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How to disable hardware acceleration Chrome

Chrome, and browsers in general, are able to interact with and use other peripherals connected to your system. The mouse and keyboard are obvious examples but a browser can also access your mic, speakers, and webcam if you allow it to. Some browsers also support hardware acceleration which allows them to offload processing to specialized hardware e.g., if you’re doing something that’s graphics-intensive0, Chrome can use the GPU instead of being limited to the onboard graphics card.

A browser that is able to use hardware acceleration is able to run better and support more powerful web apps. That said, a browser’s primary purpose is to load websites, and sometimes, its ability to use hardware acceleration gets in the way of loading a website properly e.g., some users report getting a blank screen when playing YouTube videos in Chrome.

Disable hardware acceleration Chrome

Chrome has a built-in switch that allows users to disable hardware acceleration.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the more options (three dots) button at the top right.
  3. Select Settings from the menu.
  4. Click ‘Advanced’ on the settings screen.
  5. Scroll down to the System section.
  6. Turn the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ switch off.
  7. Restart the browser.

Other Chromium-based browsers

Other Chromium-based browsers support hardware acceleration as well. Like Chrome, you can disable hardware acceleration in them.

  1. Open the settings page/panel for the browser.
  2. Go to Advanced settings.
  3. Scroll down to the System section.
  4. Look for, and turn off the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ switch.
  5. Restart the browser.

Disable hardware acceleration in other apps

Plenty of other apps support hardware acceleration. These are normally apps that may need to use additional processing power e.g. animation apps, video editors, powerful image editors, etc. Not all apps can or have support for hardware acceleration but those that do have support for it will also have an option to turn it off. Look in the app’s settings and you will find an option to turn it off.

Conclusion

Hardware acceleration allows apps to perform better. Think of games that, by default, will always utilize the GPU to render the game. With other apps, hardware acceleration allows them to make use of the GPU (or the sound card), whenever they need to. These apps do run into trouble though when they try to offload the processing. Sometimes, the app has a bug, sometimes the OS doesn’t play nice, and sometimes, just the offloading process is too much and the app may crash. If you have trouble getting it to work, you might be better off without it. The app may take longer to complete a task, but it will be able to do so without crashing.

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