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How to turn on hardware acceleration on your PC

Hardware acceleration is an important feature that allows you to use not only the computer’s main CPU but also the graphics card processor when performing complex graphics processing tasks. As a result, performance is increased and the PC is able to perform even very resource-intensive processes. For example, almost all new games necessarily require hardware acceleration, which is easily supported by most modern video adapters. However, in some cases, conflicts may arise during software installation, resulting in messages such as “Hardware acceleration is disabled or not supported by the driver”. Let’s try to understand the causes of such malfunctions in Windows 7/10.

How to check if hardware acceleration is enabled

As noted, all the latest graphics cards work in hardware-accelerated graphics mode by default, but of course only if the drivers are installed correctly.

How to check whether hardware acceleration is turned on/off in Windows 7

In Windows 7 you should do the following to check whether hardware acceleration is turned on:

  • Right-click on the desktop and select “Screen Resolution” in the menu.
  • Next, click the “Advanced Settings”.
  • In the window that opens, go to the “Diagnostics” tab. Let’s look at the state of the “Change Parameters” button. If it is not active, it means that the hardware acceleration is already enabled, and the driver doesn’t allow to manipulate it (disable or change the level).
  • If the button can be clicked, then click it and go to the graphical adapter acceleration settings window. Move the slider to the desired side, thereby setting the level of hardware acceleration. For maximum performance, it is recommended to set the switch to the far right position.

How to check whether hardware acceleration is turned on/off in Windows 10

Windows 10 has no “Diagnostics” tab in the monitor adapter properties, so enabling/disabling hardware acceleration can only be controlled through the registry. As with Windows 7, acceleration is active by default in Windows 10, so you don’t need to make any changes to the registry.

The right way to make sure that hardware acceleration works are to use the DirectX library package.

  • From the Start menu, go to the Run window and type the command dxdiag.
  • In the “DirectX Diagnostic Tools” window, select the “Screen” tab.
  • Check that the parameters “DirectDraw acceleration”, “Direct3D acceleration” and “AGP texture acceleration” have the value “On”. If any of them is off, you need to look for the cause, and that is what we will do.

Causes of hardware acceleration errors

The most common question users ask themselves is how to enable hardware acceleration of the video adapter when they get errors when launching games or graphics applications. And the reason for such errors does not lie in the turned-off acceleration function, as such. The source of the problems may be:

  • Outdated (incorrectly installed) video card drivers;
  • Incorrect installation of the DirectX package;
  • Lack of required Windows 7/10 operating system updates.

Let’s go through all the points.

Checking the graphic card drivers

Normal work of the video adapter is possible with the appropriate drivers. And even if the necessary software seems to be installed, there is no guarantee that there will not be problems with hardware acceleration. In order to avoid them, you should regularly update the drivers.

  • Let’s go to the Device Manager via the Start menu or the Control Panel.
  • Next, open the “Video Adapters” branch and make sure there is no yellow icon with an exclamation mark next to the graphics adapter. If there is, there is definitely a problem with the drivers and you need to install them.
  • Right-click on the video card name and select “Properties“.
  • On the “Driver” tab, look at the information about the driver. If the version is old enough (the “Actualization date” line), it’s better to update it.
  • Press the “Refresh” button and choose one of the two search modes – automatic or manual.
  • If the automatic search fails, go to the official website of the video card manufacturer, download the latest version of the driver and install it manually. The same should be done when there are no drivers at all.

How to update DirectX

Modern games often require the latest version of DirectX, which is responsible for rendering graphical objects. If you do not have the correct version, you will get an error message, but as a rule, it says that the problem is in the outdated DirectX package. If the message refers to the disabled hardware acceleration of graphics, then, most likely, some DLL-files of the library are lost somehow, or it was originally deployed. This is possible if the installation wasn’t made from the official distribution kit.

To install or upgrade DirectX go to the Microsoft site and download the latest version of the package. Then install it and restart your computer. If the cause of the problem was in DirectX, then after these actions the hardware acceleration should turn on.

How to disable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome

You need to find the “System” subsection in Settings and uncheck the “Use hardware acceleration (if available)” option.

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