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We've launched a 3D windows app for distribution at another company, but we encountered some problems with running it on their tightly controlled set of computers. The IT group set up all of the computers there to the same policy where graphics hardware acceleration has been mostly disabled (the hardware acceleration slider is set to disable DirectDraw and Direct3D and cannot be changed by the user).

The video card in each machine, the Mobile Intel GMA X4500HD, is perfectly capable of running 3D applications, but it seems like they've purposefully left the video card just running idle.

I just want to know what could be the reason for such a policy. They mentioned to us that it may have been set this way for compatibility with some videos released a while ago, but it seems like this setting should be a last resort. Without having personal direct access to whoever had set this policy, I can only just make guesses.

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3 Answers 3

This question doesn't really have an answer (just like you, we can only guess what they were thinking, and it's not really hardware/software related as such), so I'm not sure if it's appropriate for this site, however...

It sounds like an ill thought-out deterrent from playing 3D games at work to me.

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Yea, it's got to be the brain child of some upper level executive who has no clue and thinks hardware graphics acceleration is only for games. –  BBlake Jan 31 '11 at 17:28
I'm thinking it might've been better at serverfault, but you're right, it's probably only going to generate vague answers either way. We're just going to need to negotiate them adjusting this policy; I just wanted to see if I could find any good reasons for how it is set currently. –  Doug Kavendek Jan 31 '11 at 19:00
I can't think of any common reason to do that. If it is truly for 'compatibility' then the way forward should be to fix the bug causing it instead of trying to stop the symptom by turning off hardware acceleration. –  Matthieu Cartier Jan 31 '11 at 19:07

As the person who decides this sort of thing where I work, I can't think of any sensible reason why we would ever want to do this. But that doesn't mean there isn't a reason I can't think of.

I think this really is a case for "Ask them". Aside from anything else, that's always going to be the first step in getting the decision changed. There may be all kinds of reasons, some good, some bad, some that were relevant but aren't any longer, but I'm struggling to see what they could be.

Troubleshooting / bugfixing is a possibility but if it is then its an unlikely one (or a warning sign of poor decision making); there is sometimes a reason to drop acceleration down a notch or two but I honestly can't think of a way that turning it off completely would improve anything for anyone.

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I can think of one and only one reason to disable hardware acceleration. Incompatibility with vmware ESX vSphere 4 and Windows 2008 R2 Server.

In other words if you have the default settings from the vmware driver with hardware acceleration on and you are using a vSphere client on a Windows 2008 R2 Server VM then disabling hardware acceleration via policy would be AWESOME.

Without it your choices are to script the hardware acceleration off, disable it manually through a complex way in the GUI OR be sad every time your VM freezes.

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