How to Brighten a Laptop's Screen

Adjust your laptop screen’s brightness and make everything easier to see

What to Know

  • Use the screen brightness keys on the keyboard.
  • Select Action Center on the taskbar > Shift the Brightness and color slider to the right (to increase screen brightness).
  • Go to Settings > System > Display > Brightness and color.

The screen brightness of your laptop could make a difference to your productivity and can even reduce eye strain. This article shows you how to brighten your screen and make your computing comfortable.

Why Is My Laptop Screen So Dark?

Anything from a buggy display driver to a faulty screen can be the cause behind a dim screen. The most common reason, however, is the wrong screen brightness setting in Windows 10. But before you get down to brighten your screen, do look around at the ambient lighting and any sources of glare. Sunlight is the primary source of ambient light during the day.

Change your location to test the effect of ambient light on your screen display.  Also, anti-IR/anti-UV films can degrade the brightness by casting a tint. 

How Do I Make My Screen Brighter?

A Windows laptop gives you different ways to brighten your screen. In the steps below, we will cover bother manual and automatic ways to tweak a dull screen. 

Use the Action Center

This is the quickest way to adjust the screen brightness. The slider is present in all Windows 10 PCs updated to version 1903 and beyond.

  1. Select the Action Center icon on the right side of the taskbar. 

  2. Move the Brightness and color slider to adjust the light levels.

    Windows Action Center and Brightness and color slider highlighted

Use Windows 10 Settings

You can also access the brightness slider from Display Settings. 

  1. Go to Settings > System.

    Windows Settings screen with System highlighted
  2. Under Display settings, move the slider for Brightness and color

    Brightness and color slider highlighted in Windows 10 Settings


    You can also change the strength of the Night light. Select Night light settings and adjust the Strength with the help of the slider in the next screen.

Use the Windows 10 Mobility Center

The Mobility Center is designed for quick access to common Windows 10 mobile settings. One of those is the Display brightness slider.

  1. Tap the Windows key + X shortcut and select Mobility Center from the menu.

    Opening Mobility Center with keyboard shortcut with "Mobility Center" highlighted
  2. Move the Display brightness slider to tweak the laptop screen's brightness.

    Windows Mobility Center with Display Brightness slider highlighted


    You can also open the Mobility Center from the Start menu search and via a right-click on the battery icon.

Use Battery Saver Settings to Adust Brightness Levels Automatically

The Battery saver settings won’t automatically brighten your laptop. But it’s important to know about this automatic adjustment and disable it if necessary for a brighter screen. Windows 10 automatically lowers screen brightness when the battery falls below a certain level. You can change the battery power percentage and thus manage the screen brightness. 

  1. Select Windows key + I to open Settings.

  2. Go to System > Battery.

  3. Select the dropdown for Turn battery saver on automatically at and choose a battery percentage.

  4. Enable (or disable) the checkbox for Lower screen brightness while in battery saver

    Battery saver setting highlighted in Windows 10

What Is the Shortcut Key to Adjust Brightness? 

Most laptops will have a dedicated key to brighten or dull the screen. The special keys are usually located with the function keys on the top row. Do note the hotkeys can differ on laptops of different makes and even between models from the same manufacturer. Commonly, look for an icon that resembles a sun.

For instance: 

  • On a Dell XPS 13 tap the two brightness keys located with the F11 and F12 keys. You don’t have to activate the Function keys when you tap to adjust the display. A brightness slider on the screen serves as a visual indicator for the level of brightness. 
  • On some Lenovo laptops, you must activate the Function keys first. Press Function key + Home to increase the brightness or the Function key + End to decrease brightness.

Refer to your laptop’s manual for the exact keys on the keyboard. 


You will have to adjust the screen brightness on all displays when you use your laptop as a second monitor. A general rule is to always spend some time calibrating your display and check it under the most common ambient light conditions you work with.

  • How do I brighten the screen on a Mac laptop?

    To adjust your MacBook's screen brightness, go to the Apple Menu and select System Preferences > Displays, then click Display. Use the brightness slider to adjust your screen's brightness.

  • How do I lower the screen brightness even more on a laptop?

    To go beyond the lowest brightness settings on your laptop, you'll need a third-party application, such as Dimmer, PangoBright, or CareUEyes. These programs are helpful if even the lowest brightness settings cause discomfort.

  • How do I fix it when my screen is too dark but my brightness is all the way up?

    If your screen is too dark, even at full brightness, there are a few troubleshooting steps to try. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the display driver: Go to Device Manager, select Display driver, right-click your driver's name (for example, Nvidia), select Uninstall and follow the prompts. Restart your computer to reinstall the driver. Another option is to update the BIOS on your system.

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