Upgrade your graphics drivers to use hardware acceleration and WebGL

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Firefox and some plugins use your graphics card to help speed up the display of web content. Graphic cards are also used by advanced web features like WebGL. To fix problems with these features or to take advantage of them, you may need to update your graphics card drivers. This article describes how to do that.

Search for and install new graphics drivers

Using Windows Update

Some recent graphics driver versions are made available as an optional update from the Windows Update feature. If you haven't set Windows to automatically install recommended updates, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows, click Small Vista Logo , select All programs, then select Windows Update to open the Windows Update window.
  2. Click the "Check for updates" link and wait until it is done.
  3. If there are optional updates available, click "optional updates are available" and the View available updates panel will open.
  4. Click "Optional" and search updates with your graphics card manufacturer name (probably Intel, AMD/ATI and NVIDIA) in the title.
  5. If you find some, check the latest one and click OK to close the View available updates panel.
  6. Click Install updates.
  7. Restart your computer.
  8. Start Firefox.

If there are no updates available or if the updates don't solve your problems, continue to the next section.

Using your computer manufacturer's system update tool

Some computer manufacturers include a system update tool that updates drivers and bypasses the Windows ones. You may be required to use this tool to update graphics drivers.

Just search for this tool from the Start menu. Some possible search terms are the name of your computer manufacturer (such as Dell or HP) or generic terms like "update", "maintenance" or "driver". Open the tool and apply all available updates.

If there is no update tool, no updates available, or if the updates don't solve your problems, continue to the next section.

Use your distribution's standard update process

Use your distribution's standard update process.

If your distribution's standard update process doesn't give you the latest drivers, you may need to look for other package repositories for your distribution. For example, to upgrade closed-source drivers on Ubuntu, you may need to go to System Settings > Hardware > Additional Drivers.

Using the latest generic graphics drivers

You can also install a generic graphics driver from your graphics card manufacturer's website. These are usually kept up-to-date and are designed to work on a variety of systems:

If you don't know which graphics card you have, look in the graphics section of Firefox's about:support Troubleshooting Information page.

Note: Hardware acceleration is not available for graphics cards from other manufacturers.
Note: After downloading the graphics driver, the installation wizard may prevent you from installing it because your current driver is customized by your computer manufacturer.
Warning: With some combinations of computer and graphics card, you may experience problems with generic versions of software drivers.
  1. Click the Apple.
  2. On the "Apple" menu, click "Software Update."
  3. If there is a Mac OS X update available, you can install it. If there is a graphics driver update, it will be included in the Mac OS X update.

After upgrading your graphics driver

You will probably need to reboot your computer for the new graphics driver to come into use.

Note: Firefox will not notice the new graphics driver until the day after you upgrade your driver. You can wait a day or you can copy the following code and enter it in a single line in the Error Console (accessible from the Firefox Tools menuthe Firefox button, Web Developer menu) and then click the Evaluate button:

Components.classes["@mozilla.org/extensions/blocklist;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsITimerCallback).notify(null);
Note: Firefox will not notice the new graphics driver until the day after you upgrade your driver. You can wait a day or you can copy the following code and enter it in a single line in the Browser Console (accessible from the Firefox Tools menuthe Firefox button, Web Developer menu) and then press Enterreturn:

Components.classes["@mozilla.org/extensions/blocklist;1"].getService(Components.interfaces.nsITimerCallback).notify(null);

I still have problems with my graphics card in Firefox

Unfortunately, due to the wide range of possible driver, video card and operating system combinations, hardware acceleration or 3D web graphics (WebGL) may still not work for you in Firefox. In these instances you fix the problems by disabling hardware acceleration and WebGL.

Turning off hardware acceleration

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select OptionsAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the Tools menu and then select OptionsOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Preferences...At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Edit menu and select Preferences

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose OptionsPreferences

    .
  2. Select the Advanced panel.
  3. Select the General tab.
  4. Uncheck Use hardware acceleration where available.
  5. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

    . Start Firefox normally.

Disabling WebGL

  1. In the Location bar, type about:config and press EnterReturn.

    • The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I'll be careful, I promise! to continue to the about:config page.
  2. In the Filter box, type webgl.disabled.
  3. Doubleclick on the webgl.disabled item to switch it to true.
  4. At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select ExitAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and then select ExitOn the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Quit FirefoxAt the top of the Firefox window, click on the File menu and select Quit

    Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29

    . Start Firefox normally.



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