How to Adjust Display Brightness on Desktop Computers & Laptops

By Jacob Michael

A brightness setting that is too low on your computer monitor or laptop screen will make the content too dark to see clearly and present muted or washed-out colors. On the other hand, a brightness setting that is too high may strain the eyes. NVIDIA and ATI video cards or motherboards containing either video chipset both have control panels that adjust brightness, along with other settings such as contrast and color temperature. Computer monitors also have a brightness setting in their internal control panel. Brightness can be adjusted using any of these settings.

Using Video Card Control Panel (NVIDIA Video Cards)

Step 1

Launch the "NVIDIA Control Panel" by right-clicking on the desktop and clicking "NVIDIA Control Panel" in the contextual menu.

Step 2

Click "Adjust desktop color settings" under the "Display" submenu on the left panel. A window containing several control boxes will appear.

Step 3

Adjust the "Brightness" setting -- it is the first control in the "Sliders" box -- by dragging the slider left (to decrease) or right (to increase).

Step 4

Click "Apply changes" and close the NVIDIA Control Panel window.

Using Video Card Control Panel (ATI Video Cards)

Step 1

Launch the ATI control panel by right-clicking on the desktop and then clicking "Catalyst(TM) Control Center" at the top of the contextual menu. A window with three sliders controls will appear.

Step 2

Adjust the "Brightness" setting -- it is the second control in the window -- by dragging the slider left or right.

Step 3

Click the "Apply" button, then click "OK" to close the control panel window.

Using the Monitor Hardware Setting

Step 1

Open the monitor's settings window. Every monitor has a different method to do so, but typically there is a button on the monitor's front or side panel that will bring up a hardware settings control panel.

Step 2

Adjust the brightness setting. This setting is typically found in the "Contrast/Brightness" or "Display Settings" control panel.

Step 3

Push the control panel button again to close the settings window.