Windows won’t let me adjust screen brightness: 4 ways to fix it

Elsie Otachi By: Elsie Otachi
3 minute read
laptop brightness issues

Home » Fix » Windows won’t let me adjust screen brightness: 4 ways to fix it

Brightness issues on your computer are usually associated with display drivers, and other power settings, which you may or may not be aware of.

If Windows won’t let you adjust brightness on your PC or laptop, these are the first two areas to check for besides trying the usual common fixes such as restarting your computer or updating Windows.

While updating Windows will work to install the latest drivers that could be pending on the updates tray, there are other solutions you can try that are listed below and see if that helps you get back the proper resolution and brightness for your machine.

Keep in mind that every model of your laptop as well as operating systems are different, even as you check on the settings for each fix.

What to do if laptop brightness won’t change

  1. Update Display Adapter drivers
  2. Enable adaptive brightness
  3. Enable PnP Monitor
  4. Update the registry

1. Update Display Adapter drivers

  • Right click Start and click Device Manager.

  • Expand ‘Display Adapters’.

  • Right-click on the Display Adapter listed and click on ‘Update Driver Software’.
  • Select the option to automatically search for the updated driver software.
  • Restart the computer after its updated and verify.

You can also try and get the latest drivers from your computer’s manufacturer website and download and install the latest display and chipset drivers. To do this:

  • Right click Start
  • Select Device Manager
  • Search for Display driver and click on it to expand the list
  • Right click on the specific display driver
  • Select Uninstall
  • Go to the Software and Drivers sub-section (depending on the laptop brand this name can change), or search for drivers using Google so you can get a direct link to your device’s manufacturer website.
  • Once you’re on the website, find and download

Install the appropriate drivers missing from your laptop that can cause the brightness adjustment problem.

2. Enable adaptive brightness

  • Click Start and select Control Panel
  • Select Power Options

  • Click the Change plan settings link next to your current power plan

  • Click Change advance power settings

  • In the new window click Display to open up the listings under it.
  • Find and click each of the following…Display brightness, Dimmed display brightness and Enable adaptive brightness
  • Change each of these to the desired settings
  • Click Apply
  • Click OK

3. Enable PnP Monitor

  • Right click Start and select Device Manager
  • Click Monitors

  • Right click on Generic PnP monitor to see if it is enabled

  • If not enabled, click Enabled device. If it is enabled, disable it
  • Click on Action tab at the top menu of Devices Manager

  • Select Scan for Hardware Changes

  • Run the scan

— RELATED: Fix: Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter Not Working in Windows 10

4. Update the registry

If you’re still unable to adjust brightness on your laptop, try updating the registry.

Note: this solution contains steps that are part of modifying the registry. Please note that serious problems may occur if you do this incorrectly. Ensure you follow these steps correctly, and carefully. Back up the registry before you modify it, then restore it if a problem occurs.

To do this:

  • Right click Start and select Run

  • Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

  • Click System
  • Click ControlSet001
  • Click Control
  • Select Class{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}000] “FeatureTestControl”=dword:0000ffff

If this issue persists, you should also ask for a specialist’s help. If your screen is faulty, updating your drivers won’t solve the problem.

If the display is affected by hardware issues, then most likely, you’ll need to get a new display.

If you’re still having trouble adjusting brightness on your Windows 10 computer, post a comment in the section below and let us know the details.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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