What is Screen Flickering and How to Fix It?

Display technology has come far, starting from screens which were abysmally heavy, to today’s monitors, which one can easily mount to a desk. Having a multi-monitor setup is not that uncommon, particularly in the domains of gaming and professional work, such as programming and 3D design.

However, back in the day of CRT monitors and TVs, flickering would be a common issue, which had little to do with today’s problems. Back then, a good slap would fix the misbehaving screen. Today, however, a good slap would probably break something, most likely the monitor stand.

The good news is that today’s monitor problems, hardware issues excluded, can be fixed with a few clicks. Here is how to approach screen flickering issues.

Why is My Screen Flickering? – Possible Issues and Solutions

Unless your monitor or TV screen is broken, the most likely causes of the flickering will be somewhere in the software, or the cable used to transmit data. Another likely culprit could be an overworked graphics card, particularly if it has an unstable overclock, whether of the core or the memory.

Depending on the operating system or the type of screen used, here are the most likely problems, and their possible solutions.

What is the Cause and What to Do?

Windows 10 is a modern operating system used by most people in the world, particularly those who like gaming. Microsoft recommends uninstalling the Display Adapter device from the Device Manager. Restart the PC and after that, check for updates.

Additionally, one should check and download the newest drivers from either Nvidia or AMD or Intel, depending on which graphics card/integrated graphics card they are using. Windows Update is notorious for downloading wrong drivers and mucking things up even further.

If the issue persists, consider downloading DDU or Display Driver Uninstaller. It is a third-party tool hosted on Guru3D, a trusted tech site. It can uninstall all graphics drivers and more importantly, registries, allowing you to install a fresh driver which will not collide with any improperly written registry files.

Always check the cable connecting the graphics card to the monitor. A bad cable, particularly cheap ones, can cause tons of issues.

Make sure that the graphics card has enough power and that you are not running an unstable overclock of the graphics card. Unstable overclocks can make a mess of things, from screen flickering, to artifacts to color change.

Macbook Screen Flickering – Macs Should be Stable?

Apple products have a steep entry price and at that price, the customer expects stability and ease of use. That is often the case with Apple products but sometimes, things might go awry and you might end up with screen flickering.

Macs have a different approach to Windows computers, but there are possible solutions, starting with a simple restart.

Updating MacOS should be the next step. If the system is already up to date and the flickering persists, one should disable switchable graphics if they are present. Then, reset the SMC or System Management Controller, a chip that controls battery and power management. The next thing to reset is the PRAM or NVRAM.

Lastly, if the flickering persists, contact Apple support. Hardware issues could be at hand.

Why is My Laptop Screen Flickering? – Non-Mac Solutions

Windows and Linux laptops might have other issues, such as problematic applications. They can be observed through the Windows Task Manager, to see whether it is flickering along with the rest of the screen. If it is, the problem is not an application, but something else.

If it does not flicker, then you should start looking at applications that are installed and running.

On Windows laptops, following the same procedure of uninstalling drivers and installing fresh ones.

Linux laptops are different, depending on the graphics card installed, but they should work well most of the time. Checking for different available drivers should solve any issues.

Checking the refresh rate of your monitor is a good way to diagnose any flickering issues. Check within advanced settings in Windows, or any corresponding display settings under Linux.

If your monitor is set to a lower refresh rate and it supports a higher one, then changing to the higher one might fix most issues. If the higher refresh rate is not available, the display drivers might not be functioning properly and should be reinstalled.

It would be a shame to have 240Hz monitors set to 60Hz. Most gaming laptops come with 144Hz screens or higher, meaning that the refresh rate issue might extend to them, as well.

If the laptop screen flickering issues persist even after all these steps, consider talking to an expert technician.

How to Fix a Flickering TV Screen – Still a Software Issue?

TV screens, modern ones, have some smart capabilities. When a TV screen flickers, it can be because of a bad source connection. Check the cables to see that everything is in its proper place. Then, check the source with the remote to see whether it’s the correct source.

When in doubt, restart the TV, or rather, turn it off or on. You could also unplug the TV and allow the electronics inside to discharge. Check that there is not a broken device connected to the TV.

TVs have an energy-efficient mode that can mess with power delivery, which is necessary for the screen to have a constant refresh rate.

If the problem persists, something on the inside might be disconnected, or the TV is, in fact, due for servicing.

Conclusion and Summary

When your new gaming monitor starts flickering, you might want to hold off on sending it back. Check the cables, display drivers, refresh rate, as well as graphics card, particularly that it is seated properly. Turn off power-saving modes and check to see if any applications might be causing interference.

Laptops follow a similar pattern, particularly from the software side of things. Updating, reinstalling drivers and disabling switchable graphics/power saving modes.

TVs can also suffer from bad cables and bad source connections. Some TVs can be updated which might solve flickering issues.

If all of these things fail, contact a technician or corresponding product customer service and relay your problem to them.

About The Author

Milan Zagorac

Milan has always been interested in writing and technology, but managed to pick up a love for music, literature and sports along the way. Essentially a jack of all trades, his interest in all things tech as well as love for the written word, keeps him well occupied.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments