode.

What’s Borderless Windowed Mode?

Borderless windowed mode, also known as borderless fullscreen mode, combines fullscreen and windowed mode to give you the best of both worlds. The game or app you’re running will look like it’s running in fullscreen mode since it’s covering your entire screen, but it’s actually a borderless window.

Essentially, you get the illusion of fullscreen mode and can still quickly switch to other programs. This is the best alternative to fullscreen mode particularly if you’re using more than one monitor. Borderless mode allows you to move your mouse seamlessly from one monitor to another, even when playing computer games.

When to Use Fullscreen Mode

Run your apps and games in fullscreen mode when you want to focus all your attention and computer resources on that one program. Windows, Mac, and other operating systems will prioritize whatever is running in fullscreen mode. So if your PC or mobile device needs a bit of extra juice to run a game, stick to the fullscreen view.

The major downside of fullscreen mode is that it’s not that great for multitasking. It locks you into whatever game or program you’re running. You’ll have to use the Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut and wait for the computer to minimize your app. This can be a pain if you’re running a demanding game, and it gets even worse if you’re running a dual-monitor setup.

When your app or game is in fullscreen view, your mouse cursor is stuck on the main display. You can’t just move it from one monitor to another, so you won’t be able to watch a YouTube video while waiting to get through a loading screen unless you tab out of the game. This is where borderless mode comes in.

When to Use Borderless Mode

As mentioned earlier, borderless mode looks like fullscreen mode. You can’t tell the difference visually. However, stick to borderless mode over fullscreen mode if you use multiple monitors. You can access your displays and launch various apps while your game or work stays on the main display. But, there is a downside to borderless mode, depending on your device.

Most operating systems like Windows, for example, will continue dedicating resources to all background processes. This means you might get less performance and experience input lag if you’re running a game or a demanding app. If you need to squeeze some extra FPS for your game, try fullscreen mode to see if it makes a difference. The frame rate might improve depending on how the game is optimized.

When to Use Windowed Mode

Windowed mode is usually used when working with apps or switching between folders and browser pages. It’s efficient and allows you to resize all the windows and fit them on your screen. It’s great for multitasking, especially in Windows 10 and 11 with snap layouts.

You might want to avoid windowed mode when you run games because of frame rate drops and even input lag, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless for gaming. If you’re a fan of retro games, you’ll sometimes have to use windowed mode. Old PC games don’t work well in fullscreen mode on high-resolution monitors, but they can work in windowed mode.

How to Switch Between Display Modes

You can’t use a single display mode for everything because it’s not practical. Each mode has its strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, changing the display mode is simple.

When it comes to most games, you can change the display mode from its settings menu. Just look for “Display Mode” in the Graphics or Game section and change the parameter from the dropdown menu.

You can even change the display mode for some games before running the actual game. This is usually the case with MMORPGs because they have a launcher that gives you access to most game settings.

Sometimes, you might want to quickly change between fullscreen and windowed mode without going through various menus. On a Windows PC, you can do this easily with the Alt + Enter keyboard shortcut, although it doesn’t work in all games and apps. As for browsers, you can press F11 instead.

Each Mode Has Its Uses

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or a multitasker, you’ll find all display modes useful. Each of them excels somewhere, so set your display settings based on your requirements.

Nicolae is a Jack of all trades technology writer with a focus on hardware, programming languages, and AI image-processing software. Over the last five years, he has ghostwritten numerous tech how-to guides and books on a variety of topics ranging from Linux to C# programming and game development. Nicolae loves everything that has to do with technology and his goal is to share his knowledge and experience with others. Read Nicolae’s Full Bio