How to enable Auto HDR on Windows 11 to get your best viewing experience

Dave W. Shanahan

Updated on:

Auto HDR on Windows

Previously only available on Xbox, this summer Microsoft announced Auto HDR on Windows 11 as well as DirectStorage support. While many still haven’t upgraded to Windows 11, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade, especially for gamers.

Auto HDR is an AI-powered feature that can apply High Dynamic Range (HDR) enhancements to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) images. The HDR reconstruction technique is compatible with games built on DirectX 11 or higher, and it should help to make old PC games look better than ever with no work required from game developers.

Auto HDR is part of the main Windows display settings, so if you were hoping that you might get some benefit without an HDR display, you’re out of luck. But if you have an HDR display attached to your Windows 11 PC, this is one feature you need to turn on.

How to Enable Auto HDR on Windows

1. Right click anywhere on your Windows desktop.
2. Click “Display Settings.”auto hdr on windows 3. Make sure that Use HDR is turned on.
4. Click Use HDR to open the HDR advanced settings menu.
5. Make sure that Use HDR and Auto HDR are both togged “on” as shown.

In case your HDR menu does not look like mine with the side-by-side comparison of HDR and SDR content, you might be wondering what you need to do to get this additional functionality. Well, you’re in luck because Microsoft released a method by adding a line to your Windows Registry.

auto hdr on windows

Here’s what you need to do to add the side-by-side split screen comparison model between SDR and HDR. You’ll need to open an admin command prompt and copy and paste the following command:

reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers /v AutoHDR.ScreenSplit /t REG_DWORD /d 1

To disable split screen, copy and paste this command in an admin command prompt:

reg delete HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers /v AutoHDR.ScreenSplit /f

That’s it, you’re done!

Enable Auto HDR using Xbox Game Bar

Of course, that is not the only way to enable Auto HDR on Windows 11. If you are in the middle of a game, you can also enable Auto HDR on Windows using the Xbox Game Bar. Here’s what you need to do.
auto hdr on windows

1. Windows key + G (Xbox Game Bar keyboard shortcut).
2. Click the Settings cog.
3. Select Gaming Features from the sidebar.
4. Check both boxes for HDR settings as shown.
5. Close Xbox Game Bar when finished.

As an added benefit of using the Xbox Game Bar, you get an intensity slider to adjust the strength of Auto HDR on a game-by-game basis on any Windows games, even while you play!

Interested in learning more about Windows Registry? Read our guide on everything you need to know about Windows Registry. Looking for a gift this holiday season? Check out our holiday gift guide for creators. Check out the Featured Stories section where you can find everything from interviews to personal experiences to guides on the latest Microsoft technologies.

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