How to run RGB / overclocking software alongside Vanguard

There is a way to run your necessary programs alongside Vanguard

VALORANT’s closed beta launched with a controversial anti-cheat system called vanguard.

As soon as players installed VALORANT on their system they found out that most of their programs are not playing nice with Vanguard. The community has been complaining for some time that Vanguard is way too intrusive for an anti-cheat system. Worst of all, some of the most commonly used applications like RGB controllers or overclocking software are not running properly whenever Vanguard is running in the background.

Reddit user namazso came up with an easy to understand guide that will help you to use your RGB or overclocking software while vanguard is still running in the Background. This guide should help you mitigate some of the frustrations that players are facing while playing Riot’s new tactical FPS. Having said all that, there is still a good reason why Vanguard blocks some of the commonly used programs.

A few things to make sure before going ahead:

  • You can’t use this for cheating
  • This will only work on Windows 10 Pro or better, sorry Home users

There are still ways to use your most used programs while still being eligible to play VALORANT on the side. But there are certain things that you need to know before you can understand what is going on here.

Vanguard
Image credit: namazso

What is Virtualization Based Security?

Virtualization Based Security, or VBS for short, is a Windows security feature, that uses the aid of the Hyper-V Hypervisor to protect against various dangerous things, like overwriting protected MSRs, control registers, mapping kernel memory into user-mode, etc. Essentially this is what Vanguard wants to achieve too, however protecting against this in a generic way and not blacklisting like Vanguard requires a hypervisor, which Riot won’t make, unlike Microsoft.

What does this have to do with Vanguard?

Vanguard doesn’t block loading blacklisted drivers if VBS is enabled, because they are harmless that way. If someone (eg. a cheater) would try to abuse these drivers while running VBS, they’d just get bug checked instantly by the hypervisor.

Doesn’t this mean my legit software won’t work either under VBS?

No, because legitimate overclocking / RGB / you name it software only accesses parts it’s supposed to access and aren’t protected, like device memory, reading temperature and performance registers, etc.

Virtualization? Doesn’t this affect my performance?

If you have a CPU made in the past few years, your performance hit should be less than about 3 or so percent on average. For comparison, Intel vulnerability mitigations cost far more.

How do I enable this?

Go to this link here on Microsoft’s official website to enable this feature. Depending on your config, you might already have it enabled.

While Vanguard is a very intrusive anti-cheat system, it is still far more forward-looking than most other solutions that are out right now. Nobody wants to deal with cheaters in a multiplayer lobby. In order to achieve that Riot has invested a lot of resources in this system. Although it is not a perfect solution by any means as it blocks some of the most commonly used programs. With more tweaks in the future, Riot should be able to make vanguard a more robust system than it is today. Hopefully, most of the problems that players are facing will be solved during the closed beta phase of the game.

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