Common Laptop Screen Problems and how to fix them at Home

As a writer, I have a lot of attachments to my Acer Travelmate laptop. I used to have desktops until I discovered laptops and have never looked back. For one, the mobility of a laptop makes it possible for me to write anywhere and whenever. But because laptops are single units compared to desktops, they need to be handled with more care.

I can recall times when I was busy on my laptop, and suddenly the screen went blank. Those events used to throw me into confusion. But not anymore because I have learned how to fix common laptop screen problems that I want to share with you.

First, I will enumerate common laptop screen problems you will encounter, and suggest how to fix them. These suggestions are derived from my experience, and some are advice from laptop technicians. It’s worth knowing how to solve your laptop screen problems if possible, because you don’t want to allow technicians to use you as their ATM or endure the frustration of buying a replacement for a broken laptop screen that a little knowledge could fix. 

The fixes I will be suggesting are for laptops running the Windows Operating System.


Common Laptop Screen Problems and Fixes

1. Screen blackouts

Have you left your laptop without touching the keys for like 15 minutes? You would notice that the screen suddenly goes black. Not to worry because there is nothing wrong with your screen. Every laptop has internal settings that cause the computer screen to turn off or even make the laptop hibernate when you have not used it for a specified amount of time.

Suggested Fix

 Touch one of the keys on the laptop, and the screen will come alive. Some laptops require you to turn on the power button. That was what my former DELL laptop needs to get me out of a screen blackout. To prevent future occurrences, go to the screen sleeping and hibernation settings and turn it off.


2. Pixel Defects

A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image or graphic. A picture contains several pixels, even thousands of them. Pixel defects on a screen are of three types. Dead pixels do not show at all, while hot pixels are those that are showing but are brighter than usual. Lastly, stuck pixels appear as colored squares on your screen. Pixel defects can occur on any laptop, whether old or brand new. The most challenging pixel defects to spot are those that appear on the edge of the screen.

Suggested Fix

The simplest solution to the pixel defect problem is to press the display with your fingers. Applying pressure to the display will loosen and free the pixels, and hence, they will return to normal. However, if that doesn’t solve the problem, you need to use a software application to free defective pixels. One such application is JScreenFix. JScreenFix is a web application, so you don’t have to download anything. But note that the process of freeing defective pixels with this web application can take up to an hour.


3. Screen brightness problems

Laptop screens are liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. With time, they can fade or become dim. When this happens on your laptop screen, try to increase the brightness of the screen. Note that laptop screens come with reduced brightness by default to conserve your battery and reduce power consumption. So, when you notice any reduction in brightness, increase the brightness controls to a higher amount. On increasing the brightness controls and the screen is still dim, you know you have a brightness issue.

Suggested Fix

Laptop screens can go dim when during startup, the laptop lagged, and the booting process did not follow the correct protocol. First, check if this is so by closing and opening the lid of the laptop. If that doesn’t help, then it’s time to reboot your system. A quick reboot would resolve this anomaly. Well, if after the quick reboot the dimness issue persists, then you have a hardware problem. Maybe one of the wires that supply the display with power is faulty. Don’t solve the problem yourself but take the laptop to a qualified professional technician because it is a hardware problem.


4. Font size issues

Sometimes, objects on the screen can become too large, very small, or even blurry. This happened to me in the past. However, you should note that the size items appear on the screen depends on the graphics card, screen size, and display driver. So, you can fix these size issues relatively quickly.

Suggested Fix

Go to your Control Panel and locate the resolution settings. Tweak the resolution settings until you get an optimal result on your display. Know that this is because screen resolution determines how items appear on the display.


5. Distorted, fuzzy, or blurry pictures

Sometimes, laptop screens appear fuzzy or blurry, and lines start to appear on the display. If the blur is not much or the lines are only in the corner of the display, you can live with it, but not when you watch videos on your laptop. Video images would not give you their optimal colors. Blurry and fuzzy displays can also be frustrating when you are into graphic design. Therefore, the problem has to be fixed.

Suggested fix

Most of the time, the problem is software-related, and you can solve it by changing the display settings. Also, you have to update the display drivers or the system BIOS to solve the problem permanently.


6. Blank screen

A blank screen on a laptop display is one of the most frustrating laptop screen problems. Understanding the root cause can be a significant challenge. A motherboard with faulty hardware parts could often cause the problem or because the LCD or LED screen is broken somewhere.

Suggested fix

To get the fix done, we need to find out if the screen is broken. This can be done by connecting the laptop to an external display. If your laptop’s boot sequence appears on the external display, you have a broken screen that needs replacement. Take the laptop to a professional technician for this. But if the boot sequence doesn’t show on the external display, it will be wise to reset the laptop’s BIOS. Resetting the BIOS should fix the blank screen issue.

Also, while resetting the BIOS, check your RAM. Sometimes a faulty RAM could be causing the problem. Clean the RAM, or it would be best to replace the RAM if possible and see what happens. Taking these steps has been shown to solve the blank screen problem about 90% of the time. If you are unsuccessful, then the motherboard may be the problem. Again, at this stage, take the laptop to a professional technician to check the motherboard.


7. Dirt

 Have you noticed that aerosols can cause speckles on your laptop screen? Also, when you sneeze or eat close to your laptop, some particles can linger on the laptop screen, making you see things like obscure pixels. Dirt is a significant factor in ensuring that your laptop screen is healthy and can last for a long time.

Suggested fix

The way to solve this problem and give your screen a shine is by cleaning it. Just use a little water on a damp handkerchief and clean it thoroughly. For example, you can use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and distilled water. Also, take your laptop to a technician regularly to do a thorough cleanup. I do that every six months. My technician at the Computer Village in Ikeja oils and cleans the laptop parts thoroughly. This ensures that your laptop lasts for a long time.


8. Laptop Screen Hanging

Have you encountered a situation where you are working on your laptop and suddenly the screen freezes? The mouse works, but the laptop has entered a state where it doesn’t respond to mouse clicks. Most times, this is a software issue that you can solve in several ways.

Suggested Fix

The first solution to the problem is to wait. Most likely, there is extra load on the CPU, which is why the laptop screen is frozen. Waiting for like 10 minutes will make the system respond. Please, don’t click the mouse while waiting. If after 10 minutes the screen still hangs, close and re-open the lid. If that still doesn’t help, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch the Task Manager. From the Task Manager, you will see what application consumes the most system resources and hangs the CPU. Kill that process to regain control of your laptop screen.

If you are unable to open the Task Manager, then switch user profile by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del. When you log in with another user profile, go back to Task Manager and kill the process consuming the most system resource. If all else fails to release the frozen laptop screen, you have to take the option of last resort. Press and hold the power button. This will make the laptop power off. Would you mind waiting 10 seconds before powering it back on? You will lose your unsaved work when you power off the laptop.


9. Digital Artifacts

This is a rare situation when your laptop shows dots, shapes, or lines not needed. This issue makes images hard to see, and your work hard to read. This issue can be caused by a faulty graphics card or a loose cable. This issue can be solved when you tighten the connection. Nevertheless, it may still not work unless you replace the graphics card or cable. 

Suggested Fix

If you come across this issue from playing video games, you will need to give your laptop a break from overheating then, try it again. If the problem persists, check to be sure you are running the latest version of the game. Also, make sure the video card driver is up to date.

Another way to solve this issue is to connect a different monitor to your laptop, regardless of the program, you are running. If the issue lingers, connect the graphics card to your laptop, and ensure you possess the latest video drivers. 


General Tips for Maintaining your Laptop Screen

I need to emphasize that the maintenance of your laptop will save you money and make you enjoy it the most. I will be listing some of the maintenance tips that worked for me below:

1. Take your laptop for checkups frequently. 

2. To preserve your laptop screen, never hold or carry the laptop from the screen. Instead, hold it at the bottom. If you regularly do that, you are unwittingly damaging your laptop screen. This can cause the screen to crack in hidden places, and you have a terrible laptop screen before you know it. Also, the hinges might get loose by handling it at the screen.

3. Turn off your laptop before putting it into a laptop bag. If you don’t do that, the heat generated inside the bag might get to the screen, developing problems. Your CPU might even overheat while inside the bag, totally damaging the laptop.

4. Keep your laptop screen clean at all times. When you want to spray an aerosol-like perfume in the house, ensure you have first closed the laptop screen. 

Laptops are not manufactured in Nigeria. Since the Naira is falling against the dollar, the cost of importing goods into the country will continue to rise. That is why we expect the price of laptops to increase soon. By making sure your laptop, including the laptop screen, is kept in good condition, you save yourself a lot of money.



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