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Here’s how to clear GPU memory using 6 methods

Time to improve your GPU's performance.
Last Updated on April 24, 2024
A gigabyte graphics card featuring three fans and a metallic backplate, set against a blurred blue background with PC guide logo, illustrating how to clear GPU memory.
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If you want to learn how to clear GPU memory, then we’ve got all the answers right here.

High GPU memory usage can lead to different issues, including low performance, stuttering and lagging, increased heat, thermal throttling, and overall instability in the system. On top of that, this can also affect the lifespan of your graphics card. But how can you monitor your GPU’s memory and clear it up?

This is where we come in. In this guide, we’ll go over several methods through which you can quickly clear your GPU’s memory.

Quick Answer

Restarting your PC, closing graphic-intensive applications, changing the graphics settings, and updating the drivers are some ways that can help clear your GPU’s memory.

How to free up GPU memory

If you’re facing high GPU memory usage issues, you can try following these methods to free it up.



Restart your PC

The best way to clear GPU memory is by restarting your computer. This will close all running processes, including those that are using GPU memory. This can help clear out any memory leaks or other issues that may be affecting GPU performance.



Close graphics-intensive applications

Another effective way to clear GPU memory is by closing graphics-intensive applications, such as games, video editing software, or graphic design software. We recommend using the Task Manager to quickly select and close these applications. Additionally, avoid leaving software open in the background while performing other tasks, as this unnecessarily burdens the GPU.

  • Right-click on the Task Bar and select Task Manager.
  • Select programs and click on ‘End Task.’

    Screenshot of a Windows Task Manager window displaying various running applications and their GPU memory usage, with the "end task" button highlighted.
    End task in Task Manager



Change the graphics settings

We understand that you want the best visuals in games, but this also takes a toll on the GPU. If you max out everything, the memory will get full. To resolve this, simply go back to the video and graphics settings of your game and lower them down. This can include lowering resolution, reducing texture quality, or disabling certain visual effects.

Screenshot of a video game settings menu, focusing on advanced visual options such as v-sync, nvidia reflex, anti-aliasing, texture filtering, and clear GPU memory.
Adjusting in-game graphics settings



Update the GPU drivers

If you have tried everything but the GPU memory is still not properly cleared, then you may need to update your drivers. This is because new GPU driver updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes that can help optimize GPU memory usage. You can head over to the official website of Nvidia or AMD to download the latest update. Or, you can use the dedicated application of your GPU, such as the AMD Radeon Software or Nvidia GeForce Experience app.



Check for memory leaks

In some instances, a specific application may be utilizing more memory than necessary due to a memory leak. This results in increased GPU memory consumption over time. If you suspect a memory leak, try closing and reopening the application, or check for any updates for the application that may fix the issue.



Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling can help with reducing the burden on the CPU, but it also puts a stress on the GPU. In some applications, such as web browsers or multimedia players, disabling hardware acceleration can help reduce GPU memory usage. So, keep the feature turned off until you really need it.

To disable Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling, follow these steps.

  • Go to System settings.
  • Click on Display.
  • Go to Graphics settings and disable the feature from here.

    Screenshot of the "graphics settings" window with the "hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling" option currently turned off, indicated by a red arrow. This shows how to clear GPU memory.
    Toggle button used to disable hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling


Clearing GPU memory can help you out in many ways, as it can improve the overall performance by making the graphics card process graphics-intensive tasks more effective. On top of that, it ends up reducing stuttering, lag, and memory leak issues. High memory also ends up putting more stress on the GPU, which can result in overheating. So by clearing the memory, you can bring the temperature down.

Abdul is a tech writer and Editor for PC Guide, specializing in all things tech, gaming, and hardware.