Photoshop crashes NVIDIA GPU, switches to Intel: “Your graphics processor is incompatible”

Photoshop crashes NVIDIA GPU, switches to Intel: “Your graphics processor is incompatible”

UPDATE 7/6/22: This problem is NOT resolved! 🙁 Will add details on what fixes it once I find out.

I know I won’t be using the right terminology here; forgive me. However, people who know the terminology probably don’t need this article. This is for folks who can’t get Photoshop to work and just want to get on with their work day! I was out of work for over a day figuring this out, so hopefully this will save someone else in the same pickle.

What happened when Photoshop chose the wrong Graphics Processor

Late June of 2022, Photoshop suddenly went cray-cray. The screen was freezing up, showing the opening screen behind my artboard. The whole program would freeze up requiring the good old CTRL+ALT+DEL. When I relaunched Photoshop (PS) I got this error:

Your graphics processor is incompatible

Driver Update recommended
Driver is out of Date (12 months, should be less than 6 months)
OpenGL unavailable
DirectX unavailable

I had been using PS like nobody’s biz for well over 6-12 months, and I saw there was a graphics driver update just the other day, so I knew none of this was true.

Then, down at the bottom, I noticed it listed my graphic processor as Intel, not the fancy pants one that I always see getting driver updates – NVIDIA.

Try to proceed anyway. Photoshop is just unusable.

As usual, I head to Google. Learned all kinds of stuff I never knew – integrated graphics processors and high performance ones, and why I have both. Just what I wanted to take the day off to do! NOT.

What I tried that DID NOT work

Everything says to go into PS and go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and just change it there! No prob! NOPE. The ONLY “Detected Graphics Processor” listed was my integrated Intel and any options to change that were greyed-out.

Back to Google. Tons of super old stuff. Lots of old forum discussions. Knowing it’s a NEW issue, set it for only results in the Last Week. Still no gold.

Everything keeps pointing to the NVIDIA Control Panel though. I go there. I set it to prefer the NVIDIA High Performance over the Integrated Intel one. I go into Program Settings and make sure Photoshop is set to use High-Performance too. Try PS again – same error. Restart computer. Go to PS – same error.

What I was ignoring was the message in the NVIDIA Control Panel that says “Windows OS now managers selection of the graphics processor. Open Windows graphics settings (linked)”.

NVIDIA Control Panel - settings - shows message about Windows now managing graphics processor selection.

I had already been there before! It took me to this screen and I THOUGHT I had told it to use NVIDIA Control Panel to set my preferences! This was a TOTAL MISUNDERSTANDING on my part. Here’s what I was seeing on those settings:

What I THOUGHT it was saying was “Choose WHICH app you would like to use to set your computer’s graphics preferences”. I saw NVIDIA Control Panel on the list and selected it. Went back to said Control Panel – settings were all as I set previously, but I still could NOT get PS to recognize anything but the integrated Intel graphics processor.

How I fixed it

My interpretation of Windows’ Graphic performance preference settings was totally wrong. What this setting does is allows you to specify your Graphics card program by program, within Windows 10 Settings.

So from the top, here’s what I did to fix it.

How to set GPU Graphics Processor for Photoshop, or any program, in Windows 10

Time needed: 2 minutes.

How to find Photoshop 2022 and set Graphic Performance Preference in Windows 10

  1. Go to Start Menu to Settings

  2. Choose System, then Display

  3. Scroll down and click “Graphics Settings”

  4. Choose “Desktop app” and click Browse.

  5. Open “This PC” and double-click to open your C: Drive.

  6. Open “Program Files”, then “Adobe”, then “Adobe Photoshop 2022” (branded folder)

    For me, it was in Program Files, not Programs Files (x86).

  7. Select “Photoshop” and click Add

    This will be the largest size file in the folder. The final path is
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop 2022

  8. Click Options. Choose “High performance”. Save.

Quite simple really. Once you actually understand that the NVIDIA Control Panel has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING anymore.

Notes on 7/6/22: I’ve been working with Dell for several days now trying multiple combinations of uninstalling and reinstalling drivers. Still, nothing has solved the issue!

Update 7/30/22: Yep, still having the issue. As long as I stay in PS without switching into any other apps, I can get through whatever editing I need to do. When NVIDIA does crap out though, rather than restarting the whole machine, I learned I can go to Device Manager > Display adapters – right-click on NVIDIA to “Disable device”, wait a sec, then right-click and “Enable device”. That gives it the little butt kick it needs to start working again.

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About the Author

Abby Buzon

I'm Abby (Armstrong-Lehman) Buzon, Lead Designer & Owner of The Helpful Marketer, based in Medina County, Ohio. I got my start in marketing and website administration in 2010, became a mom in 2015, and left my day job in 2017 to begin The Helpful Marketer. I'm happier than I've ever been and I truly love what I do, so I'm here to share my story and give some marketing tips along the way!


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