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How To Force An App To Use The Dedicated GPU On Windows

An average PC comes with two graphics cards. The first, the default one, is called the ‘On-board’ graphics card and it’s usually an Intel chip. The second is the ‘Dedicated’ graphics card and Nvidia, and AMD are some of the best ones available. A dedicated graphics card is normally found on gaming PCs but it’s not uncommon to find a low end one on a non-gaming rig. When an application’s requirements exceed the capabilities of the on-board graphics card, your system switches to the dedicated GPU. This happens mostly when you play games. You can however force an app to use the dedicated GPU. Here’s how.

As mentioned earlier, there are two major GPU manufacturers that dominate the market; Nvidia, and AMD. We’re going to show you how you can force an app to use the dedicated GPU from both manufacturers.

Force App To Use NVIDIA Graphics Card

It’s worth mentioning that NVIDIA uses Optimus Technology. Whenever it detects that an app needs additional, more powerful resources, the dedicated GPU kicks in. That said, you can still force an app to use the dedicated GPU. With NVIDIA, it’s really easy.

Open the NVIDIA control panel. Right-click on an empty area on your desktop and select the ‘NVIDIA Control Panel’ option from the context menu.

Go to the Desktop menu and enable the ‘Add “Run with graphics processor” to Context Menu’ option.

Return to your desktop. Right-click the app you want to force to use the dedicated GPU. The right-click context menu will have a ‘Run with graphics processor’ option. Select ‘High-performance NVIDIA processor’ from the sub-options and the app will run using your dedicated GPU.

Force App To Use AMD Graphics Card

You can force an app to use your AMD graphics card but it isn’t as easy, or as accessible as the NVIDIA  option. With AMD, you can select which apps will use the dedicated graphics card. You don’t have an option in the context menu. Instead, you add apps to the AMD Catalyst Control Center.

Open the AMD Catalyst Control Center app by right-clicking on an empty area on your desktop. Select ‘Catalyst Control Center’ from the context menu. From the list of panels on the left, select ‘Power’. Under ‘Power’, select ‘Switchable application graphics settings’.

Here you will see a list of apps that AMD already recognizes as needing better GPU support. On this panel is an ‘Add Application’ button. Click it and select the EXE of the app you want to force to use the AMD graphics card.

After you add the application, open the dropdown next to it for setting graphics options. Select ‘High performance’ and you’re done. The app will always use AMD graphics card.

We should mention that some options may differ depending on your driver version and the GPU model you have. These solutions will still work but the options may be found under a different menu.

Windows UWP Apps  – NVIDA GPU

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for Windows UWP apps. That doesn’t mean you can’t force them to use the dedicated GPU, just that the process is different for an NVIDIA GPU.

Open the NVIDIA control panel and go to 3D Settings>Manage 3D Settings. Select the Program Settings tab and click the ‘Add’ button. Browse for the Windows UWP app you want to run with the dedicated GPU, and add it. From the ‘Select the preferred graphics processor for this program’ dropdown, select your GPU.


Leave a comment

  • Antonio Mineiro

    CCC doesnt have that option for me.

    • What options do you see in the ‘Power’ section?

      • Antonio Mineiro

        Only AMD Start Now Tecnology and Usage Pattern.

        • Is there anything on the interface that says ‘Preferences’ ?

          • Antonio Mineiro


            • share a screenshot?

              • Los Angeles

                Hi, I have the same issue. I did detect Preferences button. Can you please share your thoughts on next steps?

                Thank you

                • Los Angeles

                  I am using two displays. One driven by my laptot and the other one driven by a USB to VGA cable. AMD CCC doesn’t detect the external graphics card.

  • Gabor NAGY

    This NVIDIA menu option appears only with systems using NVIDIA’s power-saving GPU technology. This option is not exists e.g. with GTX 960

  • TheStampyMinecart TheRedstoneM

    how do i do this but with windows apps from the windows store?

    • The post has been updated with instructions for Windows Store apps if you have an NVIDIA GPU. The process should be the same for an AMD GPU.

      • Tyeth Gundry

        Typically the one I want (netflix) has the option to change gpu disabled.
        Thanks though, without this article I’d still believe it easy/possible.

  • Viking

    My system has an NVS 4200M GPU, but that option does not exist in the menu.

  • pras92

    Thank you Fatima. In my case, GPU was being used by default but only now I was able to confirm it.

  • Márcio

    Does Intel integrated grapic cards can also perform this kind of task?

    • Normally, all apps run using the integrated graphics card. The exception is apps that need a particularly powerful graphics card to run e.g. games. You can force apps to use the dedicated GPU but if you’re trying to force an app to use the integrated graphics card, you can’t. The option won’t be there and it’s not a good idea to do this because the app that uses the dedicated GPU needs its extra capabilities in order to run.

  • Thanks for the help Fatima Wahab it helped a lot.

  • muhammad wissam

    i did all kinds of shit still doesn’t happen for me?

  • matthew jones

    what about the intel options

  • Rikrdo Maruri

    the Nvidia control panel on my desktop does not have that option