Why Does My Screen Flicker?

By Lee Morgan

Your monitor could be flickering for several different reasons.
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When sitting at your computer working or playing it can get annoying if the screen on your monitor begins to flicker. It can even cause your eyes to become prematurely tired, cause headaches or simply delay your work. Getting to the bottom of this problem is probably a high priority if you use your computer regularly. There are a few common problems that cause screen flicker that can be fixed or at least diagnosed easily.


A common cause of screens flickering on computers is overheating. The processors and other components of your computer heat up as they do their jobs, and when a part begins to overheat it can cause symptoms such as a flickering screen to happen occasionally or continuously, depending on the severity of the problem. If you notice your flickering is worse when you are demanding more of the computer, such as when you play video games, edit video or surf the Internet for long periods of time, overheating could be the culprit. If it slows down or stops when the computer is inactive or during light tasks like word processing, overheating is even more likely the culprit. You could have a faulty fan or you may need to install a cooling fan to help your system function properly.

Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is a common cause of a flickering screen because the monitor may not be able to handle the performance of your graphics hardware. You can adjust the hardware acceleration to potentially reduce or stop flickering completely. Right-click on your desktop and choose properties. Click the "Settings" tab, click the "Advanced" button and choose the "Troubleshoot" tab. You will see a slider bar that says “Hardware acceleration.” Use the mouse to slide the handle to the left to reduce the level of acceleration until the screen clears up. Click "Apply" and resume your activities.

Faulty Monitor

In some instances, you may just have a monitor that is outdated or worn out. If you suspect your monitor is faulty you can test it by unhooking it from your current computer and trying it out on a friend’s computer. Turn it on and see if the monitor works better elsewhere. If it does, then you know the problem is in the computer. If it still flickers, you know the monitor is bad. You will just have to deal with it until you can get a new one.

Loose Connections

One potential cause of screen flickering is a poor connection. Monitors get their signal through a cord that hooks directly into the rear of the computer. If the monitor is not getting a good connection to the computer it may flicker as it wiggles loose of the port. This is a good possibility if the vibration of typing or other movement tends to make the screen flicker worse. Check all of your cables to make sure they are tight and secure and are not damaged.