Feb 28, 2011
My Digital Life Editorial Team

Force Enable GPU Hardware Acceleration Graphics Rendering on Old GPU in IE9

One of the major advantage and feature that been introduced since IE9 (Internet Explorer 9) is GPU (graphics processing unit) hardware acceleration to speed up performance when using IE for graphics-heavy tasks like video streaming or online gaming. IE hardware accelerated graphics support is built on Direct2D, and hence for the hardware rendering to work, the graphic card must support Direct3D 10.1 and/or Direct3D 10 Feature Level 9 with WDDM 1.1 drivers.

Old computers with older generation of GPU graphics card may not be able to meet the system requirements of IE9 in order to enable and turn on hardware accelerated graphics rendering. For example, there are still many graphics card which supports only DirectX 9 (DX9) especially integrated display card such as ATI Xpress Radeon X1150, Intel GMA 945 and etc. As a result, IE will fallback to software rendering emulation, and the “use software rendering instead of GPU rendering” option of accelerated graphics is checked (ticked). The check box for the option is grayed out and unchangeable so user cannot unselect the option.

Here’s the trick to hack enable and force IE9 (or later IE versions) to use GPU hardware acceleration to render graphics on non-DirectX 10 (DX10) support graphics processing unit. However, do note that the trick may or may not speed up Internet Explorer, as the hardware acceleration still depend on the GPU features after all. Some IE users may experience increase in graphics displaying metrics (tests available at http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/) such as FPS (frames per second), while others may make IE loading speed worse and lag.

  1. In Start Search, type Device Manager and hit Enter.
  2. Expand the Display adapters tree branch, and double click on the active graphics card.
  3. Go to Details tab.
  4. In the pull down menu, select Hardware Ids. A list of strings will be displayed, which similar to the following format:

    PCI\VEN_XXXX&DEV_XXXX&SUBSYS_214517AA&REV_A2

    Hardware Device ID and Vendor ID

    Note down the vendor ID (XXXX after the VEN_) and device ID (XXXX after the DEV_).

  5. Run Registry Editor (RegEdit).
  6. Navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\GPU

  7. For 32-bit (x86) operating system, modify the following registry value with data from display adapter’s vendor ID and device ID.

    DeviceId – device ID of display card
    VendorID – vendor ID of display card
    SoftwareFallback – change from 1 to 0

    For 64-bit (x86) operating system, modify the following registry value with data from display adapter’s vendor ID and device ID.

    Wow64-DeviceId – device ID of display card
    Wow64-VendorID – vendor ID of display card
    Wow64-SoftwareFallback – change from 1 to 0

    Force Enable GPU Hardware Accelerated Graphics and Video Rendering in IE

  8. Restart Internet Explorer.

    IE will not try to use GPU hardware acceleration to render graphics and videos in IE. The check box for “use software rendering instead of GPU rendering” in “accelerated graphics” in Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced tab is now unchecked and unselected, and the option is no longer disabled.

Note that if you tick the check box to disable and turn off GPU accelerated rendering, you will need to perform the hack above to enable or turn on the display adapter hardware acceleration again.

In addition, Internet Explorer may automatically disable and turn off GPU graphics hardware acceleration support, and in order to avoid the possibility, it’s recommended (if the hack does help in IE’s performance) to remove the ability for SYSTEM user to write and edit the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\GPU registry key.

To do so, follow the brief guide below at your own risk. Right click on “GPU” and select “Permissions”. Go to “Advanced”, and uncheck the “Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent”. Then, add “Administrators” group or your user name and allows “Full Control” permissions, and (must) add in “SYSTEM” user with “Read” (at least Read Control and Query Value) privileges.

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  • John S

    Not sure why you would force hardware rendering with IE 9 on admitted weak GPU graphics?
    I am sure Microsoft had tested the difference. In fact Microsoft recommends disabling GPU rendering even in compatible hardware if it creates issues. When your using a onboard graphics such as a Intel 945 or something similar. You probably transfering rendering to a much slower proccess through the GPU then to simple use software rendering through the CPU. I guess I am not convinced their is a advantage to forcing hardware rendering.

    • kinokijuf

      I had a case where the graphics card was not state-of-the-art, causing IE to disable HW-accelerated graphics, but the CPU was a stone-age Duron 850, making it impossible to use “Web 2.0” sites without force enabling hardware acceleration.

    • r3278

      Like Windows 8 this is just typical Microsoft bullcrap: take away the users choice and force them to use something which does not meet their needs. The fix still works on IE 11, not that I would use it as my primary browser but I have a single core CPU + nVidia card, latest driver is 7 years old and scrolling is much smoother now. Still not as good as Firefox but thats not the point. I need the machine as a backup and test platform and this article solved the problem. If you dont need the fix and have not tried it, dont try to tell us that it wont work, mister Windows 8 marketing guy.

  • djt

    Great advice, it works very well!!!!

  • Alastair

    I agree with rishtonhamm about the final tweak to prevent system from undoing the tweak. I'm no expert but no newbie either…. I managed to work it out. Eventually. The instructions up to that point were excellent. Some hand-holding would be nice.

    As long as you take a registry backup and/or a restore point, I'd say a newbie could do this stuff.

  • rishtonhamm

    Excellent tweak! A little vague on the instructions on registry hack of permissions (i.e. whether to allow permissions to be applied to this object, folder or this container only etc…) A newb would be screwed here. However the increase in performance on the my intel X3100 (intergrated) made a world of difference.

  • passinthro

    Ancient ATI Xpress 200M integrated graphics RC410M (GPU – 300Mhz stock running with gentle OC @ 302.15Mhz – tweaked with ATI Tool) on a 2007 Toshiba with Win7. IE9 graphics option greyed out – fishtank test 8fps before – 35fps after registry hack. Psychodelic – 24fps before hack – 1089fps after. Says it all..but can't figure out why MS should want to restrict low end graphics solutions in this way.
    All IE9 test fps way faster and thankyou for the great advice.