Why is your computer's screen flickering?

28 May 2013, 17:11
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Few computer problems are more annoying than a flickering screen that appears to have no apparent cause but won't go away. It may be not only irritating but also harmful for your eyes.
lcd monitor flickering LG

Sometimes my friends tell me that their screens flicker whilst they are working at their computer. They say that the flickering is infrequent and the monitors sometimes flicker from the Windows desktop to a black screen. In some cases the screens even change colour to a bright blue or pink. After resolving their problem I decided to help everyone else struggling with a maddening screen flicker, here are five tips to steady your screens.


Check the cables

When troubleshooting a screen flicker, I always check the cables first. Checking the video and monitor power cables before doing anything else. Don't forget to confirm that the cables are screwed in tightly and to replace the cables with new ones to see if the problem persists.

In fact, the colour changes are almost always a faulty wire in the cable. Try working the cable back and forth near both connectors. If this causes the colour change, you could have a broken wire in the cable, or a loose pin in one of the connectors. Make sure the cable is out of the way (from feet, hands, and other objects). You may also try zip-tying it to itself or another stable object until you can replace either the cable or the monitor."


Check the environment and surroundings

If a cable isn't the culprit, then the user's workspace should be next on your hit list. Monitors are notoriously sensitive to magnetic fields. Speakers, florescent lights, fans, cell phones, radios, and any other electrical device can cause a wide range of monitor problems. Check what's around the monitors.


Cell phones are known to cause screen flickers, among other things, and plugging a radio or fan into the same receptacle can also cause screen flickers. If the users are in cubes, check the other side of the cube to see if the next cube over has anything that could be interfering. I have fixed many a monitor by turning off a fan in the next cube. Also, we have some monitors that will cause monitors on the other side of the wall of a cube to degauss when they are turned on.


Check the display settings

Many computers that have been upgraded to windows 7, or higher experience screen flicker. This problem is often due to an improperly calibrated refresh rate. The refresh rate determines how often the computer redraws the image on the monitor screen. The Windows installation process, which includes selecting a video display driver, can occasionally select an inappropriate refresh rate for your monitor.

While the user can manually adjust the refresh rate, care must be taken to avoid harming the monitor. Excessively high refresh rates can damage certain video displays, so be sure to consult your device manual or the manufacturer's Web site before selecting the maximum possible refresh setting.


As a rough guide, refresh rates of 60 Hz to 85 Hz are common. Check the video card for this information.

Once you've checked the cables, environment, and display settings, it's time to examine the video card. Although rare, video card failures do occur. Open the PC's case, and first confirm that the card is securely seated on the motherboard. If it is, replace the card with one you know works. If the flicker disappears, you've found the culprit.


Check the monitor itself

If the flicker remains after checking the cables, environment, display settings, and video adapter, the problem may be within the monitor itself, so you will have to look for professional help from your manufacturer tech support. 

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