How to fix a dead pixel

Dead pixels occur when a single pixel on a screen stops lighting up, causing a persistent black dot on the screen. It is quite difficult to fix a dead pixel, and often requires replacing the screen.

What causes dead pixels?

The most common cause of dead pixels is a manufacturing defect. Small, undetectable assembly errors can result in a handful of dead pixels among millions of working pixels. Dead pixels can also appear later in the screen’s life, mostly as a result of physical damage.

Dead pixels occur when the transistor that powers the pixel does not supply power, causing the associated pixel to remain permanently black, never lighting up.

Dead Pixel or Stuck Pixel?

Dead pixels and stuck pixels may look almost the same, but there’s an important distinction between them: a dead pixel is a pixel that doesn’t light up anymore, while a stuck pixel is a pixel that’s permanently lit.

Moehre1992[GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Stuck pixels are caused by the opposite problem of dead pixels: instead of the pixel’s transistor remaining off, the transistor associated with a stuck pixel is constantly on, and can affect the entire pixel or just one of the three. subpixels that make up the pixel.

Since the pixel is permanently on, a blocked pixel will typically appear as a very bright, persistent dot on the screen, and can be red, green, blue, or white. If your problem pixel is dead, it will look like a small black rectangle.

Locating a dead pixel or a stuck pixel

If you suspect you have a dead or stuck pixel but aren’t sure, you can take a closer look at the situation with various software tools. These programs often display solid colors across the entire screen, making it easier for your eyes to spot malfunctioning pixels. You can use the Dead Pixel Test or to locate potentially problem pixels.

How to Fix a Dead Pixel on Your Monitor, Smartphone, or Tablet PC

replace the screen

The most reliable way to fix a dead pixel is to replace the screen. Many manufacturers have warranties that cover dead pixels, so check your device’s warranty to see if this applies to you.

Most display manufacturers require a minimum number of dead pixels before the display can be replaced. For a screen the size of a computer monitor, the minimum is usually four to eight dead pixels. Smaller screens have lower minimum requirements.

Unfortunately, a small number of dead pixels are to be expected, and one is rarely enough to replace it. Right now, only Dell and BenQ offer a screen replacement for a single dead pixel. You can review the dead pixel policies of Acer, Asus, Apple, BenQ, Dell, LG, and Samsung, but the best source will always be your device-specific warranty documents.

Wait for the pixel to disappear

You can try waiting for the dead pixel to go away on its own. This is known to have happened, but no one can say when. You may have the dead pixel for the rest of the device’s life, or it may be gone in a week. It is impossible to say.

Try a stuck pixel treatment

You can try some of the stuck pixel fixes listed below. If your pixel responds to treatment, you won’t have to try a more risky solution.

pressure and heat

There are riskier methods that claim to fix a dead pixel, but you should proceed with caution. Both of these methods involve physically playing with your screen and are far from safe.

These methods should only be used as a desperate effort to fix a dead pixel. There is a chance that these methods will make the problem worse, and there is no guarantee that either will fix the problem.

  • Pressure Method : Wrap the tip of a blunt pencil in a soft cloth. With the screen off, press the tip of the cloth-wrapped pen against the dead pixel for five to ten seconds. You can also try applying pressure with your fingertips wrapped in a cloth instead of a pencil. Try to avoid pushing undead pixels, as the pressure could create new dead pixels.
  • Heating method : Soak a cloth in very hot water and wring it out until it no longer drips. Put the cloth in a plastic zipper bag to prevent water from getting on the screen. Hold the heated, bagged cloth against the dead pixel for five to ten seconds.

More time is not better for these methods! Do not push or heat for more than a few seconds at a time.

How to fix a stuck pixel on your monitor, Smartphone or Tablet

Stuck pixels are easier to fix than dead pixels; because the pixel’s transistor can still supply power, it can often be “reset” to its proper state. There are two methods you can try.

These methods can also be tried on dead pixels, and there’s no risk of damaging your screen in the attempt.

  • Power off the device for 24 to 48 hours. This can allow the stuck pixel to drain its excess energy and eventually turn off.
  • Use a software tool to run the stuck pixel and its neighbors through multiple very bright colors. Both PixelHealer (Windows) and JScreenFix (Web) do this for free.