Windows 10: Laptops/Tablets: How to set your apps to use the best performing video card?

Applies to:

Windows 10 1809
Windows 10 1803

Does not apply to:

Windows 10 1709

Windows 10 1703

Windows 10 1607

Windows 10 1511

Windows 10 1507

Dani a good colleague reached out and asked on his laptop that had Dual GPU’s, how do we make his work related apps use the Discrete “Graphics Processing Unit” (GPU)?

You might ask, what is a “Discrete GPU”?

It’s a Dedicated GPU that is not a part of the CPU, it’s a separate add-in board or a separate chip on the system board, usually found on small factor PC’s such as laptops and/or tablets.

Why did he want it to run the “Discrete GPU”?

He wanted his apps to run faster.

i.e. games and graphic intensive apps.

In Task Manager, he was seeing the following:


What if your laptop or tablet doesn’t have two video cards?

It probably doesn’t ship with an optional discrete driver.

What kind of tablets have an optional discrete GPU?

Such as the Surface Book 2 and others from your favorite OEM vendor(s).

The first item that most folks will find is the following:

"Adjust visual effects for best performance" should really be called "Adjust visual effects for crappiest appearance"

and then the following articles:

15055 Optimize Windows for better performance

4002019 Tips to improve PC performance in Windows 10

In order to adjust this, in the past versions of Windows 10 1709 or older, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7, you would use a 3rd party software such as:

  • AMD Radeon Settings
  • or
  • Nvidia Control Panel

Meanwhile, Dani had found that we had added a new feature to Windows 10.

Select GPU to use by specific applications

Click the Start button, type Graphics settings and then hit Enter.
Choose between Classic app or Universal app (Windows Store Apps).
Select desired app and then click Add.
Select the app from the list and then click Options.
Set the graphics preference for the app and then click Save to complete.

Method 1)  Action Center


Click on “All Settings”


Click on “System”


Click on “Display”


In Display, “Scroll all the way down”

Click on “Graphics settings”.


Under “Choose an app to set preference”.

Select “Classic app” or “Universal app”

For example:

Windows Explorer




Click on “Options”.


Change it to “High Performance”

Click on “Save”


Repeat with the following “Classic apps”:

Internet Explorer

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Power BI Desktop

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft Access

How about “Universal apps” (aka Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps (formerly Windows Store apps and Metro-style apps))?

In this example, we will be using Microsoft Edge browser:


Under “Choose an app to set preference”

Select “Universal app”

Under “Select an app”


Select “Microsoft Edge”

Click on “Add”






Now you should be able to see “High Performance” under Microsoft Edge.

Repeat the steps for the other Universal app(s).

I hope this helps,

Yong (It’s raining in Southern California Smile ).

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