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Can’t Find ‘Windows 8 Mode’ in Google Chrome? Here’s Why

UntitledA new, Chrome OS-inspired “Windows 8 Mode” debuted in Google Chrome 32 last week, but the update hasn’t left everyone pleased.

If you’re amongst the numerous Windows users who updated only to be left wondering why the option to “relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode” has vanished from the Chrome Menu, we’re here to explain.

Metro Mode Requirements

Chrome Windows 8 Metro

Chrome’s new Metro mode uses Google’s ‘Aura’ graphics stack to draw pretty much everything you see on screen: from animations to the window frames and buttons. In order to work as smoothly and as fast as possible Aura relies on GPU hardware acceleration.

If your system lacks support for this, or has it disabled, then you won’t see an option to launch Metro mode in the Chrome menu.

The same situation applies to those using devices with high-resolution screens.

Google Chrome will continue to run fine in regular desktop mode on Windows 8 even if the issues above are in play. Desktop Chrome also supports high-resolution displays.

Checking Hardware Acceleration

If you don’t know your system inside out then you may be unsure of whether you have hardware acceleration enabled. Thankfully Chrome makes it easy to check:

  • Open a New Tab
  • Enter “about:gpu” (minus quotes) in the Chrome URL bar
  • Hit Enter/Return
  • Scan the page for the “use hardware acceleration when available” option

If you see “unavailable” listed next to this then you won’t be able to launch the new “Metro mode”. Even so, it may be worth checking for any updates to your graphics drivers.

If you see “disabled” listed then you may be in luck. Try enabling ‘GPU Hardware Acceleration’ from the “about:flags” page in Chrome.

If you see “enabled” listed then this issue doesn’t affect you.

Workaround for HiDPI Screens

Chrome’s new Windows 8 mode will not work on laptops or desktops with high-resolution displays. Support is planned for the future, so keep an eye out.

In the meantime, if you’re really desperate to see what the fuss is about, you can disable display scaling.  The results might not look pretty, but it’s the best on offer while Google work on adding proper HiDPI support.

  • Right-click your Chrome launcher shortcut
  • Select ‘Properties’
  • In the ‘Compatibility’ tab check the box next to ‘Disable display scaling…
  • Click ‘OK’
  • Launch Chrome and launch Windows 8 mode

To revert the changes, and get back a crisp-looking Chrome, simply follow the steps above but untick the box next to ‘Disable display scaling…’. 

  • Jake Russo

    Actually you want to enable “Override software rendering list ” at chrome://flags/#ignore-gpu-blacklist as this will force it to work. I’ve got a Phenom and a GTX560 and it works just fine (not really sure what would cause problems here though TBH)

  • Hayden Lueck

    Has anyone managed to get this to work on a Surface Pro?

    • Elliot

      Nope

      • http://twitter.com/COswinPond Christian Oswin Pond

        Changing the resolution to 1600×900 fixes it temporarily while on that resolution.

        • Mat Smith

          Yep, I did that too. I’m never usually one to *reduce* the resolution of my display, but Surface Pro (and Pro 2) has such a ridiculously high resolution that I find 1600×900 is perfectly acceptable for such a small screen, and the scaling of text, menu items, etc., I find is more usable at this res.

  • Chinchu

    i love you guys (*NO HOMO)
    you have made my day

    i am just so excited to have chrome working again

    i have been using mozilla for the past couple of days and have been tortured

    thanks so much again

    • TheLinuxMinecrafter

      Just make sure you don’t say this on OMG! Firefox

  • L Jo

    Ugh! I keep searching EVERYWHERE and can’t seem to find anyone with the same problem as me. Sigh. My Google Chrome was working fine last week. A pop up window asked me if I wanted to change it to Windows 8 compatibility mode. I said yes since I have Windows 8. It hasn’t worked since. I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling 3X. If I click on the icon NOTHING happens. If I right click it, a pop asks if I will allow google chrome to make changes. I say yes. I blank page pops up. It has 1 untitled tab but no page opens. I’m being told to click on the 3 horizontal lines at the top right but no matter what I choose there (for example “help”) a new blank window pops up. There is no “change compatibility” option. Here’s the kicker… Google Chrome works fine on my husbands user page. HELP! PLEASE! I’m so frustrated. :(

    • Alex

      Same thing here :(

      • Brian

        Click on the tab and drag it out and to the left and it will resize it so that you can see the three horizontal bars. From there, select to relaunch it on the desktop and it will be how it was before.

        • kelli

          OH THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Freak out now officially over.

  • Brian

    I don’t have either of these issues on my dell venue 11 tablet, but I still do not get “relaunch in windows 8 mode”in my menu. anybody know of any other system requirements that I lack for metro mode?

    • JennPeeler

      i also have no issue with hardware acceleration and tried your compatibility fix, but to no avail. still can’t get windows 8 mode to appear in menu on my lenovo helix. this is very frustrating since desktop chrome barely supports touch clicking or scrolling.

  • Ival Daryl

    all of my graphic features status is ‘Software only, hardware acceleration unavailable’ how can i fix this?

  • Xavier

    Thank you! I’m on a HiDPI HPEnvy and this actually works! When will HiDPI support be out? Thanks!

  • Mat Smith

    Re the issue of high res displays, the last paragraph of this article has it the wrong way around. If you “Disable Display Scaling”, then;

    a) this will not show the “relaunch in Windows 8 mode” option in Chrome’s menu
    b) contrary to what’s written in this article, it will make the Chrome window *more* crisp, not less crisp. If you don’t tick the option, scaling will occur, which produces a somewhat fuzzy rendering of text, images, etc.

  • Ravi Kiran

    One more of the quirks of Google! If all other tips fail, you can use one more method! It is experimental feature, so check your settings before enabling. Type about://flags in your browser. Search for webgl in the screen. Enable the option to force enable hardware acceleration. Restart chrome.

  • jon

    I have a samsung ultra 7 w/ hd screen and this is what I did to get the fix.

    a) did the workaround for HiDPI screens listed on last article

    b) if that doesn’t work for and/or you don’t get the relaunch in windows 8 mode option you can search regedit on your comupter go into chromes folder and change the launch mode for 0 to 1 and it should open in windows 8 mode for you.

    A)open search
    B) type regedit
    C)HKEY_CURRENT_USER
    D) SOFTWARE
    E) GOOGLE
    F) CHROME
    G) METRO
    H) then open up launch_mode and put a 1 instead of the 0

    if chrome messes up and doesn’t work just do these same steps and make sure a 0 is there and goto task manager and close all google chromes in there then open it up again. should be back to normal

  • Joejoesam1

    i do have all the requirments but chrome says i am using windows NT 6.1 but i am using windows 8.1

    Help?