How Do I Turn on Direct Draw in Windows XP?

By Justin H. Pot

If you're like the majority of Windows XP users, you have no idea what DirectDraw is. So a program asking you to turn on DirectDraw will mostly result in confusion. Don't worry: DirectDraw is built into Windows XP and turning it on is not difficult. You just need to know where to look and what to do.

Its Purpose

DirectDraw is a part of DirectX, which is Microsoft-made software a number of Windows games and programs use to render graphics. DirectX acts as an intermediary between your video card's drivers and a program that renders graphics---typically games but a number of other programs as well.

DirectDraw is the component of DirectX that that handles 2D moving images, including visualizations in music players and charts and graphs in certain office programs.

Turn It On

DirectX, and its 2D component DirectDraw, should be enabled by default on most Windows XP computers. If you have reason to believe it is turned off on your computer, open the "Run" dialogue and type "dxdiag." Click the "Display" tab and ensure "DirectX" and "DirectDraw" are both turned on. If not, click their checkboxes to turn them on.

Deal With Errors

If DirectDraw errors still come up after turning on DirectX, there are a number of things you can try.

It's possible DirectDraw is erroring out because your version of DirectX is not up to date. See the Resources section of this article for a link to Microsoft's update page for DirectX.

It's possible the drivers for your video card are out of date; run Windows update and see if more recent drivers are available for your video card.

Another possibility is that Desktop Sharing is involved---Netmeeting's Desktop sharing function disables 3D acceleration. Turn this off by opening up NetMeeting, then clicking "Tools" followed by unchecking the "Enable Desktop Sharing on This Computer" box.