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How to adjust display brightness on desktop computers & laptops

Updated July 20, 2017

A brightness setting that is too low on your computer monitor or laptop screen will make the content too dark to see clearly and present muted or washed-out colours. On the other hand, a brightness setting that is too high may strain the eyes. NVIDIA and ATI video cards or motherboards containing either video chipset both have control panels that adjust brightness, along with other settings such as contrast and colour temperature. Computer monitors also have a brightness setting in their internal control panel. Brightness can be adjusted using any of these settings.

Launch the "NVIDIA Control Panel" by right-clicking on the desktop and clicking "NVIDIA Control Panel" in the contextual menu.

Click "Adjust desktop colour settings" under the "Display" submenu on the left panel. A window containing several control boxes will appear.

Adjust the "Brightness" setting -- it is the first control in the "Sliders" box -- by dragging the slider left (to decrease) or right (to increase).

Click "Apply changes" and close the NVIDIA Control Panel window.

Launch the ATI control panel by right-clicking on the desktop and then clicking "Catalyst(TM) Control Center" at the top of the contextual menu. A window with three sliders controls will appear.

Adjust the "Brightness" setting -- it is the second control in the window -- by dragging the slider left or right.

Click the "Apply" button, then click "OK" to close the control panel window.

Open the monitor's settings window. Every monitor has a different method to do so, but typically there is a button on the monitor's front or side panel that will bring up a hardware settings control panel.

Adjust the brightness setting. This setting is typically found in the "Contrast/Brightness" or "Display Settings" control panel.

Push the control panel button again to close the settings window.

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About the Author

Jacob Michael has been a freelance writer since 2010, with expertise in computers, cooking, travel and other topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is pursuing a master's degree in American studies.