Turn Hardware Acceleration On and Off in Chrome - WindowsTips.net - Windows Tips and Tricks with Geek

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Turn Hardware Acceleration On and Off in Chrome


Downloading Google Chrome on a desktop computer

What Is Hardware Acceleration in Chrome?

Hardware acceleration refers to when a program uses a computer’s hardware in support to perform some functions more efficiently than capable in the software. The hardware was designed to perform some functions faster than software running on the CPU alone.

In Chrome, hardware acceleration utilizes your computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) to tackle graphics-intensive tasks, like playing videos, games, or anything that requires faster mathematical calculations. Passing off specific tasks gives your CPU a chance to work tirelessly on everything else, while the GPU handles processes that it was designed to run.

While this does sound great in most cases, sometimes hardware acceleration can cause Chrome to lag, freeze, or crash—it could even cause your laptop’s battery to drain a lot faster. As everyone’s computer is slightly different, the issue could lie in the GPU or driver associated with it. If you suspect hardware acceleration is the culprit, the best thing to do is to disable it and see if that fixes the problem.

How to Turn Hardware Acceleration On or Off

By default, hardware acceleration is enabled on Chrome, so let’s look at disabling it first.

Fire up Chrome, click the menu icon, and then click on “Settings.” Alternatively, you can type chrome://settings/ into the Omnibox to go directly there.

Click the menu button, then click Settings

In the Settings menu, expand the “Advanced” drop-down section found in the left sidebar and then select “System.”

Expand the "Advanced" sub-menu and select "System"

Find the “Use hardware acceleration when available” setting. Toggle the switch to the “Off” position and then click “Relaunch” to apply the changes.

Warning: Make sure you save anything you’re working on. Chrome reopens the tabs that were opened before the relaunch but doesn’t save any of the data contained in them.

Toggle Use hardware acceleration when available to the Off position, then click Relaunch to apply the change

If you’d rather wait to restart Chrome and finish up anything you’re working on, just close the tab. Chrome will apply the change the next time you close and reopen it.

To confirm it has been fully disabled, type chrome://gpu/ into the Omnibox and hit Enter. When hardware acceleration has been disabled, a majority of the items under “Graphics Feature Status” will read “Software only, hardware acceleration disabled.”

List of features that use hardware acceleration. Note a majority of them specify hardware acceleration is disabled

If you’re looking to enable—or re-enable—hardware acceleration, head back to chrome://settings/system and toggle “Use hardware acceleration when available” setting to the “On” position. Then, click “Relaunch” to apply the change.

To re-enable, toggle Use hardware acceleration when available into the On position, then click Relaunch

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