Copyright © 2015-2020 LunarG, Inc.

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Vulkan Configurator allows overriding the layers configuration used by Vulkan applications at runtime.

A Vulkan application may configure layers when creating a Vulkan Instance. This layers configuration may be overridden using Vulkan Configurator globally or for a selected list of Vulkan applications.

Finally Vulkan Configurator allows using layers from user-defined directories.

Platform Support

Windows ✔️
Main Window Main Window
Linux ✔️
Main Window Main Window
macOS ✔️
Main Window Main Window


Vulkan Configurator is delivered with the Vulkan SDK.

Using the Vulkan Configurator

The Vulkan Configurator is a graphical user interface (GUI) that may be launched from the console using vkconfig.

The tool is distributed differently, depending on the platform:


Vulkan Layer: A layer is an optional library that can intercept Vulkan functions on their way from the Vulkan application down to the Vulkan drivers. Multiple layers can be chained together to use multiple layer functionalities simultaneously.

Vulkan Layers Configuration: A collection of Vulkan Layers executed in a specific order with specific settings for each layer.

Vulkan Explicit Layers vs Implicit Layer: An explicit layer has to be explicitly activated by the user from source in vkCreateInstance, using Vulkan Configurator or VK_INSTANCE_LAYERS environment variable. Implicit layers are enabled by their existence on the system by default.

Vulkan Meta-Layer: Meta-layers are a special kind of layer which is only available through the desktop Vulkan Loader. While usual layers are associated with one particular library, a meta-layer is actually a collection layer which contains an ordered list of other layers called component layers.

Vulkan Override Layer: The Vulkan Override Layer is an implicit meta-layer found on the system with the name VK_LAYER_LUNARG_override. It is the mechanism used by Vulkan Configurator to override Vulkan applications layers. This layer contains:

Vulkan Layer settings: Per-layer settings loaded by each layer library and stored in the vk_layer_settings.txt file. This file is located either next to the Vulkan application executable or set globally and applied to all Vulkan applications thanks to Vulkan Configurator. These settings are described here for VK_LAYER_KHRONOS_validation and here for other layers created by LunarG.

Vulkan Layers execution order overview

Vulkan Loader

Vulkan Loader and Layers implementation overview

Vulkan Loader

For detailed information, read the Architecture of the Vulkan Loader Interfaces document.

OS user-specific modifications

The Vulkan Configurator does not make any system-wide changes to a system, but it does make user-specific changes. These changes are documented below:

Linux and macOS

Unix systems store files in the following paths:


Windows systems store files in the following paths:

In addition, Windows system create registry entries in the following locations:


1/ How do I use Vulkan Configurator to override only the Vulkan layers of a selected list of applications?

This is typically done by enabling the "Apply only to the selected list of Vulkan applications" check box.

If this is not working, it's likely that the Vulkan Loader on the system is too old. Version 1.2.141 or newer of the Vulkan Loader is required. Update the Vulkan Loader by installing the latest Vulkan Runtime to enable this feature.

2/ How does my application vk_layer_settings.txt file interacts with Vulkan Configurator?

When *Vulkan Configurator is used to override layers, the local vk_layer_settings.txt file is ignored.

3/ How do environment variables settings interact with Vulkan Configurator?

The short answer is that environment variables and Vulkan Configurator layers settings are mutually exclusive and the interaction between both is undefined.

This is because the interaction between environment variables and Vulkan Configuration layers settings are handled by the layers directly so the responsability of the layers developers.

We are working on defining layers development conventions to resolve this issue properly but in the meantime we highly recommend to use exclusively either environment variables or Vulkan Configurator.


Known Issues