Zwift - Indoor Cycling. Outdone.
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Zwift and OpenGL 2.1

Zwift uses the OpenGL API to render the game and your computer's GPU must support a minimum of OpenGL 3.1 to meet the game's requirements. If you start the game and receive a warning message about your drivers only supporting OpenGL 2.1, it could mean a few different things: 

  1. Your drivers are out of date.
  2. Your computer's GPU is below Zwift's minimum requirements.
  3. Your computer isn't using your primary GPU for Zwift.
  4. You have an external display (TV) and it doesn't support Zwift's default fullscreen resolution.

Note that this error can come up even if your computer worked with Zwift previously, and it's always due to software or hardware changes to your computer (like Windows Updates). We'll go through how to troubleshoot each of these causes below:

Your drivers are out of date

An easy way to check is to go to your computer manufacturer/GPU manufacturer's website and update your drivers to the newest version.

Your computer's GPU is below Zwift's minimum requirements

If you're still receiving the warning after updating your drivers and you haven't been able to successfully use Zwift in the past, it's possible that your computer doesn't meet the minimum requirements

If you're unsure of whether your computer meets Zwift's minimum requirements, see our FAQ.

Your computer isn't using your primary GPU for Zwift.

This is one of the most likely scenarios if your computer was previously able to run Zwift or definitely meets the minimum requirements, but now shows this error message. This scenario is also most likely if you're using a PC laptop on battery saver and/or you use an external display (like a TV).

The easiest solution is to use your laptop while plugged in or change the power settings to always use performance while using Zwift.

Some computers have both an integrated graphics chipset and a dedicated GPU, and they can switch back to the integrated graphics in an attempt to save battery power or because it's the default for the external display port. To make sure your computer is using your dedicated GPU, try following the steps in this article from PC Advisor.

Some additional notes based on GPU brand:

  • AMD: You can set display profiles in the control panel. Make sure they match. Crimson tends to upscale some displays to 1440p when they're actually 1080p, which causes the OpenGL error.
  • NVIDIA: Check the NVIDIA control panel and make sure your presets are set to Performance.

You have an external display (TV) and it doesn't support Zwift's default fullscreen resolution

This last scenario is most common on computers with multiple, mirrored displays. If you're mirroring from your computer to your TV, and the resolution of your computer doesn't match the resolution of your TV, this error may show up - especially if you're using Zwift in fullscreen mode.

If you're savvy enough to make the resolutions match, that's the way to go. If you're not sure how to do this (and it varies from setup to setup), the easy solution is to use Zwift in Windowed mode instead. You can change this from the in-game settings menu or start from scratch by deleting your prefs.xml file from your Documents\Zwift folder.

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