Most browsers now support hardware acceleration, improving rendering performance and generally providing a snappier experience. Unfortunately for the more recent versions of Internet Explorer, this functionality is still being tweaked. If you’re experiencing flickering elements, black areas and other oddities, the solution could be as easy as disabling hardware acceleration.
For an example of what you’ll see, just take a look at the image above. This is Internet Explorer 10 running on Windows 7 x64, powered by a GeForce 560 Ti using WHQL drivers. Yes, it’s a mess. I usually use Chrome and only fire up IE to check my website designs, but if you’re a stalwart user of Microsoft’s browser, then having a program that actually works is kind of nice!
Switching off hardware acceleration is simple. Just click the gear icon in the top right-corner of IE’s window and select “Internet options” from the drop-down. In the dialog that appears, hit the Advanced tab and you’ll see something similar to the image on the right. Check the option that says “Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering” and restart the browser.
If you’re worried about a loss of performance, don’t be. Browsers have been optimised for software rendering for many, many years and while you’ll miss out on a few bits and bobs, your experience should be relatively unchanged.
At least you can browse the internet again!