How to Fix a Broken Laptop Screen

You might have to replace the screen, but try these fixes first

When a laptop screen breaks, you’ll see various visual defects depending on precisely what broke. You may notice stuck, or incorrectly colored pixels, lines of color, bleeding colors, chunks of the screen appear black, or the screen may not turn on at all.

What Causes a Broken Laptop Screen?

When a laptop screen is physically broken (such as a cracked screen), it’s usually due to physical damage. You may have dropped the laptop or dropped something on it. A laptop screen can even break if there is something as small as a bit of sand between it and the keyboard.

Some of the other issues that can cause a laptop screen to malfunction or seem broken include:

  • Stuck pixels
  • Screen burn
  • Malfunctioning backlight
  • Cable and connector problems
  • Outdated driver

How to Fix a Broken Laptop Screen

To fix your broken laptop screen, you’ll have to try each of these fixes. If the screen starts working, or you see enough improvement to begin using the laptop again, you can stop. If it stops working again in the future, return to the list and try the rest of the fixes.

If your screen is physically cracked and the underlying panel is damaged, these fixes won't work. To fix a physically cracked or broken screen, the only option is to replace the screen.

  1. Restart your laptop. The screen not appearing to work may be caused by an operating system issue, or some other conflict will be cleared by simply restarting the computer. Since restarting is so easy, it should be the first thing you try.

  2. Close the laptop and reopen it. Examine your keyboard and screen areas for any debris, and clean them thoroughly. If your laptop uses a visible latch, clean the latch mechanism. Carefully close the laptop, ensure it is completely closed, and open it back up. If the screen sometimes turns on and sometimes doesn’t, you probably have a bad lid sensor.

  3. Plug in an external monitor. If your screen is entirely black, try plugging in an external monitor. If the external monitor doesn’t work, your laptop may not be on, or it may be asleep or in hibernation mode. Plug it in, and make sure it's on.

  4. Update your video drivers. If your screen isn’t completely black, but you see visual defects on the screen, try updating your video drivers. You may have a malfunctioning or glitchy driver.

  5. Try to unstick your stuck pixels. If you’re dealing with one or more stuck pixels, you can use an app to try and unstick them. These apps typically cycle between colors rapidly or generate digital snow to force a dead or stuck pixel to start working again.

  6. Try to fix your burn-in. If it looks more like you have ghosts of old images stuck on your screen, then you can try a white screen saver or a few other potential fixes to remove the burn-in.

  7. Check your screen and backlight connections. If you have experience with disassembling laptops, you can remove the bezel around your screen, hinge covers, or other case components to reveal the screen and backlight wires and connectors. Make sure everything is fully seated and the cables aren’t crimped or broken.

  8. Replace the screen. If nothing else works, then your screen probably has to be replaced. Screens with large black or colored bars, black holes, or colors that seem to run are typically beyond repair. If it's a cracked screen, that’s also a clue you’ll have to replace it.

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