How to Turn off or Disable Your Graphics Card? (Integrated or Dedicated)

Graphics cards are one of the most important components of a computer. There are many reasons why you may need to turn them off. You may want to set up a new graphics card that you just bought. In this case you need to turn off the old card.

You may ask yourself, “Can I turn off a computer’s graphics card?”

Yes, that’s right. You can quickly disable the dedicated graphics card. It’s a little more difficult to disable the integrated graphics card, and it could cause problems.

So how do you do that? In this post, we’ll go into more detail about these things. Read to the end and you’ll learn everything you need to know to avoid problems.

We recommend you to begin reading the other heading below. It’s important to know the differences between integrated, dedicated and external graphics cards.

How to Turn Off the Graphics Card?

It’s very easy to turn off or disable the graphics card from Device Manager. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.

1. Type Device Manager in the search box and open it.

Search windows device manager

2. Click on Display adapters. This will create a dropdown menu with options. You’ll see here all the available graphics cards on your computer. Find the one you want to disable.

Device Manager display adapters

3. Right-click on it and click Disable device.

device manager display adapters disable graphics card

4. A popup with some warnings will appear. Select “Yes”

disable device warning

Your video card has now been turned off.

The screen may now go blank for a few seconds.

You’ll notice a disabled icon next to the graphics card you disabled when the display reappears.

disabled gpu icon

After disabling a graphics card, the display layout may change and you’ll need to return to the display settings to correct it.

However, disabling the integrated graphics card in the device manager doesn’t cause your system to permanently switch to the dedicated GPU.

If you want to permanently switch your PC from the integrated GPU to the dedicated GPU, you must do so via BIOS.

This method is a bit more difficult for beginners.

The BIOS version varies from PC to PC, so the BIOS menu on my PC may not be the same as yours.

Also, some BIOS versions, especially those on laptops, remove so many useful features that the menu for disabling the integrated GPU may be missing altogether.

Now, let’s see how to disable the integrated GPU from the BIOS menu.

1. Restart your PC and enter the BIOS settings. If you don’t know how to access the BIOS setting you can read this guide. Generally, you can enter BIOS by pressing any of the keys: Delete, F2, F9, or F10.

2. As soon as you’re in BIOS, look for options for integrated graphics or VGA settings. You may need to go into the “Advanced” settings for this.

3. Once you’ve found the right settings, turn off the integrated GPU, save your changes, and then exit BIOS.

You can also do the job easily by watching this video.

Note that changing the settings in BIOS can lead to problems and undesirable results. So it’s not a good idea, especially if you aren’t sure whether you have found the right settings for the integrated graphics or not.

What Does Integrated Graphics Mean?

11th gen intel core processor 1

Integrated graphics are the CPU -integrated onboard graphics that can do basic graphics work like rendering images and playing video and audio. They’re responsible for bringing everything to the computer screen.

The memory of these cards is shared with your computer system, making them slightly slower and less powerful than dedicated graphics cards.

What Does Dedicated Graphics Card Mean?

geforce rtx 2070 founders edition
GeForce RTX 2070

Dedicated graphics cards are on-board GPUs with higher speed and functionality than integrated graphics. They have their own memory where they can store more graphics data.

If you’re doing graphics-intensive tasks like video editing, architectural rendering, or just playing high-resolution games, you’ll need one of these GPUs.

What Is an External Graphics Card?

razer core x external gpu enclosure
Razer Core X External GPU Enclosure

External graphics cards are additional parts that connect to laptops via USB. You can’t change or upgrade a laptop’s integrated or dedicated GPU. External GPUs help by giving games the boost they need.

Most of the time, it’s easiest to turn off the external graphics cards. Since it’s connected with a USB cable, all you have to do is unplug the USB cable to turn it off. It’s that simple!

In this article we’ll talk about whether it’s possible to turn off integrated and dedicated graphics cards or not.

Can I Turn Off Graphics Card?

It’s possible to disable a computer’s dedicated or integrated graphics card.

If you know what to do, the process is safe.

Here are a few things you need to know in advance to avoid problems.

Things to Ensure before Turning off Graphics Card

If you want to disable a dedicated graphics card, make sure you have enabled the integrated graphics card.

On the other hand, if you want to disable the integrated graphics card, make sure you have a dedicated graphics card enabled. This must be done. If not, you’ll not be able to proceed to the next step.

Now you can start turning off or disabling your computer’s graphics card.

How Can You Tell If a GPU Is Integrated or Dedicated?

If you have both a dedicated and an integrated GPU, it can be difficult for a new user to tell which is the integrated and which is the dedicated.

For example, my laptop has both an Intel HD Graphics 620 and an NVIDIA GeForce MX250, but which of the two is the integrated graphics?

If you have a basic understanding of the graphics card industry, you know that the Intel HD Graphics 620 is an integrated GPU, while the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 is a dedicated GPU.

Integrated GPUs are basically all Intel GPUs, such as Intel HD graphics, Intel UHD graphics, and Intel Iris graphics cards. NVIDIA GPUs, on the other hand, are all dedicated graphics cards.

AMD makes both dedicated and integrated GPUs, which can be a bit confusing for new users.

If you’re not familiar with the GPU, it helps if you simply Google the make and model of the GPU that shows up in the device manager.

What Will Happen If You Turn Off Graphics Card?

Disabling Dedicated Graphics Card

If you disable a dedicated graphics card, nothing bad will happen.

As mentioned earlier, graphics cards are responsible for displaying various images and videos on the screen of a laptop or computer. Without them, a computer cannot do its job properly.

But there is nothing wrong with that. If you turn off your dedicated graphics card, your computer’s onboard graphics will take over.

Images and videos don’t need much work to be displayed, and the built-in graphics card can handle these simple tasks with ease.

Disabling Integrated Graphics Card

The main problem occurs when you want to turn off the integrated graphics card. It’s not a good idea to turn off the integrated graphics card. If you do, you have to make sure that a dedicated card is turned on.

If you turn off the computer’s integrated graphics card and don’t have another graphics card to support it, the Microsoft Basic Display Driver software will take over video processing.

microsoft basic display driver

You will notice a significant decrease in performance due to the fact that the Microsoft Basic Display Driver software uses the CPU for video processing.

Disabling All Graphics Card

If you turn off both the integrated and dedicated graphics card on a laptop (if it has one), the screen doesn’t go black. Instead, software-based rendering takes full control via the CPU.

Software-based video rendering is significantly less powerful and can cause unacceptably long performance lags.

Software-based rendering also works on desktops, but your monitor must be connected to the motherboard’s video output for it to work.

So before you turn off your graphics cards, make sure you’ve done everything we’ve discussed so far. This way your computer will stay safe.

Can a PC Work If It Doesn’t Have a Graphics Card?

You may wonder if PC can work without a graphics card.

Yes, it’s most certainly possible. You don’t need a special graphics card for things like surfing the web, watching videos on YouTube, or answering emails. In these situations, the built-in graphics card can get the job done without a problem.

So, if you have the integrated graphics enabled, you can run a PC without a dedicated graphics card.

But you can’t run a PC without a graphics card. And it’s the graphics card that makes this work possible.

Without a graphics card, a computer can’t display these things properly. You won’t be able to see anything because the screen will go black.

So you can run a computer just fine without a dedicated graphics card, as long as you have at least one processor with a built-in graphics card.

Can You Play Games If You Turn Off Your Graphics Card?

Technically you can, but you’ll get very low performance and a poor gaming experience.

If you don’t have a dedicated graphics card, the integrated graphics of your PC will have to do everything.

And we’ve already seen that integrated graphics cards aren’t particularly powerful. They’re good for displaying pictures and playing videos, but not for intensive tasks like gaming.

The integrated graphics will have big problems playing the game. It might still work, though. Check the game’s requirements and specs to see if your built-in graphics card is up to the task.

But you should be aware from the start that this will affect performance and frame rate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I upgrade my laptop’s graphics card?

Unfortunately, laptop graphics cards cannot be replaced or upgraded. They’re all set. When you buy a laptop, you need to pay close attention to the GPU specs. You can easily get a good gaming laptop with a powerful graphics card for under $1000.

Can I connect external graphics cards to laptops?

Yes. Most laptops don’t allow you to add additional graphics cards like PCs do. But you have a unique way to deal with it: external graphics cards.
External GPUs, or eGPUs, are graphics processors made for laptops that plug into the laptop with a USB cable. So you can easily connect an external graphics card to your laptop to improve its gaming performance.

What should I do if my screen goes black after I disable my graphics card?

In this case, you have to manually reset the BIOS. The simplest method is to remove the CMOS battery, which looks like a watch battery and is located on the motherboard.

Can I change my integrated graphics card?

Unfortunately, you can’t change the integrated graphics card. Since they’re built into the CPU, they’re there forever. That’s why they can’t be changed.

Final Words

Now you should know the answer to the question “How do I turn off the computer’s graphics card?” We talked about how to turn it off and how to do it in a safe way.

You can easily turn off your graphics card if you follow the precautions described in this article. We wouldn’t recommend turning it off for too long, as this can degrade the graphics. Everyone wants the best performance, and so do you.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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