Are the colors “off” somehow on your computer screen? Perhaps they are washed or inverted? Perhaps everything has a red, green or blue hue, or even too dark or too light?
Worse yet, and easily the cause of those migraines you’ve been having, is your screen distorted or “cluttered” in some way? Are the texts or images, or everything , blurred or moving by itself?
Obviously, your computer screen is the main way you interact with it, so anything that isn’t quite right can quickly become a major problem, and even a potential health risk if it happens to be one of the more disorienting problems that can occur.
There are a few different reasons why your monitor may be distorting images or misrepresenting colors, which can lead to whatever specific issue you’re seeing, so we’re going to go through some troubleshooting tasks until we figure it out. .
Most of these are easy things to try, but some of these tasks may be more difficult or unfamiliar than others. If so, please take your time and be sure to refer to any instructions on other pages if you need additional help.
How to correct discoloration and distortion on a computer screen
- Turn off the monitor, wait 15 seconds, and turn it on again. Some issues, especially minor ones, can be caused by very temporary problems with your connection to your computer that a reboot will fix.
If the problem goes away but returns quickly, especially if it’s color related, try turning the screen off for 30 minutes before turning it back on. If that helps, your monitor may be suffering from overheating.
- Restart the computer. There is a small chance that an operating system issue is causing the discoloration or distortion and a simple reboot will suffice. This is such an easy thing to try, however, that doing it early in troubleshooting is smart.
See Why restart Fix Problems? for more information on this topic, especially if it works and you’re wondering why.
- Check the cable between the monitor and the computer to make sure each end is physically secure. Completely unplug and plug each end back in to be sure.
Newer interfaces, like HDMI, often just “push” in and out, meaning gravity can sometimes cause them to come loose on both the monitor and computer sides. Older interfaces like VGA and DVI are usually screwed on, but sometimes they also come loose.
- Degauss the monitor. Yes, this is “throwback” advice, considering that magnetic interference, which corrects for demagnetism, only occurs in the big CRT monitors of yesteryear.
That said, if you’re still using a CRT screen, and the discoloration issues are focused near the edges of the screen, degaussing will most likely fix the problem.
- Using the monitor’s adjustment buttons or on-screen settings, find the default default level and enable it. This should return your monitor’s many settings to “factory default” levels, correcting any color issues that may have been caused by settings at inappropriate levels.
If you have an idea of what’s “off” with your colors, feel free to manually adjust individual settings like brightness, color balance, saturation, or temperature, etc., and see if that helps.
If you’re not sure how to do this, check your monitor’s instruction manual.
- Adjust your video card’s color quality settings, making sure it’s set to the highest possible level. This will often help resolve issues where colors, especially in photos, look wrong.
Fortunately, newer versions of Windows only support the highest possible color options, so this is probably only worth looking into if you’re using Windows 7, Vista, or XP.
- At this point, any major discoloration or distortion issues you’re seeing on your monitor are probably due to a physical problem, either with the monitor itself or with the video card.
How to say it:
- Replace the monitor when you try another monitor instead of the one you have and the problems will go away. Assuming you’ve tried the other steps above and were unsuccessful, there’s little to no reason to think something else is causing the problem.
- Replace the video card when, after trying a different monitor as well as different cables, the problem does not go away. Another video card confirmation would be if you see the problem before Windows starts, such as during the initial POST process.
- Your discoloration and distortion issues need to be corrected.