A flickering monitor can be incredibly frustrating and distracting.
And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re dealing with it right now.
Thankfully, fixing a flickering monitor is usually pretty easy.
Keep reading, as we’ll explore some common reasons why your monitor might be flickering and provide some practical steps to troubleshoot and fix the issue.
Troubleshooting a Flickering PC Monitor
Inspect Your Monitor Cables and Try Different Ones
Flickering on a PC monitor can be caused by a variety of things, but one of the most common causes of monitor issues is a loose or damaged cable. If the cable is not properly connected, or is damaged, it can result in a poor signal being sent from the graphics card to the monitor, causing flickering and other issues.
First, you should make sure the cable is properly connected to both the graphics card and monitor.
Pull the cable out of both the monitor and the graphics card and reconnect them, making sure they’re fully inserted into their respective ports with a snug fit.
If you notice that the cable is loose while plugged in on either end, that could be a sign that the port on your monitor or graphics card is damaged (however, don’t worry too much yet).
You’ll also want to inspect the cable for damage. This can include frayed wires, cut or kinked cables, and bent pins. If you notice any damage, then the issue is most likely a bad cable.
Regardless of the condition of your cables, you should also try different cables if you’re still facing issues. Cables can suffer internal damage without any visible damage on the outside of the cable, and can help rule out a faulty cable.
Try Using Different Ports on Your GPU and Monitor
Most monitors and graphics cards come with multiple ports. But sometimes, a monitor may flicker when connected to a specific port, either due to a damaged port or compatibility issues between the monitor and graphics card.
While you’re checking your monitor cables, you’ll also want to try different ports on the monitor and graphics card. Just remember that if your monitor isn’t set to auto-select the input source, that you change it to the proper port on your monitor’s input selection settings.
Update Your Graphics Driver
While it’s one of the most cliché pieces of troubleshooting advice (along with “have you tried turning it off and on again?”), updating your graphics drivers is another potential way to fix a flickering PC monitor.
Why? Because driver updates often include bug fixes and optimizations for specific hardware configurations, which can alleviate strange issues like flickering.
In any case, keeping your graphics drivers up-to-date is quick and easy, and can ensure that your PC stays running smooth.
Adjust the Display Settings on Your Computer and Monitor
Flickering on a monitor can be caused by a variety of factors, including issues with the monitor’s settings. If everything you’ve tried so far doesn’t work, then adjusting the following settings on your monitor or computer might help prevent flickering:
Refresh rate – Adjust the monitor’s refresh rate in your computer’s display settings. The default refresh rate is usually 60Hz, but some monitors may support higher rates, meaning that increasing the refresh rate to match your monitor’s may reduce flickering.
To change the refresh rate of your monitor on Windows, right-click an empty space on your desktop and click Display Settings.
In the Settings app, scroll down to the bottom and click Advanced Display Settings.
On the following screen, click the drop-down list under Refresh rate to select a different refresh rate.
Screen resolution – The screen resolution may also be a factor, especially if you use a custom resolution. Adjusting the resolution to match the monitor’s native resolution can sometimes help eliminate flickering.
To change your resolution on Windows, right-click an empty space on your desktop and click Display Settings.
In the Settings app, click the drop-down list under Display resolution and try a different resolution to see if it helps.
Adjust brightness and contrast – If the monitor’s brightness or contrast is set too low or high, you may notice flickering, so you might try adjusting these settings to see if it alleviates the issue.
You may also look around in your monitor’s settings for any other modes or settings like MagicBright, G-Sync, FreeSync, or anything related to auto-brightness, which can sometimes cause flickering issues.
Reduce Electronic Interference
Electronic interference, although not particularly common, can cause a monitor to flicker because it disrupts the signals sent between the monitor and the graphics card.
A monitor works by receiving signals from the graphics card, which controls the display on the screen. These signals are sent as electrical impulses through cables that connect the monitor and the graphics card, where the monitor produces its display.
Electronic interference occurs when other electronic devices emit electromagnetic radiation that interferes with the signals between the monitor and the graphics card, resulting in a variety of display issues, including flickering. It can come from a variety of sources, including other electronic devices in the room (such as cell phones, radios, and speakers) and faulty wiring in your walls.
To check if electronic interference is causing your monitor to flicker, you can try turning off other nearby electronic devices or moving your computer/monitor to a different area.
By minimizing electronic interference, you can help ensure that the signals between your monitor and graphics card are clear and stable, ruling out electronic interference as a cause of your monitor’s flickering.
Try Your Monitor With Different Hardware
If you’ve tried everything else, and you still have monitor flickering issues, then the last step is to try your monitor with different hardware. This can be another computer or a different graphics card, or if you have another monitor to test your computer with, you can try that instead.
This will help you to deduce whether the issue stems from your computer, or the monitor itself. If the same monitor and cables work on a different computer, then you might have an issue with the graphics card itself. Conversely, if trying another monitor on your computer eliminates the issue, then clearly your computer isn’t at fault, and instead, it’s quite possibly a hardware issue with your monitor.