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How to set graphics hardware acceleration back

Windows uses software called "video drivers" to communicate with your computer's screen. If the video driver or its hardware aren't perfect, it can cause display problems, especially with software like PowerPoint, which really gives the display a good workout.

If you're having display problems, there's a Windows setting that can help you track down the cause of the problem and temporarily work around it. It's called Graphics Hardware Acceleration. Here's how you use it:

If you use Windows 95, 98, etc.

If you use Windows ME

If you use Windows 2000 or XP

If you use Windows Vista

After changing acceleration, re-test

After setting the acceleration back, repeat whatever whatever caused the problem in the first place to see if it's now fixed.

You can either reduce the acceleration a notch at a time until the problem goes away, or move it all the way to the left, test, then if that cures it, try moving it to the right again until the problem recurs, then back off one notch.

If changing the video hardware acceleration solves the problem, it's a signal that your computer's video driver isn't quite perfect. Check with the manufacturer (of the video system or the computer) to see if updated drivers are available. Even if your PC is brand-new, it's probably been several weeks or months since it was built and video drivers change almost daily. (See below for more information on this).

Note that by default PowerPoint 2002 (XP), 2003 and 2007 do not use Hardware Graphics Acceleration in Slide Show view. This is by design, in order to minimize the chance of video hardware and driver errors. However, you or some other user may have enabled this feature. If you experience problems during slide shows, choose Slideshow, Set-Up Show and remove the checkmark next to "Use hardware graphics acceleration".

I paid good money for this video card. Why should I have to deliberately slow it down?

It really goes against the grain to pay extra for speed and then turn it off, doesn't it? But consider:

What happens when I turn down hardware acceleration?

Windows uses your video driver to put graphics and text and animations on the computer screen. Some video cards and drivers have more advanced capabilities than others, so Windows first asks the driver "Can you do this" and if the driver says it can, Windows turns the task over to the driver.

Most of the time this works out well. The video manufacturer's own software can usually do a better and faster job than Windows itself can. But sometimes there's a bug in the driver software and it can't really do everything it claims to be able to do. That's when you see video problems in PowerPoint or other programs.

Every time you turn hardware acceleration back a notch, you're telling Windows to handle another group of video tasks itself rather than turning them over to the video driver. Windows may handle these tasks in a simpler and slower manner but it's more standardized and reliable, so letting Windows handle it may eliminate the video problem.

How to check your video driver version

If you visit your video card or computer manufacturer's site to check for driver updates, they may give you nothing more than a date or number to go by. Here's how you can check the version of your current driver so you have something to compare their numbers to:

Windows Vista

Previous Windows versions

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How to set graphics hardware acceleration back
Last update 07 June, 2011