Compared to older displays, LCD monitors are an excellent low cost and low power solution to meet our computer display needs. Unfortunately, the LCD screen may flicker at some monitor settings.
A flickering LCD is more than just annoyance. This can cause eye strain, headaches, and a host of other ailments, especially if you spend a lot of time at the computer. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop the flickering and avoid these problems. In this article, I will show you how to prevent LCD flickering.
What causes an LCD screen to flicker
While your computer monitor may appear stationary when not in use, it is in fact constantly being updated. Just like film is just a collection of fast-displaying static images, your monitor refreshes at a high rate to give the impression that something is moving smoothly on the screen.
Monitor refresh rate is measured in hertz. One hertz is equal to one cycle per second. If your monitor is set to refresh at 100Hz, then it refreshes 100 times per second. The hertz used to measure the refresh rate of a monitor are similar to the gigahertz used to measure the speed of your processor, except that gigahertz is a measure expressed in billions of cycles per second.
If the refresh rate is set too low on the LCD monitor, it may flicker as there are not enough updates per second. While some people are comfortable with around 30Hz, others may see flicker and require a higher refresh rate. The most common refresh rate is 60 Hz.
There are other factors that can cause screen flickering, which I mentioned at the end of this post.
Adjust the refresh rate of the LCD screen
The refresh rate you can set for your LCD monitor is largely determined by its capabilities. While some LCD monitors can use several different refresh rates, others are limited to one or two.
To select a new refresh rate for your LCD monitor in Windows, first click Start> Control Panel> Appearance and Personalization> Display. If you are using Windows 8 or 10, just right-click the Start button and select Control Panel. If you’re in Icon View, you can tap directly on Screen.
On the left side of the window, click Change Display Settings.
Finally, click on “Advanced Settings” in the lower right corner of the window.
Click the Monitor tab and you will notice a few things. First, pay attention to the “Screen Refresh Rate” setting. This is the current refresh rate of your LCD monitor. Click the drop-down menu and Windows will display all possible refresh rates for your monitor.
It is likely that your monitor can only use one or two refresh rates, so this list might be small. Several manufacturers create monitors that can display between 30 Hz and 200 Hz. Usually monitors with higher refresh rates will be more expensive. The typical refresh rate for gaming monitors is 144Hz. If the price of the monitor seems too low for you, this is probably due to the low refresh rate. For example, some newer 4K monitors are cheap, but only run at 30Hz, so things can look uneven on the screen.
In addition, many monitors show 59Hz and 60Hz and you can choose between them. So what’s the difference? It mainly has to do with rounding and it doesn’t really matter. You can read the exact information on 59Hz and 60Hz here.
From here, you can try a higher refresh rate and see if the flickering stops. This usually helps. If that doesn’t work, or if only one refresh rate is listed, there are two things you can try.
First, make sure you are using the latest driver for your LCD monitor. If the driver is out of date or Windows uses a generic driver, the number of available refresh rates may be limited. Visit the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver for your version of Windows.
If that doesn’t work, you can force Windows to use a refresh rate that is not technically supported by the monitor. However, be careful as this can damage the monitor hardware.
On the Monitor tab shown above, the option “Hide modes this monitor cannot display” is checked by default. By unchecking this box, you can force Windows to use whatever refresh rate you want for your monitor.
Note that right below this option, Windows will warn you about an unusable or damaged display. Uncheck this option and set your monitor to an unsupported refresh rate at your own risk. Depending on your version of Windows, this option may be grayed out, meaning you can only select the refresh rate specified in the box.
For Mac users running OS X, you can go to System Preferences and click Show. Here you can change the refresh rate of the external display connected to your Mac.
Other causes of screen flickering
If changing the refresh rate does not correct screen flickering, it may be due to other factors. Here is a list of other items you should check:
Cable – If possible, replace the cable that connects the monitor to the computer. In some cases, a faulty cable can cause an interruption in the signal during transmission over the wire.
Input port. Another solution is to use a different port on the monitor whenever possible. For example, if you are connecting via HDMI, try DVI, DisplayPort, or VGA instead and see if that solves the problem.
Environment – Apart from equipment problems, electromagnetic fields can also cause screen flickering problems. If something else is connected to the same extension cord, such as a heater, fan, etc., try removing that.
Graphics Card – If there is a problem with your graphics card, this will obviously affect the display output. Update your drivers and open your computer to make sure the graphics card is properly seated in the slot.
Monitor – Finally, the monitor itself may be damaged or malfunctioning. Try connecting the monitor to another computer to see if the problem goes away or not.
Hope this helps you figure out what is causing your monitor flickering problems. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!