How to manage ‘HDR’ settings on Windows 11

If you have a capable display, you can use these instructions to enable HDR on Windows 11.

Windows 11 HDR
Windows 11 HDR
  • To enable HDR on Windows 11, open Settings > System > Display, under “Brightness & Color,” click “HDR,” and turn on “Use HDR.”
  • The option is only available on computers with supported displays.

UPDATED 9/11/2023: On Windows 11, you can enable and manage the different features of High Dynamic Range (HDR) on compatible displays, and in this guide, you will learn how. HDR is a technology that expands the range of colors and brightness for more realistic picture quality with brighter whites and darker blacks, more depth, a wider range of colors, and improved contrast.

For regular computing, HDR isn’t necessary, but it’s recommended to enable the feature on capable displays to improve the viewing experience for videos, streaming, and gaming. Windows 11 also includes the “Auto HDR” feature to improve your gaming experience by converting compatible games from Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) to HDR automatically. Also, you can even turn on HDR support for color-managed applications.

This guide will teach you the steps to turn on HDR on Windows 11 with compatible monitors. 

Enable HDR on Windows 11

To enable Windows 11 HDR on supported displays, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Display tab.

  4. Select the monitor to enable HDR (if applicable).

  5. Under the “Brightness & color” section, turn on the “Use HDR” toggle switch.

    Windows 11 enable HDR

  6. Click the “Use HDR” setting (if applicable).

  7. Under the “Display capabilities” section, confirm the features available.

  8. Turn on the “HDR video streaming” toggle switch to play compatible video streaming on High Dynamic Range.

    Windows 11 enable HDR

  9. Use the “SDR content brightness” slider to adjust the brightness of Standard Dynamic Rage content.

Once you complete the steps, the system will apply the settings for the display. If you have more than one monitor, you may need to repeat the steps to enable and configure HDR.

To check if your monitor is HDR certified, open Settings > System > Display > Advanced display, and on the page, you should be able to confirm whether the display is HDR compatible.

Enable Auto HDR for games on Windows 11

Auto HDR is a feature that converts compatible games from standard dynamic range (SDR) to HDR automatically to unlock the brighter and bolder colors available on compatible displays that use this technology for a more immersive and realistic experience.

To enable Windows 11 Auto HDR, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the Display tab.

  4. Under the “Brightness & color” section, turn on the “Use HDR” toggle switch.

    Windows 11 open HDR settings

  5. Turn on the “Auto HDR” toggle switch to enhance SDR games with HDR quality.

    Enable auto HDR for gaming

After you complete the steps, compatible games will automatically be upgraded from SDR to HDR for richer color visuals.

Enable HDR for color-managed apps on Windows 11

When using HDR on Windows 11, some apps that use International Color Consortium (ICC) profiles may not display colors accurately since they are restricted to the sRGB color gamut. However, the operating system has a feature that allows these apps to access the whole gamut of HDR-capable displays to show colors more accurately.

To turn on HDR support color-managed apps on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Close the app in question.

  2. Right-click the app icon and select the Properties option.

    Windows 11 app context menu

  3. Click the Compatibility tab. Close the app in question.

  4. Under the “Settings” section, check the “Use legacy display ICC color management” option.

    Enable Use legacy display ICC color management

  5. Click the Apply button.

  6. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the app will display more accurate colors and access the full gamut from the HDR display. However, the feature will only take effect when HDR mode is enabled.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].