Why does my display seem sluggish and I can't enable DirectX with Windows XP and later?

A. Video hardware has its own resources that sometimes are not fully utilized. As a result, graphical performance can seem sluggish or inconsistent (e.g., your mouse might jump around the screen). For peak performance, ensure you've fully enabled hardware acceleration by performing the following steps:

  1. Start the Display applet in Control Panel (go to Start, Control Panel, then click Display).
  2. From the General tab, click Advanced, then select the Troubleshoot tab.
  3. Move the "Hardware acceleration" pointer to Full.
    Click here to view image
  4. Click OK.

If your hardware acceleration was set too low, XP might have disabled DirectX for DirectDraw and Direct3D. Ensure that DirectX is enabled for DirectDraw and Direct3D by performing the following steps:

  1. Start the DirectX configuration utility by going to Start, Run, then typing
    dxdiag.exe
  2. Select the Display tab.
  3. Ensure that both DirectDraw Acceleration and Direct3D Acceleration are Enabled; if they aren't, click Enable.
  4. Click Exit.

This last series of steps is particularly appropriate if you run Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 because the OS disables hardware acceleration by default. (Microsoft's position is that this acceleration isn't required for typical server functionality.)

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