How to enable Dynamic Refresh Rate on Windows 11

by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Microsoft continues to constantly improve everything that Windows 11 stands for, with a lot of helpful features.
  • The latest addition to Windows 11 is a feature called Dynamic Refresh Rate, a feature that helps conserve battery life for laptops.
  • All your existing games will continue to run and perform like they always have, as DRR does not apply to games.
  • There are of course some requirements for the feature to work, which you will find in this article.
Windows 11 Dynamic Refresh Rate

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It’s time to discuss one of the new features that Microsoft brings to the table with their brand new operating system. This one is dedicated to users that use laptops for their everyday needs.

So, for the first time ever, Microsoft is introducing a new Dynamic Refresh Rate feature, designed to save laptop battery life and also boost refresh rates when this is really needed.

From what we’ve seen and heard so far, it seems that the Redmon-based tech company is really trying to send us far into the future, performance-wise, with Windows 11.

What is Dynamic Refresh Rate on Windows 11?

Firstly, you should know that Dynamic Refresh Rate is different than the Variable Refresh Rate, which has been a part of Windows 10 for quite a while, a feature that focuses on gaming, to prevent screen-tearing.

Some of the new generation laptops are now equipped with 120Hz displays, which make the OS feel a lot smoother while scrolling, enhance animations, and also eat up a lot of power.

Know that the Dynamic refresh rate feature can now be found in Windows Insider builds, on the Dev channel, available for all supported devices, as Microsoft’s Ana Martha explains.

As the name suggests, DRR lets your device set the refresh rate dynamically. This means that Windows 11 will seamlessly switch between a lower refresh rate and a higher refresh rate based on what you’re doing on your PC. This helps to balance performance and power consumption. For example, with a Dynamic (60 Hz or 120 Hz) mode, your display will refresh at 60 Hz for everyday productivity tasks, such as email, writing a document, and so forth to conserve battery life. It will then seamlessly switch to 120 Hz for tasks such as inking and scrolling, to provide a smoother and more responsive experience.

What you should also keep in mind is the fact that all your existing games will continue to run and perform like they always have because DRR does not apply to games.

What Microsoft promises to deliver via this new and interesting feature is:

  • Smoother inking: Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Whiteboard, Microsoft Photos, Snip & Sketch, Drawboard PDF, Microsoft Sticky Notes, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft To-Do, Inkodo
  • Smoother scrolling: Microsoft Office

How do I use Dynamic Refresh Rate?

First, and most importantly, you’ll need a laptop that supports DRR and 120Hz or above refresh rates.

Also, note that this feature will make tasks such as writing emails or documents run at 60Hz, at which point DRR will kick in and boost the screen to 120Hz for inking and scrolling.

Another factor worth taking into consideration is that Apps will need to support DRR, and during the Windows 11 preview, DRR is limited to just Office, as far as the scrolling boost goes.

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Apps such as Office, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Whiteboard, Microsoft Photos, Snip & Sketch, Drawboard PDF, Microsoft Sticky Notes, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft To-Do, and Inkodo will all support DRR for inking as well.

Make sure your display drivers support DRR

As DRR is still a relatively fresh implementation, the first step would be to check if your graphic driver supports Windows Display Model 3.0. To do that, we need to access the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.

Make sure that your graphic drivers are up to date and then follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows key+ R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Enter dxdiag and click ok.
  3. Select your active display in the top ribbon.
  4. Under the Drivers section, check the Driver model.
  5. If it’s under WDDM 3.0, then your display does not support DRR yet.

Windows has not yet released new driver versions for all displays. We recommend you keep track of your drivers and check the WDDM version in the future.

If you run a compatible driver, we can move on and enable Dynamic Refresh Rate on your Windows 11 PC.

Users of Windows 11 can easily enable and disable dynamic refresh rates from the Settings panel, or from Intel’s Graphics Command Center.

How to enable Dynamic Refresh Rate in Windows 11?

1. Enable DRR from Windows Settings

  1. Type settings in the taskbar and open the panel.
  2. Select Display.
  3. Scroll to the Related Settings category.
  4. Click on Advanced display.
  5. Select the display device you want to set up.
  6. Now scroll down and choose a dynamic refresh rate.

If you want to disable DRR, follow the same process, but select a static refresh rate, such as 60 Hz.

2. Enable DRR from Intel Graphic’s Command Center

  1. Type Intel Graphics Command in the taskbar and open the panel.
  2. Select the System submenu.
  3. Select the Power tab.
  4. Enable the Dynamic Refresh Rate Switching option.
  5. Select a preffered refresh rate. You can play around with this option until you are satisfied with the result.

To disable DRR, just toggle the button from On to Off.

All in all, this seems like a pretty solid and much-needed feature, which will likely make a lot of Windows users happy.

Everything that can improve performance for the hardware needed to run this demanding software, is a welcome upgrade.

What is your opinion on this new feature that Microsoft is introducing with Windows 11? Let us know in the comments section below.

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