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 10/26/22: Dell determined my graphics card must be bad came and replaced my motherboard… twice but that’s another story. THE PROBLEM PERSISTED. Yesterday, saw the update for Photoshop v.24. I THOUGHT it was the answer… and NVIDIA just crashed again, rendering Photoshop unusable.

The best solution I’ve found is – Once in Photoshop, STAY in Photoshop. If you need to go back to Chrome, save and exit Photoshop completely. If/when NVIDIA crashes, 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.


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Driver is out of Date (12 months, should be less than 6 months)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!

 

20 Comments

  1. Laura on September 7, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    I have the same problem with photoshop/nvidia- same set-up with the 2 graphics cards dell laptop and same issue with the NVIDIA driver crashing off in the middle of work – needing to be disabled/reenabled as you describe. Did you ever get an answer to the issue? I blame Windows for taking over control of which graphics driver to use when. So frustrating!

    • Abby Buzon on September 9, 2022 at 3:35 pm

      Laura, NO! I still never found an answer and it still has not gotten better! After trying older NVIDIA drivers and an older version of PS – (spent a good 20+ hours on this) I finally gave up and proceeded with updates as they release in hopes of a fix. Still nothing. And now doing Disable/Enable in the Display Drivers isn’t always helping anymore either.
      I agree, it’s gotta be Microsoft. It doesn’t seem like it’s Adobe or NVIDIA…
      Please let me know if you find a solution! I’ll be sure to post here as soon as I find one as well!

  2. Kimber on September 13, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    I too am having the same issue and I believe it started around the same time. I will continue to check back on this post To see if any fixes have been found. Thanks so much for The update on disabling/enabling device. It’s so nice to know I don’t have to restart my computer every time it has this issue.

    • Abby Buzon on September 13, 2022 at 9:33 pm

      Oh no, you too!? Ugh. Now InDesign gets an unexpected error and has to close if I’ve been away from my computer for a bit. I’m able to just open it right back up without issue though and has never given any sort of graphics card warning. I feel like it reinforces the theory that there’s an issue between Windows and Adobe though.
      Glad I could help a bit. And please keep us posted if you find any resolution!

  3. Robert Tell on September 19, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    I have been struggling with this issue too for several weeks, if I get up go for a break then come back to finish some editing, I have to shut PS down, restart my PC to get back to full functionality, it’s so time consuming and frustrating…

    • Abby Buzon on September 20, 2022 at 1:59 pm

      Time consuming and frustrating… indeed! Robert, please come back and let us know if you ever find a solution! Are you also using a NVIDIA graphics card? I have the NVIDIA GeForce MX250

  4. Katie on October 5, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been working with Adobe for months trying to figure out why PS keeps crashing and telling me I need to update despite that not being true. I’ve felt like I was going crazy trying to replicate the issue for them because they “fix” it and say “I don’t see a problem”. Please let me know if you guys find a solution.

    • Abby Buzon on October 5, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      I will Katie! I’m hoping someone in this motley crew will find an answer. I have everyone’s email addresses who commented here, so I’ll send something out if a solution is ever found. And let us know vice versa!

  5. Dirk on October 24, 2022 at 5:10 am

    Hi Abby. I have the same issue with a brand new Dell G15 using RTX3060 graphics card and latest Windows and all drivers. Driving me nuts… Are you on a Dell perhaps?

    • Abby Buzon on October 26, 2022 at 4:51 am

      I think v24 of Photoshop finally resolved this! PRAYING
      AND NO. Photoshop v. 24 did NOT fix the issue. 🙁
      And yes, it’s a Dell. Inspiron 2-in-1. Dell just put in a new motherboard determining my graphics card must be bad… there’s no way this brand new one is bad too… is there?

  6. Tmg on October 31, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    I suddenly started having this same problem and I do have a Dell. It’s refurbished, but only a few months old and my graphics card doesn’t have problems with anything except Photoshop. I’m beyond frustrated. This id how I make my living. Between this and the Pantone colors thing, I’m seriously looking at other options for Photoshop and Illustrator. I can’t take it anymore.

    • Abby Buzon on October 31, 2022 at 11:00 pm

      Ugh, I know. I’m in the same boat. I have found that as long as I stay in Photoshop and don’t switch over to another program, then I’m OK. When I need to go back into Chrome or Outlook, I just save and close Photoshop. Does that keep NVIDIA from dying or freezing if you do that?

  7. A. M. on November 8, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    Have same with acer laptop, that is super weird and couldn’t find the solution, even found this site…

    • Abby Buzon on November 8, 2022 at 10:52 pm

      Interesting. Also NVIDIA I take it? GeForce? I have the MX250. I’ve been apprehensive to say anything, but I THINK the latest Photoshop update and driver update fixed it. I’ve had Photoshop open for a few days, in and out of other programs, without ANY issue. Knocking on wood!

  8. Alon on November 14, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Aaarggh – so frustrating. I have been using the Intel driver for months as I can’t find a resolutions (Dell Inspiron 7200). Thanks for sharing your work arounds.

  9. Jenifer George on November 26, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Hi everyone,
    i was facing the same problem and I came here looking for an answer but it didn’t work… and b’coz of the issue i was not able to edit my pentool stroke and path and it was all grayed out… so was desperate to find out a solution and i didn’t know what to do.. but while I was using one of the tricks using device manager, I found out that I can update the driver (NVIDIA) in my case so I went to nvidia website and was searching for the driver which my system has (NVIDIA GeForce MX330) and downloaded and installed it as required while installing it showed that it will automatically update in the place of the old driver and i clicked okay that’s it… and when I opened photoshop it was working well and my pentool is also working well. thank you so much Abby without you I wouldn’t have found this option.

    • Abby Buzon on November 26, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      Oh wow! That’s great Jeni! So very, very glad to hear you found a solution! It’s so strange. We certainly all have some common thread, all having NVIDIA/Photoshop issues that began around the same time, but not all identical problems and/or solutions. Thank you for letting us know and I’m so glad you’re back up and running finally!

  10. Marcus on November 29, 2022 at 6:33 am

    Hi guys. I’ve been experiencing this same issue for a few months. My machine is a Dell XPS 15 9560, graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. I feel like I’ve tried everything – updated Dell drivers, updated Nvidia drivers, updated to the latest Photoshop every time a new version is released (and they come thick and fast, don’t they?), uninstalled and reinstalled Photoshop, and and and. Nothing has worked. Like you Abby, it seems to be less of a thing if I stay in Photoshop, but if I exit Photoshop without closing it, on return it has crashed. Quitting via the Task Manager sometimes works, but typically it takes takes my whole machine down. Hugely frustrating. I’m now using version 24.1 but it definitely hasn’t resolved the problem for me. I’m wondering if others are still experiencing this issue?

    • Abby Buzon on November 29, 2022 at 9:34 am

      Hey Marcus,
      Last I checked I was still having the issue, but not as bad? Like sometimes I forget and leave a PSD open and I’ll get back to it and it’s still ok! Other times though… it’s almost like it depends on what I’m doing in PS when I “abandon” it. Like, if I’m just going to place a file or something – like something that uses less GPU’s then it’s OK. That’s not a well-tested hypothesis though!
      Keep me and the others here updated if you ever find a fix!

  11. Marcus on November 30, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Abby

    I hope I’m not speaking too soon – but I think this issue is resolved. Yesterday, three things happened, one or more of which has made the difference: 1) I contacted Adobe support. I was impressed by their prompt response. The agent who assisted me remoted into my machine, while I tried to demonstrate the crashing issue – which of course failed to rear its head during our session, despite me leaving PSDs open, switching to various other programs, etc. I noted that in my Photoshop > Performance Preferences, she changed my number of History states from 50 to 25, and increased Cache Levels from 3 to 6. Whether it was this that did the trick I don’t know, because shortly before Adobe got back to me, I had 2) done a Dell driver update, and 3) updated my Nvidia drivers (I had recently updated both my Dell and Nvidia drivers so I was surprised to see yet more updates were available when I checked). Since yesterday, I’ve been leaving Photoshop open for extended periods and it hasn’t gone down once, so I’m optimistic. I hope this helps someone!

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