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"Graphics processor acceleration is currently disabled. Please be aware that Camera Raw will soon require GPU Support to edit photos. You can manage GPU settings in the Performance section of the Preferences dialog."

This error message has been more frequent with the latest versions/updates of Adobe Photoshop CC & the Adobe Camera Raw Plug-in, or ACR, which has resulted in an up-tick with questions similar to these or variations of them:

  • I've been getting this error message since updating to the latest version of Photoshop CC. Any ideas?
  • Since upgrading to the latest version of PS, my fans are really kicking on and the computer sounds like it’s going to catch on fire.
  • I get a message that something is disabled when I load Photoshop after it updated. What gives?
  • So with the new Photoshop update, my graphics card is no longer compatible, what can I do?
  • My _______ Tool is really lagging after updating, why?
  • After updating, all sorts of weird things are happening; I have Gray/Black Boxes appearing and things are locking up. Any ideas?

Eeek!!! The "Dreaded Graphics Processor Acceleration Error Message!" Sometimes an error message of "Your Graphics Processor is incompatible." will appear in its place.  

So what does this actually mean?

Bad News, I'm afraid...

What Photoshop is telling you, is that your Video Card or Video Card's Graphics Drivers no longer meet the minimum Hardware Requirements for use in Photoshop. The Drivers could also be incompatible and simply need to be upgraded/replaced. It is also very likely your Video Card itself needs to be replaced with a newer model due to lack of Processing Power and/or lack of Video Memory. If your editing computer is a Laptop, that means you are buying a new Laptop since the Video Card is integrated to the Motherboard and can't be replaced. See why I use the term, "Dreaded?" :D

I've written an article, "Buying a Windows Computer in 2023," and the Macintosh equivalent, "Buying a Macintosh Computer in 2023," but I'm thinking a refresh for the Fall of 2023 might become a reality. What Adobe is doing, is adding A LOT of new features, including AI Modules to their software which requires a higher-end Video Processor called a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and having "enough" dedicated Video Memory, known as VRAM, in order to function. Which in 2023 and beyond is at least 8GB of Dedicated Video Memory at a minimum, more if you can swing-it, like 12GB+.


"Huh?" I thought I had a good computer! It has a really fast CPU, lots of RAM and a big HD!

My Computer is only TWO YEARS OLD! What do you mean I need a new one?!?

If your computer is fairly new, the problem is you didn't buy the "wrong" one or a "bad" model, the main issue is you didn't buy "Enough." As in you purchased a 3 Door Hatchback, but need to go off-roading in the Mountains and drive through Rivers & Mud, which requires a Beefy Raised 4-Wheel Drive Vehicle of some sort. You can drive to the Grocery Store in either Vehicle, but the 4x4 Model is better suited to off-roading or driving through difficult Terrain. 

See where I'm coming from?

Rather than buying what you could afford, your purchase should have been based on what you NEEDED, and those are two completely different things that usually require bigger budgets for the latter. A "Computer that's Good for Photo Editing" will set you back around $2000 -- $2500, depending on features in 2023. Windows Laptops, a bit more...and I'd budget for at least $2500+. Macs are over the $4000 price-point, either with a Desktop or Laptop Model. Of course, you can always find deals, and I encourage people to find them / prove me wrong, as I hate wasting money on this Sh*t.

The thinking of having a "Fast CPU" was correct 20-30+ years ago. Hell, it even applied 7 years ago. Where you would purchase a 486DX-2 66MHz over a 486DX 33MHz because it was "Better" or "Faster." Graphics Cards weren't a big deal until CD Media came on the scene in the late 1980's / early 1990's. Then Games became much more robust so you needed a better Graphics Card in addition to a fast CPU. But when it came to Adobe Photoshop, it wasn't coded to take advantage of a fast Graphics Card, so you didn't have to worry about it. All you needed to be concerned with is having enough "Horsepower" from the CPU, having enough RAM to work with and Hard Drive space to store your images. 

Fast-forward to the 2020's. Video Games have become so advanced that the cut-scenes look like Movies, and the overall play-through tends to be immersive. Which requires a Video Card to support these games. Since a Video Card only has to worry about producing Video, and it has a different and more efficient architecture than a CPU, it becomes an ideal candidate to help boost a software's performance. The CPU on the other hand, has to worry about what the Motherboard is doing, what's stored in RAM, getting the data from the Hard Drives to the RAM, etc., etc. It has a lot on its proverbial 'plate' during normal operation.  Video GPUs do not. They just have to worry about producing an image on a monitor. This is why Crypto-mining uses fancy video cards instead of CPUs to crunch data, same concept.

OK, so let's get back to Photoshop and why it's giving you this error message.

Adobe in 2023, and going forward, has opted to encode their software, like Photoshop CC and ACR, to use this untapped resource (the Video GPU) to make things more efficient and to make their new fancy AI Modules, along with the  ACR Plug-in physically work. You almost have to think of your Video Card as a "Computer within your Computer" and it needs to be powerful enough for not only the current versions of Photoshop, but for future versions going forward. This in turn, increases your minimum hardware requirements when you purchase a new computer, which then increases the cost...AND! put's you in the Market sooner, rather than later. To further illustrate just how much Video Cards have become their own computers, take a look at this YouTube Channel -- NorthWestRepair. This Person does component level repairs to the Video Cards that I'm talking about and in the video, you can see how physically large these new devices are when you hold them.

Please keep in mind, the days of blindly updating to the latest version of Photoshop CC are OVER!

Remember how I stated above that 20+ years ago Photoshop just used the CPU, RAM and HD? Well now you have to worry about getting a Big & Powerful Video Card to go along with it. In addition, fancy Video Cards require more Wattage to work, so if you have an older computer, you might be forced to upgrade your Power Supply in addition to the Video Card! Even then there is no guarantees that everything will be fine. Your Motherboard may not be powerful enough to fully support the new Video Card and-and-and...

...you can see how quickly and expensively things can get out of hand. Remember, at this point, I'm just talking about a Windows Desktop Computer, not a Laptop. Laptops have less choices than Desktops, they always have. So if you get this message and are running on a laptop, it's time for a new one. Yes...even if you just bought it 2 years ago! Again, the problem is that your Desktop Computer/Laptop wasn't a 'bad' choice, you just didn't buy "Enough."


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I can't afford a new computer right now. Any ideas of a work-around or how to fix this?

The truthful answer is,

"...it depends."

The first thing that I recommend is checking whether or not your computer is using the correct Video Card. Many Laptops have two Video Cards, one meant for General Computing and one meant for more Performance / Gaming. Why do the Manufacturers install two Video Cards? Battery Life. The Beefier / Faster the Video Card, the more Power they require, which drains Battery Life. People want their Laptops to last more than an hour when working away from a Power Source and you can't change the laws of Physics when it comes to batteries, so they are forced to install two video card GPUs. One meant for General Computing and Battery Life & the one for Performance.

Unfortunately, most are not aware of this, and you can't force Photoshop to use one over the other one, since the Windows OS makes that decision. Adobe has created a Document with a few steps that you can take to address this issue. The short version is, you need to Disable the lower-end Video Card, make sure you are using the correct video port on your Desktop Computer if needed, reboot...try Photoshop again using the "Better" Video Card and hope for the best.

If that doesn't work, then we 1st need to figure out what Video Card you are using and to see if there are any Video Driver Updates are available. Keep in mind, that the Windows Drivers DO. NOT. COUNT! So if all you have ever done is use Windows Update to keep things current, this is the most likely source of your problems; meaning a trip to the Manufacture's Website may be in order. OR! A visit to your Computer Manufacturer's Website, (e.g. Dell, etc.) to get the updated Drivers. Sometimes, the OEM Manufacture's Drivers and the 'Dell's Version of the Video Card' use their own Drivers and you could make things not work installing the wrong drivers. Your Mileage May Vary and there isn't a hard-and-fast-rule. Basically you try something and find out. Then you figure out how to un-do things, if you screw up, and try again. I've done this professionally for the last 30+ years. It's mostly dumb-luck when it comes to updating Drivers and to stop fixing things when they start working. :D 

Sometimes, people have the wrong Video Drivers installed. The default drivers can either be Microsoft-based Drivers or Graphics Card Drivers that are meant for playing Video Games. NVIDIA has a set of Drivers called "Studio Drivers" that are meant to be used with programs like Lightroom, Photoshop and even software from Topaz! From NVIDIA's website:



For the Macintosh folks, the Video Drivers are part of the MacOS. Current Mac Computers can't be upgraded, so if you didn't opt for the more advanced Video Card at the time of purchase, you are buying a new Mac. Sometimes, you can update the MacOS and it works temporarily, but in reality...you are on borrowed time and I'd start saving for a new Mac. Like now.

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"I've looked and can't seem to find updated drivers, and since I'm on a Laptop, I can't upgrade anything, got any other ideas?"

Actually yes. Adobe has created a Document with suggestions that I'd be willing to try. At this point you will need to Downgrade your version of Photoshop CC, but also your version of the ACR Plug-in and Lightroom to the last version that worked with your computer and you will need to stay at that version! Upgrading to the latest version of the Creative Cloud's Products no longer applies to you. Yep, you read that correctly. Suck-it-up-Buttercup! No upgrading for you!! Not yours!!

All kidding aside, the first step you need to do is to turn off Auto Updating in the Adobe Creative Cloud Mothership App. Here is what it looks like on my Mac. The Windows version might have it next to the Clock:



Then it's just a matter of finding the setting in the Apps' Preferences:



Turn Off the Switch next to 'Auto Update'



Of course, I'm on a Mac, but if you are on a Windows Computer, it's the same procedure and you just need to figure out where the Preferences are and flip that Auto Update Switch. It also might be a check-box, but it's the same concept. 



OK, done. What's the next step?


At this point, I would seriously back-up your PS Actions, Brushes, etc. and be ready to re-install things! Also, find the License Keys and Login Info (usually an e-mail address) for whatever Plug-ins that are installed into Photoshop. You'd be surprised on just how quickly these things get lost and what a PITA it is to get them re-sent.



OK! I'm all backed up!

Let's continue.

Head back into the Adobe CC Mothership App and choose "All Apps" in the left Column. This step is VERY IMPORTANT!!


A closer look:



Again, make sure All apps is highlighted!!  (If you have "Updates" selected, you won't see anything.)

From there you should see the program, like Photoshop, or Lightroom, that you want to downgrade to, in the list. Towards the right side of the Window, on the same line as "Photoshop," there is a "Open" Button followed by THREE DOTS.

Click the Three Dots and select "Other Versions."


From there, you will see the list of the older versions of Adobe Photoshop and currently, Version 22.2 is the oldest you can go via the Mothership App:


Simply click "Install" and let it download the installer and go through the process of installing an older copy of Photoshop. Keep in mind that it will install next to the current version, 25.xx, and may ask you if you want to uninstall that version. Or it may not. I've never personally done this. Bottom line, either it will prompt you to remove version 25 or not. If it doesn't, then removing the software is pretty straightforward via the "Adobe CC Mothership App." Head back into "All Apps" and then click the Three Dots on the right side of the Photoshop 25.0 in the list, then select Uninstall.

If you are looking to go back to Adobe Photoshop CC 2020, you will need to contact Adobe Support and have them e-mail you the install file link. If your computer is 5+ years old at this point, chances are Version 22.2 isn't old enough and you will need to contact Adobe Support.  Coincidentally, to uninstall the version of Photoshop that isn't working with your computer, it's the same process, just click Uninstall next to the software that you want to get rid of. 


  • Turn off Auto Updating in the Adobe CC App
  • Backup your PS Actions, Brushes, and Plug-ins
  • Install a version of Photoshop that last worked with your computer
  • Remove the newer version of PS to reclaim HD space
  • Reinstall Actions, etc. into the older version of PS, if needed
  • Do not upgrade to any newer version of Photoshop, at least until you purchase a new computer
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"What if I like the features of the newest versions of ACR / Photoshop? You mean short of buying a new computer, there's nothing Adobe can do?"

I'm afraid so. This is where the refresh of "Buying a Computer in 2023" comes into play. There are more things to worry about in 2023 (and beyond) when choosing a Computer for Photo-Editing and it's something we are all going to have to get used to. Here are the current specs I would look for when looking for a Windows Computer:

  • Latest Intel i7 or i9 CPU (or AMD Equivalent)
  • 32GB of RAM at a minimum. 64GB is preferred.
  • Main Hard Drive of 1TB. Do NOT buy a Computer / Laptop that only has a 250GB or 500GB Main HD.
  • A Dedicated High-end Video Card, such as a NVIDIA RTX 3070Ti or NVIDIA RTX 3080 with at least 8GB Dedicated Video Memory, or better. If the card comes with 12GB of VRAM, even better. No, a NVIDIA 3060 model isn't "good enough" heading into 2024, and I will die on this hill with this statement.
  • A IPS-Based Display Panel with 95% or greater sRGB Coverage. Regardless if this is a Desktop Display or Laptop. I will warn you, finding a IPS Display in a Laptop is really difficult, so if you do find one, be ready to click "Buy" at a moments notice.
  • Power Supply that has enough Wattage to support the more robust Hardware. I like Power Supplies that are around 850 watts.
  • An APC Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS to keep your computer running in the event of a power failure, so you can have a graceful shutdown. At least a 1500VA model with a 850 Watt Power Supply.

If you are planning on doing Astro Photography that requires lots of stacking of images, or are into large Panoramas, I'd have a second, dedicated HD for the Photoshop Scratch Disk, 1TB-2TB, and even more RAM than 64GB if your motherboard supports it. 128GB of RAM isn't a bad thing. Neither is something like 96GB. Remember, you can NEVER have too much RAM or Hard Drive space, but the cost needs to be balanced to what your requirements are. But again, "Bigger-Better-Faster-More" is always preferred when working with many large image files at once.

Again, when buying a new computer, the choice of Video Card is more important than the choice of CPU going forward!!!

I'd rather have a member here save money with a high-end Intel i7 CPU and take those savings to put towards a better Video Card. If Photoshop isn't coded to take advantage of all the performance coming out of a CPU, it won't use it, no matter how much money you spend. Since Photoshop and ACR will primarily use the GPU in order to function, we need to pay special attention on what Video Card we choose when buying a new computer. I really recommend the NVIDIA 3070TI or 3080 using the NVIDIA Studio Drivers, but the 4000 Series is starting to look more appealing. The downside to the NVIDIA 4000 Series, is they seem to not have a Studio Driver Version of their software, which is meant for use with Photoshop and other similar products.

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Final Thoughts...

This error message is a Warning as of now, and eventually...this will not always be the case! Even though Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom appear to work, they will have performance issues or will occasionally freeze / lock-up on occasion due to a Video Card that isn't fully compatible; you can still run the program and edit your images just as you always have, warning messages and all...they will run in "Limp Mode" if usage of the Graphics Processor is disabled in the Preferences.

If you do not have a compatible Video Card, Advanced Tools in Photoshop, like Liquify, and ACR will physically not work at some point!  Meaning you are "Dead in the Water..." when this happens. I have no idea when this will occur, or even if it will, but Adobe keeps updating Photoshop and ACR on a regular basis, so this issue will only get worse as time goes on. Combine that with the FOMO that people often have, which forces them to blindly update to the latest version, and that leads to problems. Your first line of defense it to turn off Auto-Updating. That doesn't mean you can't install updates...it just means you are in control of when the update happens. If your computer is a few years old, by turning off Auto-Updates will save you HOURS or possibly DAYS of aggravation if something were to go wrong!

That said, please keep this in mind...

Being Conservative & Skeptical when it comes to updating software is a good thing, but it's important to not let your software get so far out of date, that when you are forced to update, for whatever reason, that it doesn't cause more problems than if you just updated in the first place. This not only applies to software like Adobe Photoshop, but other software as well, especially the Operating System and Web Browsers. 

Speaking of Computers that are a few years old, with Windows 10 being "Taken behind the Barn and shot dead," just like Windows XP, Windows 7, and all the rest. With Windows 11 being put into prime-time, purchasing new computers will be inevitable over the next few years as newer hardware will just perform better with a new Operating System. It's just a fact when it comes to computers, no matter what the Software Developers say. Now is the time to make better choices and seek out the Hardware that meets the present requirements for not only Today's Modern Photoshop, but for versions in the near future. Take this Warning to Heart and pay attention to the details on your next Hardware Purchase or run them by me before you click "Buy."

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