Microsoft brings Xbox Series X's Auto HDR feature to PC — here's how to use it

Dell S2721DGF gaming monitor running Assassin's Creed
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Xbox Series X and Series S has impressed many by bringing HDR support to backward compatible games. But PC gamers are about to get the same treatment thanks to a new Windows 10 update.

Microsoft has announced its bringing an Auto High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature with the new Windows 10 21337 build. That means gaming laptops with HDR support will automatically get a significant boost in visuals when gaming. Those PC games will now shine bright like a diamond, as Rhianna puts it. 

For those that have a PC capable of HDR, it means you'll get much better colour and brightness on an additional 1,000 DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games. However, the feature is currently in preview on the Windows Insider Program (a.k.a dev channel), although you can get access to it by registering to the program.

According to the dev blogs, Microsoft is still testing which games are eligible for Auto HDR support. So, it may be the case that not all PC games will get HDR treatment. That being said, for those that have access, you can try every game out yourself by heading to "Display" settings, clicking on the "Windows HD Color Settings" link and flipping on the "Auto-HDR" switch.

If you really want to see a difference between a game's original standard dynamic range (SDR) and HDR support, Microsoft also has a "secret" split screen mode where the left side shows the original SDR content and the right side shows the Auto HDR upgraded content. Check out the blog on how to enable it.

Microsoft's new Build 21337 also teases other features that are expected to release on Windows 10, including the ability to reorder or customize your Virtual Desktops, updates to caption settings so users can display audio as text in different styles, along with a list of other updates and minor improvements.

You're going to need HDR support for the new Windows 10 feature to work, and if your laptop doesn't come with it, your next best bet is to pick out one of the best gaming monitors around. 

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.