Hardware acceleration is a feature used by many Windows applications to help eke out better performance. One of the fundamental differences between Windows 10’s Movies & TV app getting close to double the battery life compared to some of the competition was because Microsoft’s native app is using hardware acceleration whereas the others were not.
Microsoft uses hardware acceleration wherever it makes sense for them to do so, which is often anything that involves the use of moving graphics. This also extends out to the native Photos application in Windows 10 and its 3D effects. When you save the pictures with 3D effects, the Photos app writes the data to a video file. This uses the GPU for hardware accelerated video encoding.
Hardware accelerating sends all decoding work to the graphics processor instead of it being done with the central processing unit. The GPU can do the math on certain equations better than a CPU can, and that is what makes the hardware acceleration so much more efficient to use. However, in doing so, you’re also adding some more functions into the equation, and that means you’re also increasing the chance of something going wrong.
Because of the significant savings you get with battery and hardware usage when things are working as they should, most users should strongly consider leaving hardware acceleration turned on. If by the odd chance, however, you are experiencing technical difficulties with specific apps that use hardware accelerating, it’s often also possible to disable the hardware acceleration to help troubleshoot problems that it may have created.
The same tune can be sung for the Windows 10 Photos app: leave it turned on to help your computer perform at its best, which includes helping your battery last longer, and disable it if you’re experiencing any bugs to see if it fixes the problem.
The following tutorial demonstrates how to turn on and off the hardware acceleration in the Photos app when you’re using a version of the Windows 10 operating system.
How to Disable Hardware Acceleration in Windows 10 Photos App
Here’s what you need to disable the hardware acceleration feature found in the Windows 10 Photos app.
1. You can disable the hardware acceleration from the Photos application itself. To get started, head to your Start menu and click on the Photos tile to get access to the Photos app.
2. In the top right corner of the Photos app, click on the three dotted More menu.
3. Click on the Settings gear icon from the three dotted menu.
4. Scroll down until you see the Video toggle.
You can now close the Photos app and it’ll automatically remember your preferences. Just remember to head back to the same area should you ever want to try enabling it again in the future—Windows updates might solve the problem without you realizing if you keep it off for long periods—so you can get the most out of your hardware and battery.
This article was last updated on June 4, 2019.
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