Disable Hardware Acceleration in Windows 10/8/7

In simple terms, the term Hardware Acceleration means using computer’s hardware for performing a certain task and function faster than would be possible using a software. This also allows for smooth rendering of graphics. In most processors instructions are executed sequentially i.e. one by one but you can perform them faster if you modify the same process a bit using some technique. The idea is to move all graphics and text rendering from the Central Processing Unit to the Graphics Processing Unit. The idea is to speed up graphic performance and the rendering by moving it from the CPU to the GPU, thereby getting better performance.

Sometimes loosely called as graphics accelerators or floating-point accelerators, hardware accelerators can improve the performance of an application significantly. The term Hardware Accelerator has now been loosely replaced by more common and less descriptive terms such as graphics cards and video cards.

While the settings are best left at their default values in Windows, you can if you wish turn off or disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration or reduce Hardware Acceleration. Turning off the Hardware Acceleration  completely will run the application in software rendering mode’.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

The Hardware Acceleration tab in Windows allows you to specify the performance of the graphics hardware present on your PC. To disable or reduce Hardware Acceleration in Windows 8 or Windows 7, first right-click on the Desktop and from the context menu, choose the Personalization option.

Then, select Display from the left panel of the window and click on ‘Change display settings’.

Next, click on ‘Advanced settings’.

turn off Hardware Acceleration

This will open the ‘Troubleshoot’ tab. If your current display driver does not allow you to change the settings, you will see the Change settings button grayed out, and you will not be able to change the settings.

disable hardware acceleration

Advt

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If your current display driver allows you to change the settings, you will be able to see the Change settings button. Click on it.

disable hardware acceleration

Now, in the Windows that appears on your computer screen, move the pointer to the extreme left to disable or reduce the hardware acceleration and click on OK. If you are having problems with your graphics hardware, these settings can help you troubleshoot display-related problems.

That’s it!

This is how you can disable or change the level of hardware acceleration in Windows  8/7.

Disable hardware acceleration button greyed out

If you find that the option is grayed out, check if your hardware permits it and ensure that you have updated drivers. You may also see if DWORD DisableHWAcceleration exists in the following registry key and that it has a value 0.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Avalon.Graphics\

If it does not exist, create a new DWORD DisableHWAcceleration. A value of 1 disables hardware acceleration. A value of 0 enables hardware acceleration, provided the system meets hardware acceleration requirements.

You can use the above Registry method to disable hardware acceleration in Windows 10.

The new settings could not be saved to registry

The new settings could not be saved to registry

If you receive Unexpected error, The new settings could not be saved to registry message box, then you may try the following:

  1. Visit the manufacturers website to download and install the latest drivers
  2. Run Display Quality Troubleshooter
  3. Run Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter.

How to enable or disable Hardware Acceleration in Internet Explorer and and how to turn off Hardware Graphics Acceleration in Office may also interest you.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.