Common Laptop Screen Problems

By Gregory Hamel

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Laptop computers are all-in-one computing devices that combine the typical devices inside desktop computers with a keyboard and monitor. Laptop screen problems can be especially troublesome because screens cannot easily be exchanged for new ones as is the case with desktop monitors. Laptop screens usually employ liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, which can be susceptible to a variety of issues.

Pixel Defects

Pixel defects include dead pixels and bright or malfunctioning pixels. Pixel defects are often present in brand new laptop screens and LCD monitors. Dead pixels are pixels that simply do not light up at all and appear as tiny black squares on the screen. Pixel defects can be hard to spot if the bad pixel or pixels are toward the edges of the screen. Laptop and LCD screen producers have different pixel defect policies; some will only allow you to return a screen if the number of bad pixels exceeds a certain number, while others may allow for returns for a single bad pixel.


Laptop screens can be magnets for dirt, dust, moisture spots and other debris. Laptop users often sit only a couple feet away from screens, making it easy to accidentally spit or sneeze on the screen. Spots of dirt can look like dead pixels until they are cleaned away.

Fuzzy or Blurry Picture

Laptop screens can sometimes have fuzzy or blurry displays with distorted colors or lines that appear on the screen. These sorts of problems can make a laptop difficult or impossible to use. Updating display driver software or the system BIOS may help overcome these issues.

Screen Brightness

Inadequate screen brightness is another common laptop screen problem. Over time, LCD and plasma screens can fade or dim. Laptop screens are often set at a low brightness level to conserve energy. Turning up the screen brightness may solve the problem, but sometimes even maximum brightness may seem inadequate. In some cases the screen may be completely black or blank. This may be the result of physical damage to the wiring that supplies the display with power or video information.

Object Sizes

Another potential problem on laptop screens are objects and icons that appear too large, too small or blurry. These issues are often simply the result of the screen resolution settings.

Screen Backouts

Laptops often have internal settings that force the computer screen to turn off or make the computer hibernate when it is not in use for a certain amount of time. This can cause laptop screens to go black during use if you have not touched a key or used the mouse for a few minutes. Screen sleeping and hibernation settings can typically be adjusted to remedy these issues.