How to Fix Flickering or Flashing Screen in Windows 10/8/7

If your screen flickers or flashes while placed on a regular steady surface, then is likely that you have some application(s) that are incompatible with your display adapter or your display adapter driver is not fully compatible with the Windows distribution you have running on your PC.

In either case, the degree of flickering or flashing could vary widely depending on the cause. From minor flashes every now and then to some major display fading that can interfere severely with your use of Windows such as the case with this laptop.

Whether you’re experiencing this problem in Windows 10, 8, or 7, below are four possible ways to fix it.

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SOLUTION 1: Resolve Display Driver Issues

First is the issue with display drivers, there are times when your laptop automatically downloads and installs display drivers that may not be compatible with your display adapter or your Windows distribution, in such cases you might experience malfunctions like this when you run your Windows.

To verify if your flickering is coming from such incompatible display drivers, check and see if the task manager flickers when you open it up. To open the Task Manager, press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + Esc, the task manager should pop up. You can click on the arrow to the bottom left where it says More details to expand it.

If your Task Manager also flickers, then this is likely an issue with the display driver. If it doesn’t flicker, then is likely due to some incompatible apps you have installed.

Also, if you attach an external display to your laptop and the external display doesn’t flicker, then is even more likely that this problem is coming from your display drivers.

To fix that, first try to update the display driver and see if it works.

1. Go to my windows search and type device manager and click on device manager from the search results. You can also right-click on the Start icon and select device manager.

2. On the device manager, go down to where it says Display adapters, click on the arrow beside it to display the graphics drivers currently installed.

3. In this case, I have Intel HD graphics driver. I’m going to uninstall this driver. Before you do that, please ensure you have an Internet connection on your computer.

Note: Without an Internet connection, your PC won’t be able to reinstall the graphics driver after uninstalling and that will leave your display looking blurry and not having the right aspect ratio. In addition, some apps and functionalities like the sleep feature from your power options might not be effective after uninstalling. So, with internet connection on your laptop, go ahead and uninstall this driver.

4. Right-click on the driver and select Uninstall device.

5. Select Delete the driver software for this device (if you have the option), hit uninstall and wait for that to complete.

It might prompt you to restart your computer to complete the process. Simply hit Yes and then wait for the laptop to restart. Upon restarting, you should have your screen back to normal (If this was driver issue).

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Now if you go back to check the graphics driver, you should have the Microsoft basic display adapter installed. This is a generic display driver that comes with Windows before updating to the drivers that your graphics card requires.

For some laptops, it will look completely normal with this generic driver, however, some graphics related features like the Sleep mode, and some app features might not be functional with this basic display driver, so you will need to update to the required drivers for your graphics card. You can first try the Automatic driver update feature.

  1. Right-click on the driver and select Update driver.
  2. On the page that follows, select Search automatically for updated driver software. This will automatically download and install your graphics drivers.
  3. If for some reason this process fails or the installed driver keeps giving the same problem, then you should visit your manufacturer support page to manually download and install your graphics driver. You can also search on Google with your PC model and follow the links from your manufacturer support page.
  4. If one version fails, try another version. Sometimes an older version might work better with your system settings than the later versions, so try that out too.
  5. After installing the driver, it might prompt you to Restart your computer to complete the process. Even if it doesn’t, is advisable to do so otherwise some graphic features might still not be active.

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SOLUTION 2: Check for Incompatible Applications

Generally, this could be any application, but three of the most reported apps that could possibly cause this flickering problem are iCloud, Norton AV, and IDT Audio. If you experience this problem after installing or updating any of these apps or some other apps to your Windows, then you should consider uninstalling such app and checking to see if that is the cause of flickering in your case. To uninstall such apps;

  1. Go to your Windows search and type, add or remove programs, then click on add or remove programs from the search results. 
  2. You should have this Apps and features page pop up. Here you can choose to sort apps by date of install by simply clicking on the drop-down arrow and selecting install date. This will help you trace the most recent app you have installed. You can also search for an app by typing the app name to this search field.   
  3. So, if for instance, you suspect that the flickering could be coming from iCloud, simply search iCloud and you should have it appear in the search. Then click on it, and then select uninstall from the displayed options to remove it. 
  4. If for some reason the uninstall option is greyed out and won’t let you uninstall it directly, then first click on modify, a dialog box should pop up asking if I want to repair or remove, here select remove and hit next.
  5. Then hit yes, and yes again on the user account control, and wait for the uninstallation to complete. Now you can do the same for Norton antivirus if you have it installed and also IDT Audio. After uninstalling, you can try restarting your computer to see if that has resolved the flickering issue you’re having.

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SOLUTION 3: Disable Windows Error Reporting Services

As unrelated as this may sound, there have been multiple instances where disable the Windows error reporting services has helped to fix such screen flickering issues. To disable the error reporting service;

  1. Right-click on your Windows start menu and select run.
  2. On the run dialog box, type in the command, “msconfig” and hit enter. That should open up your system configuration. 
  3. Here click on Services, again click on Services on the first column to arrange services in alphabetical order, this will make it easier to locate any services you want.
  4. Scroll down and search for Windows Error Reporting Service. Here all checked services are enabled. To disable any service, you need to uncheck it and apply the changes.
  5. Here uncheck Windows Error Reporting Service
  6. Then again search for Problem Reporting and Solution and uncheck that too. Afterwards, hit apply and then ok. 
  7. Now restart your computer and see if the problem has been fixed.

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SOLUTION 4: Check the Refresh Rate of Your LCD Monitor

Refresh rate is simply the number of times your monitor updates in a second and is measured in Hertz (Hz). This is quite a rare situation, but that are times when your refresh rate is set so low that it could be causing your screen to flicker since is not updated as frequently as it should. To check the refresh rate of your monitor;

  1. Go to your Windows search and type, change display settings, click on change display settings from the search results. 
  2. On the display settings page, go down to where it says Advanced display settings and click on it.
  3. On the advanced display settings, you can see the current refresh rate of your screens, here I have both my laptop screen and the external monitor set to 59Hz refresh rates, which is pretty much the same as 60Hz. This is the most common refresh rate for most monitors. But if for some reason yours is flickering on 59Hz or some lower frequencies, then it could be that your graphics drivers are strictly designed for only 60Hz frequency. 
  4. To change your refresh rate, simply click on the Display adapter properties for Display 1. You should have a window like this pop-up.
  5. Here click on the Monitor tab, and under the monitor settings, you can use the drop down to select your required frequency, then apply and hit ok. 
  6. Afterwards, restart your computer and see if this has fixed the flickering problems.

Please note that if your screen flickers when you touch it or show some vertical or horizontal lines when it shakes, then there are probably some physical problems either with the flex cable which connects your screen to the motherboard, or the screen itself is actually cracking mostly due to pressure.

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So if you’re having such problems, consider changing the flex cable or the screen as a whole depending on what the problem is in your case. You might need the help of a technician to do this.

Please share your comments, questions and feedback in the comment section below. 

The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.