The Best Custom Windows 10 ISO for Gaming

Let us be honest – Windows 10 is nowhere near perfect for gaming and Windows 11 is Windows 10 but with a facelift and even more telemetry and components that will inevitably take away some of your FPS.

There are TONS and I mean legitimately TONS of Windows components, services, and apps that you will never use or touch but which are sitting idly in the background consuming your precious CPU cycles that could be otherwise dedicated to increasing your FPS and reducing your input lag.

Be it because your PC is freezing and your CPU/GPU usage is through the roof, or because you own an older piece of hardware that simply can’t keep up with modern Windows 10, installing a custom Windows ISO is a great solution for your troubles.

Understanding What You Are Getting Into

A custom Windows 10 ISO does not mean that magically you will now have 300FPS instead of 30 in your games. You are still bottlenecked by your hardware but a cleaner and slimmer Windows install will give your hardware the leeway to spend more time on your game instead of running Windows services.

It is also important to understand that depending on how custom you are going with your Windows ISO you will end up with a system with huge chunks of Windows stripped in the name of latency and FPS.

windows settings

Before installing any custom Windows 10 ISO do your research and figure out what components are missing and what issues are known to happen with these custom installs. Usually, this means scrolling through all of the Discord channels of the said custom Win 10 install and looking in the support chats, etc.

There will be a lot of troubleshooting and figuring things out involved in the process of fully setting up your custom ISO after install so if you are not ready to do that, or are afraid/too lazy to install the ISO again in case something breaks fully then this is NOT a good idea for you. There will be one custom Windows ISO that is generally 99.9% as stable as a normal build so I would recommend you go with that and nothing beyond it (Ghost Spectre).

General Understanding of Different Windows 10 Builds

Another important aspect of knowing which custom ISO to get and which ones you should stay away from is directly related to how old the custom build is. The general rule of thumb is that the older the Windows build the better the latency will be since you will benefit from fewer services, telemetry, and no Meltdown/Spectre patches.

At the same time, the older the build, the fewer components it will have resulting in a lot of services you currently use being broken or unusable. Most custom Windows 10 installs are based on the following builds: 1709, 1809, 21H1/21H2.

The main recommendation is to stay away from 1709 (FoxOS, RekOS, EVA) builds if you have no clue about custom Windows installs or simply do not want to troubleshoot basic issues that might arise from these builds missing components you might otherwise use. If you however are comfortable with troubleshooting and dealing with problems then these builds will result in the best latency and inputs you can currently get.

A lot of the 1709 builds circulating on the internet could also be discontinued as well since a lot of software simply does not work with them anymore so be careful what you are installing.

Which Custom Windows 10 ISO Should You Go For?

This is a complex question because each ISO tends to favor different games and different hardware as shown in this video made by Derek, therefore, your decision should be purely based on your personal testing.

Another great idea is to check The World of PC Discord channel called kevs-w10-charts where you have a handy thread made by Kev. He spent quite a lot of time so I would encourage you to join the Discord and take a look at his findings regarding which custom Windows 10 ISOs performed the best in his testing.

Putting together all of the information I have been gathering about custom Windows 10 ISOs and after testing some of them for myself the general recommendations would be as follows:

Ghost Spectre (21H1/21H2) – This is one of the most mainstream custom ISO builds for Windows 10. This ISO does not necessarily have a lot of tweaks done for FPS and latency but it is the closest to a normal Windows 10 install, so the chances of you breaking things are slim. If you are a novice this should be the first custom Windows you install and then once you gain more experience you can go further into the optimizations black hole.

FoxOS/KernelOS (1709/1809) – If you care about latency the most and want stable FPS in games FoxOS/KernelOS are a great choice. FoxOS has builds for both 1709 and 1809 while KernelOS is 1809. These are extremely tweaked and stripped Windows installs so a lot of the components are missing or are not working. It would be a good idea to check all of their Discord channels to see if these versions are compatible with the software you are using daily (Adobe products might not work, Microsoft accounts, etc). Overall superb latency and FPS in games at the cost of extra troubleshooting and certain missing components.

ggOS/ReviOS/AtlasOS/Xtreme Gamer’s v2 (21H1/21H2) – These are all extremely tweaked out and stripped out custom Windows 10 versions of the newest builds available. All of the creators of these builds recommend NOT doing any independent tweaking outside of the post-install folders with tweaks that have been specifically designed to work with that custom ISO.

Outside of the post-install procedures trying to further tweak the ISO usually results in complete failure and the need to reinstall the ISO. Unlike older builds (1709/1809) that are tweaked for the sake of latency, these newer builds work with a lot more modern services and software and usually cause fewer issues with incompatibilities. (My second recommendation for newer people to tweaking would be ggOS).

A lot of these custom ISOs come with their own power plans and specific tweaks so to truly understand which one is better for your hardware you will need to test all of them individually.

From general testing, we can infer that ReviOS is generally better for Apex Legends, meanwhile, ggOS performs well in Fornite. KernelOS seems to play well with CS:GO (probably because of the older build) on my machine resulting in +40FPS moving from one of the custom 21H1/21H2 builds.

ggos testing
kernelos testing

These findings might not match with your own experience therefore once again I would recommend you check The World of PC Discord channel called kevs-w10-charts where you have a lot of data comparing different custom ISOs made by Kev and also check out Derek’s YouTube channel where he also compares different custom Windows 10 builds.

You should make your individual decision based on what games you play (it seems that different ISOs impact FPS differently for games), are you aiming for max FPS and smoothness or minimum input lag (usually tweaks to decrease input lag affect FPS stability negatively), and how much are you ready to troubleshoot (older builds 1709/1809 miss compatibility with certain newer software).

Once you have made your decision considering all of the data, you are ready to move to your new fully custom, fully tweaked out Windows 10 ISO.

About The Author

Chris (vile_is_dead)

Custom Windows ISO enjoyer, FPS optimizer, and aim improvement enthusiast. Will disassemble all of his peripherals (and sometimes PC parts) to mod them even if all of them work perfectly fine. Discord/Twitter: vile_is_dead

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Osodra
Osodra
2 years ago

Nice! I’m using Spectre OS first time tho. Didn’t like the idea at first, to use a custom OS but, heard a lot of good things in regards of the Spectre ‘team'(?) so decided to give it a go.

90Musab
90Musab
2 years ago

Hey! Do you know if my laptop that is from Q1 2020 with a dual core processor, can run builds that are 1803? (Not 1809) Thanks!

XbitLabs Team
Editor
2 years ago
Reply to  90Musab

Hey, your laptop should be fine running 1803 but be careful because certain games require 1809 or higher to use voice chat and other features (Phasmophobia requires Windows 2004 for voice recognition drivers)

Chuck Schartz
Chuck Schartz
1 year ago

How the heck do you download any of these. All the links just go to discord accounts with no download links.

Don Workinson
Don Workinson
1 year ago

Very good article. Have you tried Rek OS 0.4 [1709] for CSGO? It’s been a while since I tried ReviOS and dont remember how good it was. Rek have the lowest latency for me vs the rest on the list. P.S I been using GG the most.

Scottie
Scottie
1 year ago

Hey Chris, interesting article…

I’m looking for a custom Win10 ISO with a focus on audio performance since i will use it for music production… any suggestions? GPU optimizations are good anyway because of working on audio for video productions.

Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
1 year ago

Hey Scottie, I am somewhat in your boat . I am a professional audio engineer, music producer, old school vinyl DJ, and an avid gamer. I also now do a fair bit of livestreaming to twitch combining a bunch of live synths/ drums, with a cpl tech 12s and 3 cdjs, and I run a very resource heavy visual show over that which i control via midi live as I play. I have been using mucking about trying to figure out the best combo of mods and tweaks to allow me rock solid audio dependability (I mix and master professionally… Read more »

TheAstonishor
TheAstonishor
1 year ago

Hey, I am also thinking to install a custom windows 10 os. I am thinking to install atlas or revi os. But my question is, Will i get any driver installation issues? I am in windows 7 right now… Will the custom win 10 os be faster than windows 7? I mostly play offline games..

Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
1 year ago

^This!

Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
Christopher Jackson (Ravetank / Jacksonstrut)
1 year ago

“Custom Windows ISO enjoyer, FPS optimizer, and aim improvement enthusiast. Will disassemble all of his peripherals (and sometimes PC parts) to mod them even if all of them work perfectly fine. Follow him on Twitch.”

^^That’s amazing! <3 Def just followed you on twitch based on that tag line 😀

Daniel Best
Daniel Best
1 year ago

Windows is by far the biggest patchwork software on the planet. No other product is tinkered with as much. Due to the basic structure of the system, Windows will always have problems with security, performance, and stability. The only reason I use it is for games. I hope that Valve, with their SteamOS, and all the other Linux developers, will soon be ahead of the game in this regard.

ioanpcg
ioanpcg
1 year ago

windows 11 lite by sasnet its the best, belive me.

Mr. Joo
Mr. Joo
1 year ago

What is the best Windows for Valorant

TRaha
TRaha
1 year ago

I want to get as low latency as possible which one would you recommend? i just play valorant and i really want it to give me an edge

arwin
arwin
1 year ago
Reply to  TRaha

try ggOS bro,i only play valorant too and im i get low fps on reviOS

YAN
YAN
1 year ago

You should use https://www.hltv.org/blog/11862/one-of-the-best-method-to-check-your-fps-in-csgo-new for frame rate test, I think it is currently the most accurate way.

avic
avic
11 months ago

gg os discord not working have can i finde download link

100Ninja
100Ninja
11 months ago

Which is better GG OS or Atlas OS?

Platipus
Platipus
11 months ago

Unable to decide which one is better for low end pc Atlas OS or GGOS . ?
Pls tell your opinions about it

Platipus
Platipus
11 months ago
wazham
wazham
11 months ago

which custom os uses the least of ram? that is what i am prioritizing over everything else

wazham
wazham
11 months ago

can you make a list from top to bottom where the top of custom os’es uses the most ram,

wazham
wazham
10 months ago

what do you think about windows 7 today in 2023 versus all of these. providing using multiple user profiles to limit and organize tasks done to avoid malware and viruses etc

Shivendra
Shivendra
10 months ago

Hi, I am on amd dual core and my laptop hangs some time after proper startup and I mainly use it for daily livestyle purposes but it still lags on playing video higher than 720p or in 60 fps .
so is it possible to optimize it by installing a custom windows (I’ve used dual boot but new in custom windows).

Bladeson
Bladeson
9 months ago

For large scale fps games like Arma and Squad.. What is the best? XOS has been bad for me in both squad and valorant. GGOS was good. Someone told me that ReviOS is the way, its a CPU intensive game anyways

n00b
n00b
6 months ago

i was thinking of grabbing a microsoft surface go 1-2 with 8gb ram for $100 or less off ebay. which of these operating systems would you recommend and any videos to show how to install it? its just to get school work done, and i think it will be a good idea to gift it to my cuzins who are poor in dominican republic. so it would be dope to get like a cheap $100 surface go 10″ inch screen that they can use like a computer and get stuff done like they would on a serious computer.

n00b
n00b
6 months ago

i think i saw partial of a video where i may have to connect a mouse n keyboard at first. but i dont have any other choice because the windows 10 pro that comes with it will eat up like 7gb off rip. and i dont understand what you mean by “would most likely brick most of the functionality on that device”. in additional this would be a test to try maybe all roms, maybe make 20gb partitions? or 25gb? and try to install as many and see which one works the best?

Giovanni
Giovanni
4 months ago

for fortnite wich is better, ghost spectre or xos?