How to Troubleshoot a Dark Computer Screen

By Candace Benson

A dark computer screen may indicate a problem with the monitor's power supply, with the monitor's settings, the video card or video card drivers or that the monitor is failing. If you're using a laptop, your power plan settings may have been altered and you may be able to revive your laptop screen by adjusting the brightness settings for your power plans. You'll need to follow different steps, depending on whether the monitor is powering on or not or if your monitor is just showing extremely dark images.

Things You'll Need

  • Additional video cable
  • Video cable for additional port
  • Additional display

Monitor Won't Power On

Step 1

Check the power cable that connects the monitor to your power strip. Plug the monitor directly into the wall.

Step 2

Check the cable that connects the monitor to your computer's video card. Try a different cable.

Step 3

Connect the monitor to another video card port if available. For example, if you are currently connecting the monitor to the computer via a HDMI port, try to connect the monitor to the video card through the VGA port.

Step 4

Connect the computer to a different display to ensure that the problem is with the monitor and not the video card.

Images Are Dark

Step 1

Boot up your computer to the desktop.

Step 2

Adjust your brightness and contrast settings through your computer monitor's menu. This process varies according to the computer monitor brand and model. Please consult your documentation if you are unsure of how to access your settings.

Step 3

Right-click your desktop, and left-click on any "Control Center" or "Control Panel" listed at the top of the menu. (The two major video card manufacturers are ATI and NVidia. You will likely see one of these names listed.)

Step 4

Adjust the "Gamma," "Brightness" and "Contrast" in the "Color" settings.

Step 5

Click "Apply," then "OK."

Step 6

Click on "Start," then "Control Panel." Click on "Classic View" in the left column, if available.

Step 7

Double-click "System." Click on the "Hardware" tab in Windows XP, then "Device Manager." Click on "Device Manager" in the left column in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Step 8

Double-click "Display Adapters," then double-click your video card.

Step 9

Write down and research any error messages found in the "Device Status" box.

Step 10

Click on the "Driver" tab, then select "Update Driver." Click on "Search Automatically."

Check Power Plan Settings (Laptops)

Step 1

Right-click on the "Power Plan" icon in the taskbar if you're using a laptop. Left-click on "Power Options."

Step 2

Click on "Change plan settings." Select the first power plan and adjust the brightness.

Step 3

Repeat for each power plan listed.