A flickering laptop screen can be a headache in more ways than one. It can damage your company’s bottom line because the constant blinking is a distraction that produces fatigue. The result is decreased productivity, because you’ll require frequent breaks to reduce the possibility of eyestrain and headaches. There are different types of flicker, including brief, random flickers and those that are persistent. The way your screen flickers is helpful in determining the culprit.
Change the refresh rate to match the capabilities of your monitor. The refresh rate is a measurement of how many times the screen redraws each second. Although this setting is related to older, desktop monitors, it can affect the quality of the Liquid Crystal Displays found in laptops. Right-click the desktop and choose “Screen Resolution,” then click “Advanced Settings” and “Monitor.” If enabled, place a check beside “Hide Modes That This Monitor Cannot Display” and choose a higher refresh rate from the list.
Update your graphics card drivers. This is the most likely cause if you’ve always had a problem with flicker. Look for “Hardware and Sound” in the Control Panel and click “Device Manager.” Under “Display Adapters,” you’ll see the exact brand and model of your video card. Go to the manufacturer’s driver Web page and search for this model to download the appropriate drivers. Alternatively, you can revert to an older driver if the flicker began immediately after an update. In this case, return to the Device Manager, right-click your adapter and then “Driver.” Click “Roll Back Driver” and “Yes” to confirm.
Turn on Vertical Sync if the flicker occurs when DirectX or OpenGL is in use, for example, while playing a PC game. Vertical Sync, or VSync, locks the refresh rate of the application to the refresh rate of the monitor. Horizontal flicker is reduced, which improves image quality. For Nvidia cards, VSync is found in “Manage 3D Settings.” For Intel, look for “3D Settings” or “Asynchronous Flip.” On ATI/AMD cards, turn on “Wait for Vertical Refresh.”
Lower and raise the laptop screen repeatedly to determine if the flicker is related to movement. Hardware failure is the likely cause when flicker occurs only when the laptop moves. Most likely, the screen cable is loose or damaged, but the inverter and backlight can also cause this problem. The laptop needs to be opened in order to confirm the problem, but do not attempt this unless you are familiar with PC repair and do not mind voiding the warranty. For the best results, take the laptop to a licensed technician or send it back to the manufacturer.