How To Fix Distortion on a Computer Screen

Introduction

Scrambled screen.
You may be getting a distorted picture on your computer screen similar to the one above. This can happen due to a bad connection between your computer and its display, due to corrupted software or drivers, or even due to faulty hardware. This guide will take you through some troubleshooting steps you can take on your own to attempt to resolve this type of issue.

1 Check Video Connection

For a desktop computer with a separate monitor

  1. Monitors can be connected to a computer through a variety of video connection types. The most common ones are shown below:
    Video connector types.
  2. Check one end of the video cable and make sure it is firmly plugged into the monitor.
    Monitor with the video cable plugged in.
  3. Check the other end of the video cable and make sure it is firmly connected into the rear panel of the computer.
    Monitor plugged into desktop.
  4. If your computer and monitor support more than one type of video connection, connect the two with another type of cable.
  5. You can also try connecting the monitor to another computer to find out if the monitor malfunctioning, or connect another monitor to the computer to find out if the computer is malfunctioning.

For a laptop or all-in-one computer

These types of computers have a built-in display but they may also have a video port which allows you to connect an external monitor to them.

  1. Check for any of the following connection ports on the computer and check if you have a monitor with a matching port.
    Video connector types.
  2. Plug in one end of the video cable into the monitor and the other into the computer.
    Monitor connected to laptop.
  3. Connect the monitor to a power outlet, turn it on and set the video input source to match the connection port.
    Monitor powered up.

? Is the issue resolved?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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Scrambled screen.
You may be getting a distorted picture on your computer screen similar to the one above. This can happen due to a bad connection between your computer and its display, due to corrupted software or drivers, or even due to faulty hardware. This guide will take you through some troubleshooting steps you can take on your own to attempt to resolve this type of issue.

For a desktop computer with a separate monitor

  1. Monitors can be connected to a computer through a variety of video connection types. The most common ones are shown below:
    Video connector types.
  2. Check one end of the video cable and make sure it is firmly plugged into the monitor.
    Monitor with the video cable plugged in.
  3. Check the other end of the video cable and make sure it is firmly connected into the rear panel of the computer.
    Monitor plugged into desktop.
  4. If your computer and monitor support more than one type of video connection, connect the two with another type of cable.
  5. You can also try connecting the monitor to another computer to find out if the monitor malfunctioning, or connect another monitor to the computer to find out if the computer is malfunctioning.

For a laptop or all-in-one computer

These types of computers have a built-in display but they may also have a video port which allows you to connect an external monitor to them.

  1. Check for any of the following connection ports on the computer and check if you have a monitor with a matching port.
    Video connector types.
  2. Plug in one end of the video cable into the monitor and the other into the computer.
    Monitor connected to laptop.
  3. Connect the monitor to a power outlet, turn it on and set the video input source to match the connection port.
    Monitor powered up.

Depending on how badly distorted or jumbled the image on your screen is, you may or may not be able to continue troubleshooting further. If you cannot see the elements on your screen clearly enough to be able to continue, your machine will require professional service or repair.

To better assist you, please answer this question.
  1. Select the Start menu, then Settings.
    Start menu with Settings highlighted.
  2. Select System.
    Settings with System highlighted.
  3. In Display, check the Scale and Resolution options, and adjust these options to make your screen look proper. Setting to an option labeled (Recommended) is often the best choice.
    Display with Scale and Resolution highlighted.
  4. If you make a change to the resolution, you'll be asked to make sure you can still see what is on the screen. If it looks proper, select Keep changes, otherwise, select Revert, or wait 15 seconds for it to revert automatically.
    Keep Display Settings dialog.
The next steps will help you reinstall your video driver.
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Display adapters to expand this section, and see the devices in them.
    Windows 10 device manager showing display adapter
  4. Double click one of the devices under one of these headings to show its properties. Select Driver.
    Device properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Uninstall Driver.
    Windows 10 uninstall driver prompt

Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
Windows will automatically recognize the missing device drivers and set them up for you.
Automatic device setup in Windows.

If Windows is unable to install the correct drivers, they will need to be installed manually.

The drivers may come with the peripheral on a disc or you can download them from the manufacturers website.

Method 1:

  1. Insert the disc that came with your device into the computer.
  2. You may get a pop-up on the screen asking you what you want to do with the contents of the disc. Choose the option that allows you to install or run the software from the disc.
    Windows autorun pop-up.
  3. If you don't get this pop-up, click on the Windows button on the bottom left corner of the screen, then click on File Explorer or its icon.
    File Explorer placement in Windows menu.
  4. In the File Explorer, look for the disc drive and double click it to open its contents.
    Windows File Explorer with disc drive highlighted.
  5. Look for the Setup or Install file and launch it, then follow the instructions to install the drivers onto the computer.

Method 2:

  1. Open a web browser on your computer.
  2. Navigate to the manufacturers website.
  3. Look for the Support heading on the website and click on it.
    Example of support heading placement on manufacturer website.
  4. The place where the drivers can be downloaded from varies by how the manufacturers website is designed. Sometimes you can find them under the Downloads section, other times under Software or under Drivers, or even a combination of these words.
  5. You can either find the needed drivers by typing in the peripherals name and model in the search field like in the image above or you can find them by clicking through the categories of devices like in the image below.
    Category based device search on manufacturer website.
  6. Once you've located the driver for your device, click to download it and save it onto your computer.
  7. Launch the downloaded driver and follow the instructions to install it on the computer.
  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    Apple menu with system preferences highlighted
  2. Choose Displays.
    system preferences with displays highlighted
  3. Place a dot next to Default for display, or choose a different resolution under Scaled.
    Display preferences with resolution highlighted

NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) is a cache of settings specific to your Mac. Resetting NVRAM is safe, however you will need to reset some of your minor customizations, such as volume, time zone, or screen resolution.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Shut Down... (2).
    Apple menu icon highlighted with menu beneath highlighting the shut down option.
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button.
    Macbook power button highlighted on the keyboard.
  4. Immediately push and hold the option, command ⌘, P, and R keys on your keyboard.
    option keyPluscommand keyPlusP KeyPlusR Key
    • If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after the second time it plays.
    • If there is no startup sound, release the keys after the second time the Apple logo disappears.
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