Monitor flickering can easily ruin your day, whether you have a busy day of work ahead of you or you’re simply enjoying your favorite game or a relaxing movie on your computer.
While screen flickering can be a clear sign of a computer monitor failing, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Screen flickering can also indicate other issues we’re about to discuss in this guide.
Moreover, we will also discuss the best methods for fixing the annoying monitor flicker.
Why is your monitor flickering on and off?
A lot of times, a computer monitor’s flicker will indicate a failure. However, a flickering screen doesn’t always have to be a sign of a damaged or faulty monitor.
Let’s look at some of the recurring issues regarding a flashing screen.
The monitor cable is loosely connected
Like any other cable, your monitor cable should fit tightly into its corresponding port, and there should be no interruptions or gaps in this connection.
If your monitor cable is loosely connected, this could be the problem behind your flickering monitor, as the monitor is losing contact.
Another possibility is that the monitor cable is damaged. If you have pets, it is possible that they chewed on the cable and damaged its structure.
A monitor cable is relatively thick but can still get damaged in numerous ways, especially if it is positioned near the wall or another object causing friction.
The power cable is loosely connected
Yet another component that could be causing a flashing screen if it isn’t correctly connected is the power cable.
Like the monitor cable, if the connection is loose, it can cause signal interruptions. Moreover, the device won’t get sufficient power to operate correctly if the power cable isn’t connected adequately.
You also want to keep an eye out for any defects on the power cable, as the cable may be faulty or damaged.
Faulty graphics drivers
The flickering issue may also stem from faulty or corrupted graphics drivers, which are very important for your computer or laptop screen functioning.
If the graphics driver hasn’t been properly installed, or you’ve downloaded it from an unknown source, it may be causing brightness flickering.
In this case, your computer won’t be able to recognize the driver or properly install it, resulting in a screen flickering issue.
Graphics card issue
Yet another possibility is that there is an issue with the graphics card. The most common scenario is that the graphics card hasn’t been properly positioned and isn’t adequately seated on the motherboard.
If the graphics card isn’t adequately positioned inside its slot, it will cause display problems such as poor screen resolution and flickering.
Sometimes, the issue is far more complex than you may realize in the beginning, when the first signs of screen flickering show.
Monitor flickering can be a clear indicator of the fact that your monitor is failing. It is usually a hardware issue, a faulty circuit, or simply the fact that the monitor is old and requires a replacement.
However, when it comes to troubleshooting your flickering monitor, we recommend consulting with a professional before you decide to throw your monitor out and replace it with a new one.
While in many cases, the only answer is to invest in a new monitor, some monitors aren’t beyond repair.
How to fix a monitor flickering on and off
Depending on the severity of the issue, fixing a flickering monitor may require professional help.
This guide will focus on easy DIY methods that you can try if your monitor is flickering on and off.
1. Check the cables
The first step in stopping your monitor from flickering would be to check the monitor cable and the power cable.
In case they’re loosely connected, ensure to tighten the connection and that the cables fit correctly into their respective inlets.
It is also recommended to clean all the ports and remove any accumulated dirt and gunk, as it could limit the contact between the device and the cables.
Also, inspect the cables for any signs of damage or friction. Damaged cables can lead not only to monitor flickering but also to more complex issues.
Make sure to replace the worn-out cables and check if the screen is still flickering.
2. Change the refresh rate
Monitor flickering issues can also stem from an improper refresh rate. Adjusting the refresh rate can quickly fix all your monitor issues, and here’s how you can easily adjust it.
Find the battery icon on the toolbar and click on it, then select More Power Options. Find the Choose When to turn OFF display option and ensure it is set to Never.
Save the new settings, then return to Desktop. Right-click the Desktop, then select Screen Resolution.
Once a window with the settings shows up, select Advanced Settings, then adjust the refresh rate from 72 Hz to 85 Hz and confirm your choice by clicking Ok.
3. Uninstall a suspicious or corrupted display driver
If you suspect the problem may be in a corrupted display driver, you can easily uninstall it and install a new one.
To uninstall the display driver in question, launch Settings on your computer, then navigate to Device Manager.
Find the Display adapters option and click on it. A list of display drivers will appear. Locate your graphics card, right-click on its name and select Uninstall.
Check the button that confirms that you want to delete the driver software, then click Ok to confirm. Restart your system for these changes to take place.
4. Update the display driver
You can easily check if any display drivers require an update, as outdated drivers could undoubtedly be why your screen is flickering.
Launch the Settings on your computer, then click on Update and Security. Select Check for updates, then click on the Update button.
Once a notification appears that the Display driver has been updated, the updating process is completed.
5. Check the placement of the video card on the motherboard
If the video card isn’t correctly positioned on the motherboard, you will experience various problems with your monitor and overall image quality and resolution.
To check the placement of the video card, turn off the computer and the monitor. Once they’re completely switched off, open the monitor case and remove the motherboard and the video (graphics) card on the motherboard.
Clean the card using a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol, ensuring no dust buildup on the card.
Once you’ve cleaned the video card, reattach it to the motherboard. You can always consult the user manual if unsure of the correct placement.
Add the motherboard back into the monitor and reattach the monitor case. Turn on your computer and check if the screen flickering issue is now gone.
6. Check the monitor
Sometimes the main issue lies in the monitor itself. You can test your monitor by switching the connection and trying a different port.
For instance, you can try switching to DisplayPort or VGA if you’re currently using a DVI connection. If you notice no changes, you may want to test your monitor on another computer if possible.
If the flickering persists on another computer, the issue is definitely in the monitor, and it may fail. As we’ve mentioned, you may want to have a professional look at the monitor and determine if it needs to be repaired or replaced.
How do I reset my monitor?
If none of the above-mentioned methods seem to work on your monitor, you may want to reset it to default settings.
Remember that a factory reset will delete all your custom settings and related data, so you may want to back them up before proceeding with the reset.
To reset your monitor to default settings, press the Menu button on the front, then navigate to the Reset icon in the menu using the arrow buttons on the monitor.
Once the Reset option is highlighted, click Ok to confirm your selection. When a Reset window opens, use the arrows to navigate to either Ok or All Reset.
Press the Menu button to finalize the resetting process.
Is screen flickering a hardware problem?
Yes, the screen flickering often stems from a hardware problem, whether it be a problem with the cables, the monitor itself, the power source, the graphics card, or another damaged or faulty component connected to your monitor.
However, this isn’t always the case, as you may also experience screen flickering due to software issues.
The problem may arise from outdated display drivers, corrupted firmware, unsupported apps, improper screen resolutions, and many other software-related factors.
Can a power supply cause a monitor to flicker?
Power supply issues can affect the entire system – not just the monitor. The power supply affects every component of your computer, especially if they’re not getting a sufficient amount of power.
When it comes to the power supply, the first step would be to check the power cable and ensure that it isn’t defective, worn out, or simply malfunctioning. It is also necessary for this connection to be tight and properly positioned.
Moreover, the inlets and ports must be free of blockages such as accumulated dirt and debris. You can easily clean them using a toothpick/cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol and/or a handheld vacuum cleaner.
Finally, the issue may be in the power outlet. Try plugging your computer and monitor into a different power outlet and see if the problem persists.
The problem may be a malfunctioning, broken, or clogged power outlet. In case the monitor flickering issue appeared after a power surge or a storm, it may be an electrical issue that requires professional assistance.