How to set default GPU for apps on Windows 10

If you have a multi-GPU system running Windows 10, you can now manually specify the preferred graphics processor an app should use for performance or to improve battery life.

Windows 10 set app graphics settings
Windows 10 set app graphics settings
  • To change the default GPU for an app on Windows 10, open Settings > System > Display > Graphics settings, select “Classic app” or “Microsoft app,” choose the app, click “Options,” select the graphics card for the app, and click “Save.”

On Windows 10, computers with multiple GPUs can select the preferred graphics card an app should use within the graphics control panels software available from Nvidia and AMD. However, the Settings app includes a section to select the preferred graphics card for legacy and Microsoft Store apps to improve system performance or battery life.

In this guide, I will teach you the steps to set the GPU an app uses on your Windows 10 laptop or desktop with multiple graphics processors.

Choose preferred GPU for apps on Windows 10

To force an app to use a discrete GPU instead of the integrated adapter, use these steps: 

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Display.

  4. Under the “Multiple displays” section, click the Graphics settings option.

    Windows 10 graphics settings option

  5. Select the app type using the drop-down menu:

    • Classic app — traditional (Win32) desktop programs.
    • Microsoft app — apps available through the Microsoft Store.
  6. If you select the Classic app option, click the “Browse” button to locate the “.exe” file to specify the app. On the other hand, if you select the Microsoft Store app option, you will see a second drop-down menu to select the app.

  7. Use the drop-down menu and select the app.

  8. Click the Add button.

    Set GPU for app

  9. Click the Options button.

    App GPU options

  10. Set the graphics card preference to use for the app:

    • System default — (default) Windows 10 automatically decides which GPU to use.
    • Power saving — runs the app on the GPU that uses the least power, usually the integrated graphics processor.
    • High performance — runs the app on the most capable GPU, usually an external or discrete graphics processor.
  11. Click the Save button.

    Select GPU preference for app

Once you complete the steps, the app will use the graphics processor you specified to optimize battery life or performance the next time you launch it.

It is important to note that these settings will take precedence over the same options available in other control panels (which you can continue to use). 

While you can manually set the preferred GPU for an app on Windows 10, the app always decides which processor to use. This means that if you change the settings and the app continues to use a different GPU, you may need to change the preferences in the app itself (if applicable).

If you want to stop an app from using this feature, then in the “Advanced graphics settings” page, select the app from the list and click the “Remove” button. Or select the app, click the “Options” button, and select the “System default” option.

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].