How to Disable Hardware Acceleration

Every now and then, we encounter a program or a series of programs that take up a whole lot of system resources. One of Windows’s ways of coping with resource-hogging apps is using a feature called hardware acceleration. What it does is get hardware to do the software’s work.

However, this might make the software unstable, e.g. more prone to crashes. That’s why it is a good idea to disable it in some cases. Continue reading to find out how to prevent it from affecting your computer.

Disabling Hardware Acceleration in Windows 7 and 8

Unlike Windows 10, Windows 7 and 8 have an easy way of disabling hardware acceleration:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and choose “Personalize.”
  2. In the “Personalization” menu, click on the “Display” button. It’s at the bottom of the sidebar to the left.
  3. At the top of the sidebar in the “Display” window, you’ll see the “Change display settings” link. Click on it.
  4. Select “Advanced settings.”
    Change settings
  5. Open the “Troubleshoot” tab.
  6. Click on “Change settings.” Keep in mind that you need to be logged in as the computer’s administrator.
  7. The “Display Adapter Troubleshooter” window will pop up. Move the “Hardware acceleration” slider all the way to the left to disable it.
  8. Click “OK” on all windows you’ve opened to save the changes.
  9. Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Alternative Method That Also Works in Windows 10

If you can’t access the troubleshooter for any reason or if you’re using Windows 10, try using this method:

  1. Press together Windows + R keys on your keyboard and type “regedit” into the text box and hit “OK.”
  2. Now that you’re in the Registry Editor, look in the sidebar to the left, you’ll see lots of folders. Go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER.” From there, open “Software.” Finally, go to “Microsoft.”
  3. Back on the right side of the Editor, you should go to the “Avalon.Graphics” sub-key. It’s under “Microsoft.”
  4. Check if there’s a “DWORD” value called “DisableHWAcceleration.” Ideally, it will be there, with its value set to 0. Double-click on it to modify it, change the value to 1 and click the “OK” button.
  5. If it’s not on the list, right click on empty space in the Registry Editor’s right half of the window and select the New option, and then select “DWORD (32-bit) value.”
  6. Name it “DisableHWAcceleration” and then double-click on it to modify it and change its value to 1.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Disabling Hardware Acceleration in Google Chrome

  1. Open Chrome and go to the Menu by clicking on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner. You can also type “chrome://settings” into the search bar.
  2. Click the “Advanced” drop-down menu and then “System.”
  3. Look for the “Use hardware acceleration when available” option and switch it off.
  4. Restart the browser for it to take effect.

The Registry Editor Alternative

The same Registry Editor method for disabling the system’s hardware acceleration can be used to do so for Chrome:

  1. Open Run by pressing Windows + R, type “regedit,” and click on “OK” to open the Registry Editor.
  2. In the left half of the windows, go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE,” proceed to “SOFTWARE,”Policies,”Google,” and, finally, “Chrome.”
    Note: If you don’t have “Google” and “Chrome” folders, create them by right-clicking on the Policies folder and selecting create new key.
  3. Right-click on “Chrome,” choose “New,” and select the “DWORD 32-bit value” again.
  4. Name the value “HardwareAccelerationModeEnabled.” This time, setting the value to 0 disables it, while setting it to 1 enables it.
  5. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Disabling Hardware Acceleration in Mozilla Firefox

Certain programs, such as Firefox, have a hardware acceleration setting of their own:

  1. Start Firefox and open the menu in the right-hand corner by clicking on the three panes tab and select “Options“. You can also type “about:preferences” into the Search bar and hit Enter.
  2. Now, in the “General” tab of the “Options” pages that Firefox takes you to, scroll down and locate the “Performance” section.
  3. Uncheck the “Use recommended performance settings” box. This will, in turn, reveal a new option, called “Use hardware acceleration when available.” Uncheck it to disable hardware acceleration.
  4. Restart the Mozilla browser for the changes to take effect.

Disabling Hardware Acceleration in Microsoft Office

All recent Microsoft Office versions also let you disable the hardware acceleration. This might help with some bugs and glitches inside the suite.

  1. Open an Office program and click on “Options” located on the home screen or by opening the “File” menu and selecting “Options.”
  2. Next, select the “Advanced” tab.
  3. Scroll down and locate the “Display” section. Now, find the “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” option and enable it by clicking its checkbox. If you’re using PowerPoint, also disable the “Slide Show hardware graphics acceleration” option, which is just under the previous one.

The Registry Editor Alternative

  1. Open Run by pressing Windows + R, then type “regedit,” and click on “OK” to open the Registry Editor.
  2. In the Editor’s left part, go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER, open “Software,” go to “Microsoft,” and then “Office.” The folder you’re going to open next depends on the version of Office you’re using. For Office 2010, it’s going to be named “14.0,” for 2013 “15.0,” for 2016 “16.0,” and for 2019 “18.0.” Whichever you open, go to the “Common” folder from there.
  3. Right-click on the folder, choose “Create,” and select “Key.” Label it “Graphics.”
  4. In the right-hand part of the window, with the “Graphics” open, create a “DWORD 32-bit value” and call it “DisableHardwareAcceleration.”
  5. Since you want this enabled, give it a value of 1 in the “Graphics” Key.Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

Fighting Against Bugs

While hardware acceleration is a handy way to take some load off the CPU and transfer it to the rest of the hardware, it’s not always a good idea to keep it enabled because it may cause unexpected bugs.

Did disabling hardware acceleration solve your problem? What was the problem you were facing? Let us know in the comments below.

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