How to Set Preferred GPU for Apps in Windows 10

Modern laptops often come with two GPUs or graphics chips. One of them is intended to consume the least possible power while providing reasonable performance for every day tasks. For example, laptops with Intel CPUs come with an integrated GPU for this purpose. For more powerful tasks like gaming or video processing, a discrete GPU can be used. It can be something like NVIDIA GTX1050 or some AMD chip. Windows 10 now allows setting which GPU should be used for both Store and Desktop apps.

When you have drivers installed for both the video adapters, a special context menu command will appear. For example, here is a screenshot taken in Windows 7 with Intel and NVIDIA GPUs present in the laptop.

Windows 7 Optimus Screenshot

As you can see, an extra context menu command appears for executable files.

In Windows 10, such an option is built-in inside the Settings app which now allows specifying which GPU to use for an app on multi-GPU systems. When you set an application preference in the Settings app, it will take precedence over other third party Control Panel settings provided by the GPU driver.

This option is also handier than the context menu.

Let's see how to configure this feature.

To set the preferred GPU for apps in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to System - Display and scroll down to the Advanced graphics settings link("Graphics settings").
  3. On the next page, set the app type to either Universal or Desktop app depending on what you want.Picture of advanced graphics settings page in Settings. You can choose an app to select graphics performance preference – there’s a dropdown to choose between classic app and universal app.
  4. Browse for the app to add it to the list using the Browse button.
  5. Click on the app in the list, then click on the Options button to open the configuration dialog.Graphics specifications popup, showing the option to switch graphics preference between system default, power saving, and high performance.
  6. Select the desired graphics processor. You can choose from either System default, Power saving, or High performance.

You are done.

Note: By default, all apps are tied to the System default option, which means that their performance profile is defined by drivers. When you remove an app from the list mentioned above, your previously-made changes will be reverted to the System default profile.

Windows 10 considers the integrated GPU as the power-saving GPU, and the high performance GPU is the discrete GPU or external GPU. If you have both, a discrete GPU and an external GPU on a system, the external GPU is considered the high performance GPU.

That's it.

2 thoughts on “How to Set Preferred GPU for Apps in Windows 10

  1. Gabriel Moises

    Windows 10 version 1709 does not have the Advanced Graphics screen. It only opens a small properties window for only the Intel graphics adapter. The nVidia adapter is not shown.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      However, 17093+ has it.


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