How to Turn Up the Brightness on a PC

By Dan Ketchum

Alongside options such as color and contrast, calibrating your PC's brightness setting is essential -- the right brightness level makes a world of difference in text readability and image clarity. For desktops, you turn the brightness up on the monitor itself. For laptops, you can tweak the computer's internal settings or use keyboard controls to crank up the brightness. You may run into some slight variations in the process, given the vast amount of computer hardware on the market -- consult your user manual to find out more about your PC's brightness settings.

Step 1

Locate your monitor's controls, typically located on the front of the monitor. Sometimes, the controls are behind a small panel or flap. In most cases, you'll see a button labeled “Menu.” Press this button to bring up the on-screen controls, typically for both brightness -- indicated by a sun-like symbol -- and contrast. Use the up, down, left and right buttons on the monitor to select the brightness setting and the up button to turn the brightness up.

Step 2

Press your laptop's function keys to turn the brightness up. On your keyboard, hold down the button labeled “Fn.” Locate the brightness up and brightness down function keys, usually indicated by a big and small sun-like symbol, or sun-like symbols with up and down arrows beside them. These keys are usually on the top row. While holding the “Fn” key, press the brightness up key to crank up your laptop monitor's brightness level.

Step 3

Adjust your laptop's power options. On Windows 8, 7 and RT, you can select the “Power Options” icon, which looks like a battery and plug, directly from the bottom right corner of your screen. Alternatively, you can access the Windows Control Panel by selecting “Control Panel” from the Start menu or typing “Control Panel” into the Windows search box. In the Control Panel's search box, type “Power” and then click or tap “Power Options.” From the Power Options menu, click or tap “Choose a power plan” and then “Change plan settings” next to the selected plan. Under the option “Adjust plan brightness,” drag the slider to the right to turn up the brightness. Tap or click “Save changes” to make your changes final.

Tips & Warnings

  • On laptops with certain Windows operating systems, you'll see the phrase “Enable adaptive brightness” under your PC's power options. Check the box to turn this function on if you want your computer's display to be brighter when it's plugged in and dimmer when it's running on battery power.
  • To reduce eye strain, keep your monitor's brightness consistent with the ambient lighting of the room.