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How to fix a flickering laptop screen

Updated July 20, 2017

Laptop computers have LCD displays that are sensitive to many things. LCD displays have faults that sometimes produce a flickering screen, lines, dots or a faint display. These screens are sensitive to magnetic fields or electronic items near the computer. Speakers, cell phones, lights and other electrical items are examples. Your display also could be flickering due to software issues such as the video drivers or hardware issues relating to a faulty inverter or the LCD screen itself needing to be replaced. Trace the cause of your problem to come to a resolution.

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  1. Turn off the computer. Disconnect all external devices. Turn the computer over (bottom facing up). Take out the battery and reseat it. Turn on the computer.

  2. Reset your resolution and refresh rate by right-clicking the desktop and selecting "Screen Resolution." The "Change the Appearance of Your Display" dialogue box appears. From the "Resolution" drop-down list, select the recommended resolution of your display. If you don't know the recommended resolution, refer to the product manual. Click the “Advanced Settings” link in the lower right. The graphic card dialogue box appears. Click the “Monitor” tab. From the "Screen Refresh Rate" drop-down list, select "60 Hertz." Click “OK.”

  3. Check your computer's surroundings. Move away speakers, fluorescent lights, fans, cell phones, radios and other electrical devices that can cause flickering. Temporarily move electrical items away from the computer to determine whether they are producing this issue.

  4. If the flicker stops, put back one item at a time to determine what is causing the problem.

  5. Connect an external monitor to your laptop computer to determine whether that screen also flickers. If there is no flicker, then the problem is strictly with the laptop, indicating a possible hardware failure. Contact the manufacturer for a replacement LCD.

  6. If the flicker continues, proceed to the next step.

  7. Reinstall the video driver. To do so, log in to an administrator account. Then navigate to the "Start" menu and right-click "Computer." Select "Properties" from the drop-down list. From the left pane of the dialogue box, select "Device Manager." From the Device Manager, double-click "Display Adapters." Double-click on your graphics card, select the "Driver" tab and select "Uninstall." Then reboot your computer. Device Manager reinstalls the video driver. Verify whether your display's flickering has stopped. If not, proceed to the next step.

  8. Navigate to the manufacturer's website. Download and install the newest video driver and BIOS for the computer. Restart the computer after the drivers are installed. Continue to the next step if there is still flickering.

  9. Carefully open up your display screen all the way. If the flicker stops by opening it a certain distance, the display inverter is faulty. If the flicker still exists, the LCD screen should be replaced.

  10. Contact the manufacturer of the computer for more information and a possible replacement inverter. This will depend on the manufacturer and the computer itself.

  11. Tip

    If you can't change your display resolution, update your drivers.


    Too many electrical devices surrounding your laptop could cause your display to flicker.

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About the Author

Chris Granger started writing professionally in 2010. He brings almost six years as a communication specialist in the military and more than 10 years of computer technology experience to his writing. He has an Associate of Arts in communications from Troy University.

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