Outlook 2013 Distorted Display Issues

After a recent video driver update, my corporate Outlook client started to do some strange things.  Within Office 2013, the screen output would be distorted.  Menu bars were not painted properly until I mouse-over them again, or moved Office programs around.  Other times the display would look corrupted and the navigation tree would not be properly rendered.


Update 16-7-2014:  Adding link to Office 2013 known issues.  This discusses implications of disabling the hardware acceleration and some issues with certain drivers. 

Update 5-11-2014: Adding link to Windows 10 Preview display issue

Update 1-6-2015: Corrected typo in reg.ext command to set the registry key to disable hardware acceleration


I would see issues like this in Outlook -- note that the left hand navigation tree is unreadable in places


Outlook 2013 - Folder Navigation Tree Ist Kaputt !

Then when composing/reading an email, the ribbon would be corrupted and/or distorted:

Outlook 2013 - Ribbon Is Corrupt


The underlying issue is discussed in KB 2768648 - Performance and display issues in Office 2013 client applications.

While the underlying issue is with the video card driver, there is a workaround until the video driver is updated.

On an  individual machine, the user can open up the Outlook advanced properties and select the option to “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”

Outlook 2013 Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration Using GUI

Doing so immediately fixed up my errant display issues.  I’ll update this post when I see a video card release that resolves the issue.

There are some alternative methods of implementing this via the registry and GPO.


Controlling Via Registry

We can also set a registry key to disable the feature:

REG_DWORD  DisableHardwareAcceleration     Value:  0x1


Working With Cmd Prompt

To query this via cmd prompt:

REG.exe Query HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics /V DisableHardwareAcceleration

To set this via cmd prompt:

REG.exe Add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics /T REG_DWORD /V DisableHardwareAcceleration /D 0x1  /F

(Note that the above is one line that may wrap)


Working With PowerShell

We can retrieve the current configuration using the first command, whilst the second sets the value:

Get-ItemProperty -Path HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics  -Name DisableHardwareAcceleration | Select-Object  DisableHardwareAcceleration  | FT –AutoSize


New-ItemProperty -Path HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics  -Name DisableHardwareAcceleration  -PropertyType DWORD -Value "0x1" –Force

(Note that the above are all one line that may wrap)


Group Policy

In the Office 2013 Administrative Template files there is an option to disable hardware acceleration.  To do this:


  1. Add the Office15.admx and Office15.adml files to your GPO
  2. Then, In the Group Policy Editor, select the Miscellaneous node of the Microsoft Office 2013 tree.  Then edit the “Do not use hardware graphics acceleration” element. 


Office 2013 Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration VUsing GPO




Comments (89)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks a lot Mr. Milne.

  2. Good information, Also the screen shots are also appreciated as I feel it reinforces the steps.

  3. anonymouscommenter says:

    Nicely written blog. Thanks for sharing your findings.

  4. God67 says:

    OMG thank you – it was making me insane. I don’t understand how this could happen on my brand spanking new Precision M3800? It is LOADED with memory and graphics power?

  5. anonymouscommenter says:

    Whenever I open Outlook 2013 (even if I just minimize the window, and then open it again), parts of the window are missing (are transparent, showing content from window below). Disabling or enabling HW acceleration has NO effect whatsoever. Using Dell
    E6420 with Intel HD3000 with latest drivers (4/10/2014), so I just have to keep moving the Outlook window after opening the window to get everything visible. Extremely annoying.

  6. anonymouscommenter says:

    Great post. Thank you.

  7. @God76 – It’s the same thing on my thinkpad. It has more GPU power than it took to put man on the moon….

    Jussi – if disabling the acceleration is not helping for you, then a couple more things please. Make sure Outlook & Office are both fully patched up. If this still continues, please log a support case as the Outlook team would like to know more about this.
    In most cases disabling the hardware acceleration is a sufficient workaround.


  8. anonymouscommenter says:

    I have the same issue on my 2013 Dell XPS 15. Thanks for the fix.

  9. anonymouscommenter says:

    This worked for me. Thanks1

  10. anonymouscommenter says:

    This issue it’s been driving me crazy until now. In my case, I had this issue working with Outlook and Word 2013 on my work pc Lenovo G500.
    Thank you man for this great help!


  11. anonymouscommenter says:

    I had this happen on occasion. Just did an OEM update this morning and Outlook basically became unusable, it was like a bad virus was moving blocks of the screen around within every Outlook window at random. Turned off "Graphics Acceleration" and am back
    in business. Thanks!!!!!

  12. anonymouscommenter says:

    I have the same reaction as God67 and Roderick – also a ThinkPad T440S fully loaded… I will disable the accelerator, though wonder what I may lose as a result. But right now I’m wasting a lot of time sorting out screen scrambling….



  13. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks for sharing. You made my day, as I finally got rid of this messy display.

  14. anonymouscommenter says:

    Disabling HW acceleration worked for me — new Lenovo T440S (intel HD graphics driver, Win 8.1 64. Before finding this fix, using an external VGA display, opening/closing the the laptop cover fixed the external display until the next time
    it got messed up.

  15. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks a lot, problem solved

  16. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks a lot, that drove me mad…

  17. anonymouscommenter says:

    Intel has released drivers that seems to have resolved the issue –

  18. anonymouscommenter says:

    I have similar problems with Word 2013. Not so much in the tiles,etc. but in the body where I type. Eventually the words get all garbled together, like you took a paint brush and wiped it sideways along the sheet. Usually if I use the Show/Hide button,
    it clears it up for a while, but then does it again. I looked at the advanced options and it is already checked to not use graphics acceleration. Any other suggestions?

  19. anonymouscommenter says:

    Same issue on a brand new Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. Has anyone (besides Microsoft, which is keeping it hidden) correlated which video cards seem to have this issue? My Samsung has Intel HD Graphics 4400. All latest drivers and software updates for Windows
    and Office.

  20. Vibes – nice! Thanks for sharing this and reporting back it has been worked on!

    Is everyone else who is using the HD 4400 getting relief with this driver? Just remember to go back and toggle off the disable hardware acceleration ticky box.


  21. Nick – can you try that driver Vibes mentions above please?

    Cindy – Can you check that all the video drivers are updated? You may need to update two different drivers depending upon what you have hardware wise.


  22. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you for publishing this. 6 months later and still an issue with newer machines.

  23. Not sure if this will help, but curious to get feedback/comments. For those having the issue, what is your hardware set to in the BIOS / UEFI setup? Do you have Nvidia Optimus enabled? Is that setting locked down so the OS cannot change it?

    This post will go out tomorrow 5th November on a Windows 10 slow video performance issue.



  24. Shreekant.nayak says:

    need expert suggestion – I Have issue with 2013 outlook. all the time I will get not responding and I need to kill the service and restart it. we have office 365 hosted in Microsoft and using MS office stander edition.

  25. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you! Really, really good post and I don’t know why I waited so long to google the issue…Mike R

  26. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks! This was a huge help.

  27. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks a lot !

  28. anonymouscommenter says:

    An Lenovo T440s with Intel GFX has the same issue under Windows 8.1, an Desktop with Nvidia is working fine.

  29. anonymouscommenter says:

    This messy screen was driving me nuts. I wish Acer would get their graphics card driver sorted out properly. (Aspire V17 Nitro)

  30. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks, checking ‘Disable hardware graphics acceleration’ seems to do the trick 🙂

  31. anonymouscommenter says:

    FYI, I have a ThinkPad T440s with this problem and found the updated Intel 4400 display driver here:

    I just installed it, so no guarantee of success. However, the Readme indicates it fixes a single problem:

    [Problem fixes]
    – Fixed an issue where garbage might be observed in MS Outlook 2013.

  32. anonymouscommenter says:


  33. anonymouscommenter says:

    Great help thank you

  34. anonymouscommenter says:

    I’ve seen this on a couple of machines in our environment. Hopefully the graphic acceleration option will address the problem for now. Thanks for posting.

  35. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks for sharing, it worked just fine.

  36. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you.

  37. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you very much , this issue was really annoying and preventing you to work smoothly .. i just checked it, i hope that it work fine.

  38. anonymouscommenter says:

    This issue was driving me mad on my band new Dell XPS15 with Win 8.1 and Outlook 13. Switched off the hardware acceleration and it seems to be working fine. Thanks for that great bit of advice.

  39. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks for sharing! It was very annoying!

  40. anonymouscommenter says:

    thanks a lot for the tips

  41. anonymouscommenter says:

    I’ve been dealing with this issue for some time, thought I would complete a Google search, found this article, problem solved, thanks

  42. anonymouscommenter says:

    Dear Rhoderick,
    many thanks and a big hug also from me for saving my day by taking this pain from me!
    God bless you,

  43. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks for sharing, this fixed the issue for me.

  44. anonymouscommenter says:

    thank you – finally a solution!!!

  45. anonymouscommenter says:

    Did not work for my users (came back after a few days).

  46. anonymouscommenter says:

    Very, very much appreciated. I was at my wit’s end and am thankful for your having taken the time to share the solution to my — and others — challenges. Fixed and happy again. 🙂

  47. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you! This was very helpful.

  48. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks you so much!

  49. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  50. anonymouscommenter says:

    Please note to set this via CMD prompt the last /V must actually be a /d (for data):
    REG Add HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0CommonGraphics /T REG_DWORD /V DisableHardwareAcceleration /d 0x1 /F
    (Note that the above is one line that may wrap)

  51. Thanks Lucas!

    Corrected the typo.


  52. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you, it fixed it for me!!

  53. anonymouscommenter says:

    Fixed for me as well. Running Office 15 with Win 8.1 on Dell XPS with Intel HD4600 Driver & Nvidia GT750M driver

  54. anonymouscommenter says:

    Yes! Thank you for this…it fixed things instantly. BTW, the search term ‘outlook gui scrambled’ brought me here.

  55. anonymouscommenter says:

    We have set this GPO, but when we update to Internet Explorer 11, hardware acceleration is still active – even GPO is set to disable this…. Somebody any idea?

  56. anonymouscommenter says:

    Similar issue, but the hardware acceleration disabling didn’t seem to help.

  57. Robert – update *all* of the video card drivers to the latest. For my laptop this is both Nvidia and Intel drivers (I have a Lenovo W530)


  58. Rene – the GPO setting is the Office GPO that is listed above? How do you identify that it is still active please?


  59. anonymouscommenter says:

    Pablo is a very good guy 🙂

  60. anonymouscommenter says:

    thank you for allowing me to remove this irritating bug from my daily user experience, much appreciated

  61. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you. Finally fixed an issue that has been bugging me for ages on a Dell.

  62. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks so much for helping us all out!

  63. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thank you, I had lived with the minor mouse over issues but over the last week everything including the messages were being corrupted.

  64. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks, it was driving me nuts. now fixed.

  65. anonymouscommenter says:

    Mate, you made my day! This has been driving me insane for weeks…
    Thanks for the fix!!

  66. anonymouscommenter says:

    Seems to have worked. Thanks for the information – nicely presented.

  67. anonymouscommenter says:

    Great help. thanks!

  68. anonymouscommenter says:

    I’m a little surprised this is still an issue more than a year after it was first reported. Disabling hardware acceleration fixed my Office 2013 / 365 display issue too.

  69. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks as well. very helpful. Has this been fixed in an update? I am still having this problem.

  70. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thinkpad E555 with Radeon R4 graphics. Bought two of them together and BOTH have this problem religiously. Sometimes outlook, sometimes word, sometimes facebook videos. Trigger is random. Just chugging along then BAM screen goes scrambled. Tried old drivers,
    new drivers, format and clean install windows WITHOUT Lenovo software and still…the problem persists!!! One of them seemed to get fixed with clean install…the other is going back to Lenovo for second repair (replacing the mainboard this time) but I fear
    it won’t resolve!

  71. Al Bundy Loves 69 says:

    Hi, Since today I have this problem: http://imgur.com/zjYm9b3
    In the preview window there is a black area. It is Outlook 2013 running under Windows 10 Pro which is running in a terminal server session on a Citrix XenServer. It came "over night" according the update history the last update was 6 days ago. Thank you very
    much for your help!

  72. anonymouscommenter says:

    This saved my butt. Outlook would not totally load on my second monitor, (usb adapter) but would on my primary and this fixed it!

  73. anonymouscommenter says:

    This quick fix changed my life. I was about to go batsh*t crazy. Thank you.

  74. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing, I have experiencing this issue for months!

  75. Liz says:

    Great post just what I’m looking for. I’ve also found that if in a document program like word or powerpoint Zooming In or Out is a good Temporary Fix.

  76. David says:

    Great! Disable HW acceleration was the solution. I suffered from this for a year, should’ve googled it before.

    1. Han Yuen says:

      Unfortunately Disabling hardware acceleration workaround is not solving my problem. Is there any other proposal? I have also update the latest Graphic driver. I am still seeing the display distortion.

      1. You updated *all* of the video drivers? There might be both an Intel and NVIDIA for example.

        If so then, that would be worth a support case to get to root cause. Need that to get dumps analysed.


  77. Darlene says:

    why does my outlook look distorted (type) since I downloaded Windows 10? Is there a fix for this? thanks

  78. Darlene says:

    why does my outlook look distorted (type) since I downloaded Windows 10? Is there a fix for this? thank you, Darlene

    1. Update all the video drivers in the machine Darlene, and if the issue persists, then disable the hardware accelerate as I noted in the post.


  79. Scott says:

    Jackpot on a new MSI Stealth Pro, worked like a champ

  80. anonymous says:

    Thank you! My work machine still runs 8.1 and Office 2013, and was doing this a lot.

  81. Paterson Chan says:

    Two of my users have gotten this issue but could not be fixed by disabling hardware graphics acceleration option.

    1. Paterson Chan says:

      We are all running Windows 7 Enterprise x64 with Office 2016 C2R.

  82. Louis Jansen says:

    Many thanks, upgraded this morning from Office 2010 to 2016 having the exact same issues. Your tip to disable hardware graphics acceleration fixed it!

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