How to turn off Hardware Acceleration in different applications?

Have you been facing a strange performance issues on your operating system or even on your applications? A few such issues that can be annoying can include lagging, a few strange issues which affect your device performance. In most cases, it is likely to be the case of hardware acceleration. So, how to turn off Hardware Acceleration on specific applications or OS?

If you work on a laptop with a GPU on it or in the field of video processing, high-end gaming or Artificial Intelligence, you must have heard about Hardware Acceleration. And even if you are not aware of the term but have a computer with a GPU on it, it makes sense to learn what it does, where it is advantageous and when it can cause a problem.

Before we can understand how to turn off hardware acceleration in each of the different applications and systems, let us understand what precisely Hardware Acceleration is.

What is Hardware Acceleration?

If you understand computers well enough, you will understand that for most of the tasks, the computer uses the CPU or the processor. Imagine a situation where the task or application is resource-heavy and exceeds the capabilities of the CPU. This is precisely where hardware acceleration comes to the fore.

When hardware acceleration is enabled, the application makes use of the dedicated hardware in addition to the software when handling the CPU intensive tasks. Hardware acceleration is used for enhancing and improving the speed and performance of the device or an application.

In the case of a Windows 10 device, the hardware components can include sound and video cards. When you use a software that needs graphics, the CPU simply offloads the some of the work on it and gets the hardware component (GPU) to do those tasks. These tasks run faster on a GPU because the GPU specializes in processing high computational tasks in parallel rather than the serial processing done by the limited number of CPU cores.. You can even expect a good performance enhancement. The quality of the output will, of course, be dependent on the specs of the graphic cards.

How to turn off Hardware Acceleration in different systems?

Having understood what Hardware Acceleration is and how effective it has been in offloading some of the stress from the CPU, let us now check out how to disable the hardware acceleration in several scenarios.

Now that hardware acceleration is one of the best options to improve your system's performance, is there any reason you need to turn off hardware acceleration? This can have a lot to do with the capacity and ability of the hardware components. Can you ever imagine a scenario where the graphic card may not be able to handle the hardware acceleration? This can happen in a wide range of situations. If you face any graphic errors, or other hardware related issues when using the hardware acceleration, it would be a good idea to disable or turn off hardware acceleration.

Now that we have understood why it is necessary to turn off hardware acceleration let us now check out how to turn off hardware acceleration in different software tools and operating systems.

1. Disable Hardware acceleration in Google Chrome

Turning off hardware acceleration on Google Chrome is quite simple and easy. Simply follow the steps here below to turn off hardware acceleration on Chrome -
  • Launch Google Chrome.
  • Click on the three dot menu on the top right and click on Settings
  • Click on Advanced and then locate the option for Use hardware acceleration when available. You should find it under Settings section.
  • Turn the toggle to OFF.
That does it. The hardware acceleration is thus disabled.

2. Disable Hardware Acceleration on Firefox

Firefox has been one of the prominent options for an enhanced experience in a trouble free and safer browsing. Disabling hardware acceleration in Firefox is quite simple and easy to go with.
Follow the steps here below -
  • Click on the three dot menu on the top right corner and from the drop down menu, click on Options
  • Under Settings screen, click on General tab and then locate Performance tab.
  • Uncheck the option for Use recommended performance settings.
  • Once the option is unchecked, you will find the option for turning off or enabling hardware acceleration.
  • Uncheck the option Use hardware acceleration when available option.
That would do it. You have successfully disabled the hardware acceleration on Firefox.

3. Turn off hardware acceleration on Microsoft Office application

The method for turning off hardware acceleration on Microsoft applications remains the same across almost all MS Office applications. Here is how you can do it. We will take the example of MS Word here -
  • Launch MS Word
  • Click on Options. You will find it by clicking on File and then scroll down to locate Options
  • On the Options window, click on Advanced and then locate the option for turning off hardware acceleration under Display tab.
  • Check the option for Disable hardware graphics acceleration
  • Click on OK to save your settings.

4. Turn off hardware acceleration on Windows 10

Turning hardware acceleration on the entire operating system can be easily handled with the system wide disabling of hardware acceleration.
Here are the steps involved in achieving it -
  • Go to Settings and then click on System grouping.
  • Click on Display and then click on Graphic Settings
  • windows 10 1
  • On the next screen, you should get the option for turning off the hardware acceleration.
  • Locate Hardware accelerated GPU rendering option and turn the toggle to OFF.
  • windows 10 2

5. Turn off hardware acceleration on Adobe Photoshop CS5

Here are the steps involved in how to turn off hardware acceleration on Adobe Photoshop CS5 -
  • Launch Photoshop CS5.
  • Click on the option Edit at the top.
  • Locate the option for Preferences
  • and then click on Performance
  • Uncheck the option for Enable OpenGL Drawing

Do you need hardware acceleration?

Now that we understand how to disable or turn off hardware acceleration, the million dollar question that may be worrying you can be why do you need to turn off hardware acceleration? If hardware acceleration is not needed, why is it provided in first place? Do you really need hardware acceleration?
Well, you should keep hardware acceleration enabled if you are not facing any issues with it. It will help you achieve better benefits than turning it off. With hardware acceleration enabled, you are in for a better experience and a smoother performance. The 3D rendering will be one of the enormous advantages.
Even your browser makes use of hardware acceleration for displaying the content that is heavy graphics laden. It may also make use of hardware acceleration for rendering the content real faster.
If you are into multitasking, hardware acceleration can be one of the added advantages. If you are making use of the intensive applications, then hardware acceleration can be a great asset.
The only situation where you may want to disable hardware acceleration can include the situations where you are facing battery issues or facing any sort of performance issues.

The Bottom Line

Hardware acceleration is designed as a means of improving the performance of your devices and providing you with a stutter-free efficiency. However, if your software is giving issues while using hardware acceleration, you should consider temporarily switching off hardware acceleration and reporting such issues to the application developers. Once an update arrives, you can switch hardware acceleration ON and see if it works fine now.

Turning off hardware acceleration on individual devices, platforms, and applications can be a little tricky. The tips outlined above should ideally be helpful in providing you with a good idea into how to configure your settings and help you disable hardware acceleration.

More articles: Hardware Acceleration


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