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Speed up Firefox: Disable Faulty Hardware Acceleration

Monday, August 1st, 2011 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

Linda from Ontario asks:

My Firefox 5 is running sooo slow! I hear I need to disable hardware acceleration. How do I do this?

Firefox 5 has brought innumerable new features, and Mozilla has a very strict plan to release newer versions rapidly all throughout this year. With this rapid growth, some of these new features might not yet be supported fully by our Windows installations. One such new feature is hardware acceleration, which offloads the responsibility to render graphics to the graphics device on your computer. However, this new feature requires you to have the latest drivers installed for your graphics card.

There are two fixes for this – the first of which is to to update your graphics card and install another update from Windows update. The update is named KB2505438 and you can get it at this page. Though, if your computer still cannot run Firefox in hardware acceleration mode, you will not get any warning from Firefox – just slow performance. To check if you can speed up Firefox, try disabling hardware acceleration and see if you get any improvements.

So, how do you disable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox?

Step 1: Start Firefox. Assuming you are on Windows 7 or Vista, go to Start and type “firefox” in your Search bar. It will appear in the quick search as shown below. Once Firefox starts up, move to the next step.


Step 2: Click on the Firefox menu on the left hand top corner to bring up a menu like this. From the menu, select the Options submenu.


It expands further and you get another Options item. Click on it to get the options Window for Firefox.


Step 3: Go to Advanced tab on the Options Window.


Step 4: Uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available”.


That is all. You are good to go with disabled hardware acceleration. Another to do this involves changing the about flags for hardware acceleration directly.

Disable hardware acceleration using about:config

Step 1: To disable hardware acceleration using about:config, go to the Firefox address bar and type in about:config as shown below.


Agree to be careful and you will be in.

Step 2: In the filter box, enter “gfx” to get the option to disable hardware acceleration.


Step 3: Disable hardware acceleration by double clicking on the config value shown.

Notice how it turns to a bold font because the value is no longer default. It is a user set value now.


~Chinmoy Kanjilal

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One Response to “Speed up Firefox: Disable Faulty Hardware Acceleration”

  1. gynexin says:

    Great information you got here. I’ve been reading about this topic for one week now for my papers in school and thank God I found it here in your post.

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