How to Turn Hardware Acceleration On and Off in Chrome

What is Chrome hardware acceleration and is it enabled?

What to Know

  • With hardware acceleration, a browser passes most of the graphical intensive tasks within the browser to the GPU.
  • This makes your browser perform much better and frees up the CPU to do other tasks.
  • You can check whether hardware acceleration is turned on in Chrome by typing chrome://gpu into the address bar at the top of the browser.

This article explains how to turn hardware acceleration on and off in Chrome, plus how to check to see if it's already turned on, how to force the acceleration if needed, and how to determine whether or not hardware acceleration is helping you.

How to Turn Hardware Acceleration On in Chrome

You can turn hardware acceleration on through Chrome's settings:

  1. Enter chrome://settings in the address bar at the top of Chrome. Or, use the menu button at the top right of the browser to choose Settings.

    Chrome Settings button in browser
  2. Scroll to the very bottom of that page and choose the Advanced link.

    Advanced button in Chrome settings
  3. Scroll to the very bottom of that page of settings to find additional options.

    Use hardware accelleration when available toggle switch on in Chrome settings

    Under the System heading, locate and enable the Use hardware acceleration when available option.

  4. If you're told to relaunch Chrome, exit all open tabs and then open Chrome again.

  5. When Chrome starts, open chrome://gpu again and check that the words Hardware accelerated appear next to most of the items in the "Graphics Feature Status heading

    If you see that the "Use hardware acceleration when available" option is already enabled but your GPU settings show that acceleration is unavailable, follow the next step.

How to Force Hardware Acceleration in Chrome

Override software rendering list Enabled button

The final thing you can try to enable acceleration when Chrome doesn't seem to want to is to override one of the many system flags:

  1. Enter chrome://flags in the address bar.

  2. Locate the section on that page called Override software rendering list.

  3. Change the Disabled option to Enabled.

  4. Select the blue Relaunch Now button when it appears at the bottom of Chrome after enabling hardware acceleration.

  5. Return to the chrome://gpu page and check whether acceleration is enabled.

At this point, Hardware accelerated should appear next to most of the items.

If they still show up as being disabled, it could signal a problem with your graphics card or the drivers for your graphics card. Update the drivers on your computer to resolve these problems. 

How to Turn Off Hardware Acceleration in Chrome

Turning off hardware acceleration in Chrome is as easy as repeating the above steps for turning it on, but removing the option instead of enabling it.

Is Hardware Acceleration Already Turned On in Chrome?

The best way to check whether hardware acceleration is turned on in Chrome is to type chrome://gpu into the address bar at the top of the browser.

Chrome://gpu in Chrome browser

A whole host of results will be returned but the bit you're interested in is the section titled "Graphics Feature Status."

Graphic Feature Status in Chrome

The important thing to look for is to the right of each of these items. You should see Hardware accelerated if hardware acceleration is enabled.

Some might read Software only. Hardware acceleration disabled, but that's fine.

The majority of these entries—like Canvas, Flash, Compositing, Multiple Raster Threads, Video Decode, and WebGL—should be turned on, however.

If all or most of your values are set to disabled then you should read on to find out how to turn hardware acceleration on. 

How to Know if Hardware Acceleration Helps

See whether hardware acceleration works better on or off. The site is provided by Mozilla who are the people behind the Firefox web browser, but the tests work equally well in Chrome. The page provides a number of links which will show how well your browser performs. 

For example, a very simple demo is provided by this animated blob, but there are further examples including these draggable videos and this 3D Rubik's Cube.

If you have a decent graphics card, try finding websites with high-end Flash animations and games to see whether there's any stuttering. 

Also, try watching high-definition videos on YouTube and make sure the video is crystal clear. Hardware acceleration can't help with buffering. However, you might find that other features of Chrome perform far better than before.