Graphics preferences

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.

Set app graphics settings on Windows 10

On Windows 10, computers with multiple GPUs have the ability to select the preferred graphics card an app should use within the graphics control panels software available from Nvidia and AMD.

However, since version 1803 (April 2018 Update) and later versions, the Windows 10 Settings app includes a page that allows you to select the preferred graphics card for traditional and Microsoft Store apps to improve system performance or battery life.

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

Specify preferred GPU for apps using Settings

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
    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, you will need to 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
    Set GPU for app
  9. Click the Options button.

    App GPU options
    App GPU options
  10. Set the graphics preference you want to use for the app:

    • System default — (default) Windows 10 decides which GPU to use automatically.
    • 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
    Select GPU preference per app

Once you complete the steps, the app you selected 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 from the same settings 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 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.