Outlook 2013 hangs due to hardware acceleration

Last reviewed on April 3, 2014

Outlook 2013 iconOne of the new features in Office 2013 is Hardware Graphics Acceleration which is supposed to improve performance. It doesn't always work well on older computers (and even some new ones). Symptoms include blurred text, cursor hangs randomly, and Outlook freezing for a few seconds (or longer).

Although many of the complaints subsided since this article was originally published, problems with Outlook 2013 crashing or hanging on Windows 7 with Aero enabled are recurring following the release of Office 2013 SP1. Disabling Hardware Graphics Acceleration should solve the problem (using a non-Aero theme would also fix it).

I'm seeing a number of complaints where Outlook freezes or hangs and in many of the cases the issue when away when hardware graphics acceleration is disabled.

You can disable the use of Hardware Graphics Acceleration (for the entire Office 2013 suite) from the Options dialog of any Office 2013 application. Each application that is open will need to be closed and restarted after changing the setting.

In Outlook 2013, go to File, Options, Advanced and select Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration, near the bottom of the dialog.

disable hardware acceleration

This value is stored in the registry at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics
DWORD: DisableHardwareAcceleration
Value: 1 to disable

Administrators can disable hardware graphics acceleration using Group Policy. It's located in the Group Policy Editor under Microsoft Office 2013 > Miscellaneous > Do not use hardware graphics acceleration.

More Information

Visual features or video quality may differ from one computer to another in Office 2013

For help troubleshooting general video issues in any version of Office, see
How to troubleshoot video issues in Office programs

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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