How To: Enable Variable Refresh Rate for Games in Windows 10

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Windows 10 version 1903, updated in May 2019, now supports DX11 variable update rate games that do not natively support this feature, and here’s how to enable it.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is a software technology available with the Windows Update May 10, 2019, version 1903, that reduces stuttering and tearing when you play DirectX 11 games in full screen mode that do not support this feature natively.

The new functionality is similar to Nvidia G-Sync and VESA DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, but does not replace these technologies. Instead, according to Microsoft, VRR is a feature that complements these other technologies to improve the gaming experience.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to activate the variable update rate for games running under Windows 10 version 1903 and later.

Here are the hardware requirements for the setting:

  • Windows version 1903 or later
  • A G-Sync or Adaptive Sync compatible monitor
  • A graphics processor with WDDM 2.6 or higher drivers that supports G-Sync / Adaptive-Sync and this new operating system feature.

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The addition of this setting will probably be welcomed by all those who play DirectX 11 games, have a VRR screen and have not been able to combine it satisfactorily (such as chocolate in one hand and peanut butter in the other, but could not make a cup of peanut butter). Just note that it must be activated manually in the graphics settings and Microsoft’s confirmation that there may be problems in the game.

To enable the variable update rate in Windows 10:

This function is disabled by default, but you can enable and try it yourself. As mentioned above, this feature does not work with DX12, so DX12 games that are not GSync/FreeSync compatible will not work if you enable this option.

  1. Open Application Preferences.
  2. Go to System > View.
  3. Click on the Graphic Settings link on the right.
  4. On the next page, select Variable refresh rate.


Tearing and shuttering are two problems that many people encounter when playing games. Not only does this kill interest in the game, but it also makes the refresh rate of a game ugly. Windows 10 promises to reduce this risk by offering an option to enable a variable refresh rate under Graphical Settings.

The main purpose of any graphics card is to provide a buttery smooth gaming experience. In addition, a graphics card pushes the images onto the PC screen as quickly as possible. However, most monitors on devices update their images at a certain speed. Thus, if the graphics card provides images outside the defined time range, the display screen simultaneously displays a part of the image and the next image on the screen. The image is distorted when it is divided into two parts (screen tear). This phenomenon only worsens as the dynamic frame rate of the game increases.

The Variable refresh rate function optimizes games for displays and graphics cards that support a variable refresh rate.

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