Web browsers are extremely resource intensive. When we open several web pages at the same time, the use of RAM and CPU goes up. And if we have extensions, or we use webapps, much more. The more pages we have open at the same time, the slower the whole computer runs. Therefore, to prevent this from happening and release the load on the computer hardware, developers resort to advanced functions such as hardware acceleration. However, these techniques don’t always work well on all computers, and it can be the root of many problems with Chrome.
What is hardware acceleration
Hardware acceleration is a technology by which, instead of using the CPU to perform certain tasks (for example, rendering a website or decoding certain content), the browser delegates these tasks to the graphics card . GPU chips are much faster and more efficient at processing this type of information. Therefore, delegating these tasks to him allows us to release load on the CPU, which translates into a notable improvement in the overall performance of the PC.
Unfortunately, this feature does not work well with some graphics cards. And, if we have it activated, it can happen that our browser is slower, that it consumes too much RAM and CPU and even that it crashes or closes often. Therefore, if we experience these problems, it is necessary to disable this function.
Disable hardware acceleration feature in Google Chrome
The hardware acceleration feature is found within Chrome’s advanced settings. To do this, we must enter the browser’s Configuration options, from the menu or by typing “chrome: // settings /” in the address bar. In this new screen we scroll to the bottom of the browser, and we will expand the advanced configuration options.
We continue down to the “System” section, and here we will already find the option ” Use hardware acceleration when available “, which is what interests us.
We simply have to uncheck the box that appears next to this option to disable this hardware acceleration. Chrome will ask us to restart the browser for the changes to take effect. We restart manually, or from the button that will appear next to the option after deactivating it, and that’s it.
From now on, Chrome will work without the hardware acceleration option. With the advantages, and the disadvantages, that this supposes.
Using a shortcut
If we don’t want to modify Chrome’s settings, there is also another way to temporarily disable this feature. To do this, what we have to do is locate the shortcut to our Chrome, right-click on it and open the “Properties” window .
In the destination section, we simply must add the following parameter: –disable-gpu.
In this way, when we run the browser from this shortcut, it will open directly with this function disabled. In case we want to reactivate it, we can do it easily by removing said shortcut from the browser parameters.
We can even have two shortcuts, one with GPU acceleration and one without it.
Enable hardware acceleration
In the event that the browser continues to malfunction, or the performance of our computer has worsened, we can reactivate hardware acceleration by following the same steps that we have seen in the previous point. That is, we have to open the browser options, go to the “system” section, within the advanced settings, and re-enable the hardware acceleration box on the computer.
After restarting the browser, it will reopen with this feature enabled.
Other tips for getting Chrome’s GPU acceleration to work
As we have explained, hardware acceleration applies a series of advantages to the browser that we want to take advantage of whenever possible. If we are having problems, it may not be a problem with the function itself, but it may simply be that something is wrong in Windows or Chrome.
Some tricks that we can use to try to make this feature work without problems are the following.
Update the GPU drivers
Hardware acceleration is directly related to the graphics card. Therefore, the drivers can easily be the first to blame for this not working properly. If we are experiencing any kind of problem, we can try to make this feature work by updating the drivers in Windows.
If we use Intel graphics cards, the drivers usually arrive automatically through Windows Update almost always, so we will not have to worry. However, if we are users of AMD or NVIDIA graphics, then we will have to download the drivers by hand from their main web pages to be able to launch them.
Update Windows 10
If we have our computer out of date, this may be the reason why this feature is not working as it should. And we don’t just mean monthly patches, but new versions of the operating system. Therefore, if we want to get the most out of our PC, it is necessary to start by updating our Windows.
We must download the latest versions of the operating system from Windows Update and install them to get the PC ready. After updating Windows we will check that everything works as it should.
If we have updated drivers, and Windows in the latest version, then the problem may be directly related to Chrome. Do we have it updated? Is it complete? Do we use a beta? Any flag modified?
The best thing we can do is take the opportunity to completely uninstall the browser from our PC and reinstall it again. We can download Chrome from its main web page so that we will also make sure to install the latest version available.
Once installed, hardware acceleration will be enabled by default. Now we can test if this feature works well. If we are going to synchronize our Chrome data, we must make sure to avoid synchronizing the browser settings, to prevent a bad configuration from causing hardware acceleration to malfunction again.