How to Set The Default Graphics Card in Windows

Having multiple graphics cards in your Windows PC provides extra graphics processing power for running graphics-intensive applications like games, video editing software, CAD programs, etc. However, you need to configure Windows to use the dedicated powerful graphics card as the default instead of the integrated basic one to leverage the full capability.

Setting the preferred default graphics card in Windows is easy. This article provides step-by-step instructions to set default graphics cards for overall system usage as well as specific applications in Windows 10 and 11.

Why Set Default Graphics Card

Most Windows laptops and some desktops come with two graphics cards:

  • Integrated graphics card: Basic GPU integrated into the CPU chip. Less powerful but uses less energy.
  • Dedicated graphics card: Powerful discrete GPU. Provides much better performance but consumes more power.

By default, Windows uses the integrated graphics card for non-intensive tasks to increase battery life. For running intensive games and applications, it automatically switches to the dedicated graphics card.

However, sometimes the auto-switch does not work properly. Many users have faced performance issues in games and apps due to Windows not engaging the dedicated GPU.

Manually setting the preferred graphics card ensures the system always uses the correct one. It resolves compatibility and performance problems faced due to incorrect auto-selection by Windows.

Steps to Set Default Graphics Card in Windows 10 and 11

The steps to set default graphics cards in Windows 10 and Windows 11 are very similar:

Set System-Wide Default GPU

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to System > Display
  3. Scroll down and click on Graphics settings
  4. Select the app type as Classic app
  5. Click Browse and add the executable file for the app you want to run on the dedicated GPU by default
  6. Click Options
  7. Set graphics preference to High performance
  8. Click Save

These steps will force the selected app to always run on the dedicated graphics card.

Repeat the process for other apps you want to set the default GPU for.

Set Default GPU in Graphics Control Panel

You can also set the default graphics card through the Nvidia or AMD control panel:

  1. Right-click on the desktop
  2. Open Nvidia Control Panel or AMD Radeon Settings
  3. Go to Manage 3D settings
  4. Navigate to Global Settings or Program Settings tab
  5. Set the preferred graphics processor to High performance Nvidia/AMD processor
  6. Click Apply

This will set the dedicated graphics card as the preferred GPU globally for your system.


  • When adding apps, choose the main executable file usually located in C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86) folders.
  • Setting the default GPU to high performance will increase load on the dedicated card. It may reduce battery backup in laptops.
  • You can set different apps to use different GPUs as per their requirements.
  • Disable or uninstall integrated graphics card driver for the dedicated GPU to be used exclusively.

Manually setting the default graphics card ensures your system leverages the powerful dedicated GPU for performance-intensive applications without compatibility issues. Configuring the correct GPU for apps resolves stability and freezing problems when running games and multimedia software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to check graphics card in my PC?

A: You can check graphics cards in your Windows PC through the Task Manager or Device Manager:

  • Task Manager > Performance tab > GPU section
  • Device Manager > Display adapters

This will show all graphics cards installed in your system.

Q: Can you have both integrated and dedicated GPU enabled?

A: Yes, Windows supports using both integrated and dedicated graphics cards at the same time. This setup is common in gaming laptops to switch between power saving and high performance modes.

Q: Why games crash on integrated GPU?

A: Integrated graphics cards have low processing power compared to dedicated GPUs. Running graphics-intensive games on integrated GPUs can overburden the system and cause game crashes, freezes, lagging, and stability issues.

Q: Does disabling integrated graphics improve performance?

A: Disabling or uninstalling the integrated GPU ensures all graphical processing is handled by the dedicated graphics card. This prevents incorrect switching and provides maximum performance.


Setting the correct default graphics card according to application requirements is vital for stability and performance. Both integrated and dedicated GPUs have different ideal usage scenarios. Forcibly switching the graphics card through Windows settings or vendor control panels can resolve compatibility issues and crashes in games, video editors, CAD software, and other GPU-accelerated applications. This simple tweak also unlocks the full capability of your system.