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Upgrade your graphics drivers to use hardware acceleration and WebGL

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. Click XP Start button , select All programs, then select Windows Update to open the Windows Update website.
  2. Update ActiveX controls if prompted.
  3. Click Custom and wait until it is done searching.
  4. Select "Hardware, Optional" on the left pane.
  5. Search updates with your graphics card manufacturer name (probably Intel, AMD/ATI or NVIDIA) in the title.
  6. If you find some, check the latest one and click "Review and install updates".
  7. Click Install Updates.
  8. Wait until update is installed. When prompted, restart your computer.
  9. Start Firefox.
  1. Click Small Vista Logo , select All programs, then select Windows Update to open the Windows Update window.
  2. Click the "Check for updates" link on the left pane and wait until it is done searching.
  3. If there are optional updates available, click "optional updates are available".

Windows Vista: The View available updates panel will open. Click "Optional".

Windows 7: The Select updates you want to install panel will open.

  1. Search updates with your graphics card manufacturer name (probably Intel, AMD/ATI or NVIDIA) in the title.
  2. If you find some, check the latest one and click OK to close the View available updates panel.
  3. Click Install updates.
  4. Wait until update is installed. When prompted, restart your computer.
  5. Start Firefox.
  1. From the Start Screen, click the Desktop tile. The Desktop view will open.
  2. From the Desktop, hover in the lower right-hand corner to access the Charms.
  3. Select Control Panel from the Settings charm. The Control Panel window will open.
  4. In the Control Panel window, select System and Security.
  5. Select Windows Update to open the Windows Update window.
  6. Click the "Check for updates" link on the left pane and wait until it is done searching.
  7. If there are optional updates available, click "optional updates are available". The Select updates you want to install panel will open.
  8. Search updates with your graphics card manufacturer name (probably Intel, AMD/ATI or NVIDIA) in the title.
  9. If you find some, check the latest one and click Install to close the View available updates panel.
  10. Wait until update is installed. When prompted, restart your computer.
  11. 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

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

Reboot your computer to use the new graphics driver.

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. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and choose Options.Preferences.
  2. Select the Advanced panel.
  3. Select the General tab.
  4. Uncheck Use hardware acceleration when available.

    Genadvanced
  5. Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click ExitQuit Close 29 . Start 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'll be careful, I promise!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 . Start Firefox normally.
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Version History
Revision #:
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Last update:
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Comments

See /forums/knowledge-base-articles/705213 for related discussion about this article.

Jesse Ruderman added instructions to update drivers on Ubuntu, a reference to the about:support page for those who don't know which graphics cards they have, a new After Upgrading Drivers fx4 section that says to reboot the computer and wait one day.

Alice Wyman fixed some minor things.

It needs review.

I approved it. Ready for localization?

underpass

Hello,

I see that the code

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

is not well alligned into the frame created by the "Note" tag. I think that a bug should be filled for this.


edit: even in this post the code is not well alligned.

Should the word upgrade not be changed to update in this article ? Same for upgrading, etc.

Upgrade sounds like buying a new graphicscard. Update sounds like downloding a newer driver.

scootergrisen said

Should the word upgrade not be changed to update in this article ? Same for upgrading, etc. Upgrade sounds like buying a new graphicscard. Update sounds like downloding a newer driver.

I agree with you. Unless someone has an objection, I think you should go ahead and update the article. Once that's done, I (or another reviewer) can change its name to replace "Upgrade" with "Update".

Should "Browser Console" be changed to "Web Console" ? Because i dont see a posibility to enter anything in Browser Console.

Michael Verdi updated this article for Firefox 24 to change "Error Console" to Browser Conssole" and updated the instructions.

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Browser_Console has a screenshot of the Browser Console and, underneath, it says,

* at the bottom, a command line interpreter enables you to evaluate JavaScript expressions.

I checked in Firefox 24 ESR and the Browser Console does have an area at the bottom where you can enter data. Here's a screenshot I just uploaded to the Media Gallery, titled "BrowserConsole-Fx24ESR: BrowserConsole-Fx24ESR

However, I don't see that field in the Firefox 31 Browser Console. I only see it in the Firefox 31 Web Console ... Here's the MDN article on the Web Console: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Web_Console

Something changed since Firefox 24 but I can't tell you when. I don't think you should replace "Browser Console" with "Web Console". IMHO that section of the note on entering data in the Browser Console isn't really needed in the article so it could simply be edited out.

Joni approved my revision to edit the note to remove instructions for using the Browser Console. I made the change for Firefox 25 and above since I saw no point in revising the instructions that were never updated for Firefox 29.

For the record, the Browser Console input field is now hidden by default as a security measure. This change took place in Firefox 30. See:

  • Bug 922161 - hide Browser Console JS input field if devtools.chrome.enabled is false

Windows XP also has Windows Update. Did we forget to add it in the article, or it's not included for some reason?

upwinxp said

Windows XP also has Windows Update. Did we forget to add it in the article, or it's not included for some reason?

I don't know why it wasn't mentioned but if you can add Windows XP information to this article I would say go for it!

I made a new revision including Windows Update in XP.