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How to Enable HDR on Windows 11

A laptop running Windows 11.

Like Windows 10, Windows 11 supports HDR output. Unlike Windows 10, HDR works much better in Windows 11 and is worth turning on in some applications. There are three ways to do this, and we’ll cover them all right here.

Can You Use HDR?

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is first and foremost a feature of your display. In other words, your TV or monitor needs to have the physical capabilities necessary to display an HDR image. In Windows 11, you need a number of things to make HDR work:

  • An HDR display with support for the HDR10 standard. (You may need a new monitor.)
  • At least a DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI2.0 cable and a GPU that supports the same.
  • A GPU that’s PlayReady 3.0 ready.

If you try to enable HDR and the option isn’t available to you or it doesn’t work, then it’s possible one of the pieces of the puzzle isn’t present.

How to Enable HDR With a Keyboard Shortcut

The easiest way to enable HDR in Windows 11 is by using a keyboard shortcut. Since the Windows desktop doesn’t look great in many cases with HDR on, this is useful to quickly toggle the feature on or off depending on the content you want to use.

The keyboard shortcut is Windows+Alt+BOnce you press this key combination your screen may go black for a second. When it comes back on, you’ll likely see an on-screen indicator like this one.

HDR OSD Indicator
Sydney Butler

Of course, your desktop colors will also look significantly different and more vibrant with HDR on, if you still have doubts.

Enabling HDR in Windows 11 Settings

The second way to turn on HDR in Windows 11 is through your display settings. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, and select Display Settings from the menu that pops up.

Display Settings Desktop Windows 11

Once in the display settings, make sure you’ve selected the correct monitor.

Display Settings Windows 11

Scroll down to find the  “Use HDR” option.

HDR Toggle Windows 11

If all you want to do is turn HDR on or off, just click this switch to do so. If you want to dig into the more advanced settings, click the small arrow to the right of the toggle and you’ll see these settings.

Windows 11 Advanced HDR Settings

On this page, you can preview what HDR looks like on your system and you can enable or disable aspects of HDR. For example, you can choose to play streaming video in SDR, even though HDR is on.

Auto HDR is an Xbox feature that’s made its way to Windows 11. Windows will attempt to translate non-HDR games into HDR. Sometimes this works well, but sometimes it makes things worse. So if your non-HDR games are looking weird with HDR on, you can turn Auto HDR off here.

Enabling HDR Within Applications

Some video games that support HDR can also toggle the feature on and off using a menu entry. For example, this screenshot from Doom Eternal shows a menu entry where you can enable or disable HDR.

Doom Windows 11 HDR Toggle

This is handy since it means you don’t have to leave the game to make the adjustment. Now you’re ready to flip that HDR switch no matter what you’re doing.

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