Why does my screen flicker and how do I fix it (5 steps)

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One of the most annoying screen problems you may encounter today is screen flicker. Although it often occurs when a screen gets old or worn, this is not always the case. Newer LCD and LED panels can also fall victim to this annoying screen artifact – which reduces immersion and overall image quality exponentially.

Since screen flicker comes in many shapes and forms, it can be a little difficult to diagnose it. Fortunately, we have tons of experience when it comes to screen problems and are here to outline the most common causes of screen flicker.

What is screen flicker?

All screens flicker, whether you can see it or not. The image you are looking at is drawn, erased and redrawn faster than the human eye can perceive. This is referred to as a screen refresh rate.

The screen refresh rates have increased a lot in the last 10 years, with the best monitors with a high refresh rate now above 360Hz. The screen refresh rate has a direct impact on the smoothness of your visual experience, with higher refresh rates often chosen by top esports professionals.

Unfortunately, while refresh rates are designed for visual smoothness, issues related to this specification can totally disrupt it. You may have a loose cable, a worn power adapter, or someone has changed your Windows settings, resulting in an annoying flicker that is visible to the human eye.

With that in mind, let’s go through some of the most common causes of screen flicker below – starting with the most common and ending with the most obscure.

To stop the screen from flickering:

1. Check the monitor cable

One of the main causes of screen flicker is a dying HDMI or DisplayPort cable. Even older VGA and DVI cables can cause this annoying problem, so it is always worth making sure that the cable is not only properly secured, but that it is not defective in any way. Start using the cable with another device, or use a brand new cable for your monitor.

You will be amazed at how often this is the cause of the problem.

2. Check the power cable

Like the video cable, a faulty power cord can also be one of the main reasons why your monitor shows an annoying flicker. Just check both ends of the power cord to make sure it is not worn, torn, or damaged in any way. Although rare, this has been known to cause monitor flicker in the past and should be one of the first things you check.

If your monitor uses a generic kettle, replace it or try it with another device to make sure it is not a problem.

3. Check the display settings

Another common cause of screen flicker is a change in screen settings. Making small changes to your display settings can lead to some annoying artifacts – one of which is screen flicker.

Just go to the NVIDIA control panel (or AMD Software: Adrenaline Edition if you are an AMD user) and make sure none of the settings are changed. The most important menu you should worry about here is the “Change Resolution” tab which allows you to change the screen resolution and refresh rate.

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Make sure the refresh rate is set to the maximum value for the smoothest experience. A lower refresh rate can lead to some difficult visual artifacts.

In addition, you can also go to Windows Display Settings (right-click on the desktop and select from the drop-down menu) and make sure no settings are changed there either.

4. Make sure all graphics drivers are up to date

Another increasingly popular cause of screen flicker is an outdated graphics card. Yep, that’s right, it’s actually quite important to keep your GPU bang up to date – especially if you want to reap the benefits of the latest upgrades.

Fortunately, updating GPU drivers is quite easy – especially with both AMD and NVIDIA building updates in their software packages.

Just upload the relevant software application and use the “update driver” wizard to complete the process.

5. Check that the monitor is not defective

Finally, if everything else seems to be working just fine, try testing the screen itself. This can only be a problem for aging panels, but not always. Even newer monitors can fall prey to errors or glitches that can cause image flicker.

You can easily check for errors on the screen by trying a new monitor input (HDMI. DisplayPort, DVI, VGA) and see if the problem occurs.

You can always try to borrow someone else’s monitor and use it with your current setup. This will also quickly tell you if the screen is the problem or not.

Last word

So there you have it, our quick guide to the main reasons why your screen flickers. Hopefully this guide has brought you back to visual perfection!

Ultimately, each screen flickers, which is what they do to continuously update the images you see on the screen. In fact, the more the screen flickers, the better!

That said, we are not referring to the overall refresh rates of a screen here – we are talking about an annoying flicker that is physically visible when watching movies, playing games or surfing the web.

Fortunately, following the simple steps above should solve the problem of screen flicker, and bring you back to visual immersion.