I think part of (or the entire) issue with Windows 10 is the Desktop Window Manager.
As I understate is, dwm.exe acts as an intermediary between your video card and your display. Without DWM, your video card is drawing the images on the monitor itself directly. With DWM, your video card is telling DWM what to draw, DWM is then modifying that image, and then drawing it on the screen. This is done so DWM can add fancy little animations and drop shadows and what have you.
In Windows 7 you could turn this off, but starting in Windows 8, you cannot. DWM is always present, and I suspect that DWM screwing with the image before drawing it on the screen is introducing whatever is causing us issues. It explains why Windows 7 can be good and Windows 10 be bad with identical hardware and drivers.
There are unofficial ways to disable DWM on Windows 10, I did it in a virtual machine, and it certainly makes a difference to me. I wouldn't say it makes Win10 perfect but it is a noticeable improvement. If anyone else wants to try it, here are the steps:
WARNING: ONLY TRY THIS IN A DISPOSABLE ENVIRONMENT LIKE A VM. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
- Have a Windows 10 installation media (DVD or USB stick) handy
- Reboot the PC and boot off the installation media
- When you get to the screen where you would pick your language and install Windows, hit Shift + F10. This opens a command prompt
- Change to your boot drive -
cd /d c:
- Go to your system32 folder -
- Rename dwm.exe -
ren dwm.exe dwm.ex_
- Replace dwm.exe with rundll32.exe -
cp rundll32.exe dwm.exe
- Rename WIndows.UI.Logon.dll -
ren Windows.UI.Logon.dll Windows.UI.Logon.dl_
- Rename C:\Windows\SystemApps -
ren C:\Windows\SystemApps C:\Windows\SystemAppsRenamed
You now have DWM off. Warning, this does result in a buggy, glitchy Windows 10. You cannot use the taskbar or start menu, I recommend downloading StartIsBack and installing that, that gives you those back. You will also get a lot of "phantom" windows popping up that you can't close, if you click the "Show Desktop" button on the far right of the taskbar, they will vanish.
However, things still work, I was able to download Chrome and browse the web and run programs and stuff. None of the UWM System Apps will work, so things like Personalization will be unreachable, so set everything up how you like it before you do this.
Again If you do try this, PLEASE do it in a virtual machine only for testing purposes. This could easily cause your OS to brick. But, from playing around with it, I did see significant improvement in symptoms, which points to dwm.exe playing a big part in this. It also explains why Windows versions can cause different symptoms as DWM is a core part of the OS that I'm sure gets worked on and updated per release.
In my case, something DWM is doing seems to be impacting my ability for my eyes to focus on the image correctly, throwing off my ability for my eyes to focus at the same spot. This cause the muscles in my face to try and move my eyes aggressively to restore focus, which causes pain and tension around facial nerves which then progresses to migraine.