Upgrade your graphics drivers to use hardware acceleration and WebGL

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  • Creator: Cheng Wang
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Firefox and some plugins in full screen 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 address some problems with these features or to take advantage of them, you may need to update your graphics card drivers.Some plugins such as Flash use your graphics card to help improve performance. You may need to update your graphics card drivers if you experience problems. This article describes how to do that.

How do I know my graphics driver is out-of-date?

If you have no information on your graphics driver, you can get it by following these instructions:

  1. At the top of the Firefox windowOn the menu bar, click on the Help menuFirefox menu, go over to the Help menu (on Windows XP, click on the Help menu) and select Troubleshooting Information. The Troubleshooting Information tab will open.
  2. Under the Graphics section at the end of the page, check the adapter description, the driver version and date.

If the driver date is older than three months and you don't have a legacy graphics card, you probably have an out-of-date graphics driver. You can find the latest driver version numbers on the respective manufacturer's website: Three common manufacturers are: Intel,AMD/ATI and NVIDIA.

How can I update my graphics driver?

Use the Windows Update feature

On Windows Vista and above, 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. The Windows Update window will open.
  2. Click the "Check for updates" link and wait until it is done.
  3. If there are optional updates available, click "n optional updates are available". The View available updates panel will appear.
  4. Click "Optional" and search updates with your graphics card manufacturer name (see above to get it) 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, your graphics driver version might not be the latest one. Continue to the next section.

Use 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, and apply all available updates.

If there is no update tool, no updates available, or if the updates don't solve your problems, you may still not be using the latest graphics driver. 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.

Get and install the latest generic graphics driver

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

Note: Due to compatibility issues, hardware acceleration is not available by default for graphics cards from other manufacturers.
Note: After downloading the graphics driver, the installation wizard may prevent you to install it because your current driver is customized by your computer manufacturer.
Warning: With certain configurations, you may experience issues 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.

I still have problems with hardware acceleration in Firefox

Unfortunately, due to the wide range of possible driver and video card and operating system combinations, hardware acceleration or 3D graphics (WebGL) may still not work for you in Firefox or there may not be an updated driver available that works. You can work around many of the problems by disabling hardware acceleration and WebGL.

Note: Disabling hardware acceleration may make Firefox slower to display pages. Disabling WebGL will prevent WebGL content on the web from working.

Turning off hardware acceleration

  1. Click the menu button New Fx Menu Fx57Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Select the Advanced panel
  3. Select the General tab
  4. Uncheck Use hardware acceleration where available.
  5. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

    Click the Firefox menu Fx57Menu , then click Exit. Click the Firefox menu at the top of the screen, then click Quit Firefox.Click the Firefox menu Fx57Menu , then click Quit.

    Restart Firefox normally.

Disabling WebGL

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

    • The about:config "This might void your warranty!" warning page may appear. Click I accept the risk! 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. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 .

    Click the Firefox menu Fx57Menu , then click Exit. Click the Firefox menu at the top of the screen, then click Quit Firefox.Click the Firefox menu Fx57Menu , then click Quit.

    Restart Firefox normally.