Firefox 4: Disable Hardware Acceleration to Improve Performance on Low End Computers and Laptops

Posted March 29, 2011 by Rob Rogers in Mozilla Firefox

By default, Firefox has hardware acceleration enbabled. If you are using a low end video card in your system, this can cause performance issues. By disabling hardware acceleration and relying on the software, you can actually increase the performance on your computer. Instruction are now updated for Windows and Mac versions of FF4.

For Windows–

1. Open Firefox.

2. Click the orange Firefox button in the upper-left corner.

3. Mouseover Options from the dropdown menu and select Options.

4. Select Advanced from the horizontal menu at the top of window.

5. On the General tab, uncheck the Use hardware acceleration when available checkbox.

6. Click the OK button.

7. Restart the browser.

For Mac —

The instructions are very similar for OS X. Here is a picture illustrating the steps:


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
View more articles by Rob Rogers

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Mulder

    I call a Fail on this tip. It only applies to Windows; there is no Firefox button in Firefox for Mac OS X, and no Options menu, either.

    To accomplish this tip, Mac OS X users need to first go to the Preferences menu, select the Advanced pane and uncheck “Use hardware acceleration when available”. Then they need to go to the View >Toolbars menu and check/uncheck the items toolbars they want or don’t want.

    If you’re going to publish tips like this, you need to test them on all platforms and write them for each one. And you need to be upfront in the title of the post by telling people which platform(s) the tip works on.

    Common sense.

    • Anonymous


      Tech-Recipes is a positive little community. I appreciate people that use the comments to explain additional or confusing steps… in fact, I appreciate it so much that I often send them t-shirts or gift certificates for helping out.

      Anyway, I’ve included a nice step-by-step direction pic to show how to do this on your mac just so you’ll be able to sleep at night.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously you failed to read the title of this article where it says “Low End Computers and Laptops”. I find it hard to believe that when you read the title you actually thought “Low End Computers and Laptops” would refer to your platform. Never would I have thought that you apple fan-boys/girls would ever admit to there being “Low End Computers and Laptops” coming out of Cupertino!!! Really? What is the black turtleneck wearing #$%# going to think about that?

    common misconception

  • Xiongdi77

    it looks good .

    haha,good post .i will come here often .

  • magicaldeck

    This works very well for my desktop! I have a core i5 quad-core machine with 6 GB of ram but an average ATI video card from 2009, so it looks like I need to disable this option.

  • Don

    Any tips for how to benchmark this to determine if you need it or not

  • Bobc4012

    Mulder’s comment about doing it on the MAC also applies to FF4 on a Linux system.
    Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced and then uncheck the box.

  • Mac Daddy

    Great tip and I included the feedback on both the Mac and Linux applications.


  • D/\rkside

    You can benchmark this by running the following DEMO:

    (This DEMO is browser and OS independent)