Dell monitor flickering

Dell Monitor Flickering (Fix In 4 Easy Steps!)

Dell has a great lineup of monitors – they are consistency the best-selling PC monitors globally! But, they do come with a few challenges. One such challenge reported by many users working from home is their Dell monitor flickering.

Dell Monitor Flickering

Dell monitor flickering is commonly due to a slow screen refresh rate. To fix this, go to the display settings and select a higher refresh rate until the flickering stops. A loose or damaged display cable may also be the issue. Ensure the display cable is securely connected and undamaged.

Additional causes include incompatible PC apps, graphic driver issues or power strip overload. Updating your PC applications, reinstalling the graphics driver and unplugging additional devices from the power strip usually solves the problem.

Have you noticed that your Dell monitor flickers?

Read on for further step-by-step instructions and supportive images to fix the problem today!

Why Is Dell Monitor Flickering?

Why is Dell monitor flickering occuring in the first place? What’s going on?

There are four main causes for Dell monitor flickering:

  1. Screen refresh rate is set too slow
  2. Display cable is either damaged or not securely connected
  3. There are too many devices plugged into the same power strip
  4. Incompatible PC apps or there is a graphics driver issue

Let’s review some common fixes for each of these root causes.

Dell Monitor Flickering – Troubleshooting Steps

Increase Screen Refresh Rate

Something I never fully appreciated is that a flickering monitor occurs when the human eye witnesses the screen refreshing.

The refresh rate on a monitor is calculated by the number of times it redraws itself each second.

This means that a normally functioning screen is simply refreshing at a fast enough rate so that you do not notice it!

For this reason, one of the simplest fixes you can try is increasing the screen refresh rate.

To increase your screen refresh rate:

  1. First, in Settings select Display and then Advanced settings.
  2. Next, select Display adapter properties for Display 1 and under the Monitor tab select the Screen refresh rate drop down menu.
  3. Try selecting a higher refresh rate and see if the issue stops.

You can perform some trial-and-error testing here. If the first refresh rate you try doesn’t stop the flickering, test a few others.

Additionally, many Dell monitors have a recommended screen refresh rate Hertz (Hz) setting.

You can check to see if your specific Dell monitor has a recommended refresh rate using the Dell user manual lookup.

Enter your Dell monitor model number (usually located on the back of the screen) in the search field to investigate.  

Inspect Display Cable And Confirm A Secure Connection

Whether you are using HDMI, DisplayPort (DP), VGA or DVI, often the display cable is to blame.

HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA and DVI display cables

First, inspect the display cable for any visible damage.

Look at the heads of each cable and inspect the pin connectors:

  • HDMI (standard): 19-pin connector
  • DisplayPort: 20-pin connector
  • VGA: 15-pin connector
  • DVI (single-link): 18-pin connector

Ensure that none of these connectors are bent, damaged or missing.

Next, confirm there is a secure connection made with your display cable on BOTH ends.

Even the smallest break in connection can be responsible for a whole host of problems from audio issues, to no signal errors, and more. Push both display cable ends in firmly!

If your screen is still flickering, try using a different type of display cable than the one you are using. If issue is solved, your display cable is to blame.

Unplug Additional Devices From The Power Strip

Believe it or not, electromagnetic fields may also be the cause.

While this problem sounds complex, the fix is straight forward.

Are any other devices using the same power strip as your monitor? Perhaps a heater, light, or a fan? Maybe all 3. Unplug them.

Unplug additional devices from power strip

Update Computer Applications And Reinstall Graphics Driver

If none of the above fixes have worked, your PC applications or graphics driver may be out of date.

We will use a fun trick to determine if your computer apps or graphics driver are the issue.

Press the Control (Ctrl), Shift and Escape (Esc) key simultaneously to open the Task Manager.

Task Manager Test
  1. If the Task Manger DOES NOT flicker, an incompatible app is most likely the cause.
  2. If the Task Manger DOES flicker, the graphics driver is most likely the cause.

How To Update Your Computer Applications (Windows 10)

Many application publishers will provide periodic updates to their apps. Often times these updates include new features or provide fixes to various app issues.

You can use your Microsoft Store on Windows to automatically install app updates.

  1. First select Start, and click on the Microsoft Store.
  2. Once you are in the Microsoft Store, select the account menu and then select Settings.
  3. Under App updates, set Update apps automatically to OnHere you can see my default settings are set to update apps automatically already. This may also be the case from some of you. For others, you will need to use the toggle button to turn this setting on.

Depending on your version of Windows, these steps may slightly vary. Check out the official Windows support page to learn how to update your apps across Windows versions.

How to Update And Reinstall Your Graphics Driver (Windows 10 / 11)

Sometimes the graphics driver is specifically to blame. To test this, first try to update the graphics driver directly.

Head over to the search box and this time enter Device Manager. Right-click on the name of your graphic device, and select Update driver.

Update graphics driver

If this does not fix the problem try uninstalling the graphics driver by right-clicking and selecting Uninstall.

Then simply Restart your computer – Windows will automatically attempt to reinstall the graphics driver during startup.

Other Common Dell Monitor Issues

Dell Monitor Won’t Unlock

Attempting to adjust your monitor but seeing a lock symbol on your screen?

Dell monitors are commonly locked accidentally and can usually be unlocked very quickly. Here’s how to unlock your Dell monitor.

Fix #1: Standard Dell monitor unlocking method

The simplest fix is to use the standard Dell monitor unlocking technique.

First, power on your monitor with the Power button. Next, press and hold the Menu button for at least 15 seconds. Notably on some models this may be the Exit button. Wait for the Unlock icon to appear on your screen and release. After a few seconds, test the monitor.

Fix #2: The 8 step Dell monitor unlocking method

If the standard unlocking technique is not working, try following the 8 steps below in exact order:

  1. Turn your computer and monitor off
  2. Disconnect every cable from the monitor including the power cord.
  3. Next, we need to drain any excess power in the monitor – to do this press and hold the monitor power button in for at least 5 seconds
  4. Reconnect the cables that go from the monitor to your computer
  5. Plug the monitor power cord back in and reconnect it to the monitor
  6. Turn on your monitor
  7. Then turn on your computer
  8. Press the Menu button for at least 15 seconds until the Unlock icon appears

Dell Monitor Stuck In Power Save Mode

Is your Dell monitor entering power save mode and getting stuck? Of all the Dell monitor issues, this is one of the more frustrating ones. Try these two common fixes.

Fix #1: Disconnect and reconnect the display cable

For the simplest fix, first unplug the display cable from the monitor. Next, press the power button a few times until the “color bars” screen pops up. This indicates the monitor recognizes it is no longer connect to a PC. Finally, plug the display cable back in.

Fix #2: Disconnect and reconnect ALL cables

If quick fix #1 did not work, try the following 4 step process below. Be sure the full the steps in exact order:

  1. Turn your monitor off
  2. Disconnect all cables from the monitor (including the power cable)
  3. Press and hold the monitor power button for 15 seconds
  4. Reconnect the monitor cables

Conclusion

If you come back to your home office to find your Dell monitor flickering, don’t worry. This is a common issue with four proven fixes.

Dell Monitor Flickering – 4 Troubleshooting Steps:

  1. Increase your screen refresh rate
  2. Check your display cable for damage and ensure a secure connection
  3. Unplug additional devices from the power strip
  4. Update your computer applications and reinstall the graphics driver

If you’ve tried all of these fixes, and you’re still having Dell monitor issues you can also contact Dell consumer & member purchase sales support at 1-877-717-3355.

You can also check out your Dell monitor warranty policy.

Were you able to stop your Dell monitor from flickering on and off? If so, let me know which fix worked for you in the comments section below!

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2 thoughts on “Dell Monitor Flickering (Fix In 4 Easy Steps!)

  1. Yea… none of this helped. In most scenarios I have had to return the displays to dell because they are just a piece of junk. Being a service center and servicing over 300 of these over the past 2 years has indicated to me that there are just defects in the displays that the manufacturer doesn’t want to own up to, nor do they stand by their product when the fail from their own defects. They point fingers and say it is your environment. Well… when you replace a flickering display with the exact same model display and the problem is gone (over and over and over again for years) there is only one conclusion. Thanks

  2. Chelsea!
    You did it! Followed your advice. Went to Control Panel, Devices and Printers, right clicked on the correct monitor, device settings, paged down to and clicked advanced settings, and there it was…a drop down for refresh rate, changed the refresh rate and the screen stopped it’s blinking on the spot. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Have a great day!

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