How to Fix Horizontal Lines on a Computer Screen

Troubleshooting lines on your monitor

The appearance of static or flickering horizontal lines on a computer screen can be frustrating and inconvenient, but there are many steps you can take to try to fix your problem. This guide will walk you through various checks and fixes you can perform on your computer and its monitor to find out why the lines are appearing and what to do to make them disappear.

What Causes Lines on a Monitor Screen?

Horizontal lines on a computer monitor can be caused by overheating or physical damage to the monitor and connecting cables. Conflicts between the screen and selected screen resolution and refresh rate settings can also cause line problems, as can out-of-date device drivers and operating systems.

How to Fix Computer Screen Lines

Here are all of the best solutions for getting rid of horizontal lines on your computer screen or monitor.

  1. Turn your monitor off and on again. It seems like a basic fix, but it can often correct any screen glitches, such as horizontal lines.

  2. Restart your computer. A quick restart can fix a variety of tech issues and could get rid of any flickering lines on your screen.

  3. Try a different monitor. If possible, try connecting to a different monitor or screen. It can help you determine if the lines are caused by your computer’s screen or the computer itself.

  4. Check your monitor while it’s disconnected. Keep your monitor powered on, unplug it from your computer, and look for any flickering or lines on its screen while it’s disconnected. If you see any kind of distortion, this means that your monitor is damaged.

  5. Detach and reattach the keyboard. If you have a computer that uses a removable keyboard, remove it, wait a few seconds, and reattach it.

  6. Close and reopen your laptop. Close your laptop’s screen, wait a few seconds, and reopen it again slowly. Look to see when the lines begin to appear on the screen as you open the laptop. If the lines only occur at a certain angle, the cause is likely damaged wiring.

  7. Use your laptop on a hard surface. Soft surfaces such as on a blanket or tablecloth can cause overheating, resulting in screen flickering and lines.

  8. Install the latest operating system updates. Old software conflicting with newer hardware could cause the lines on your computer screen.

  9. Check the monitor connection. Ensure all of the cables are securely connected, and watch for any improvements in screen image quality while you’re inspecting the cables. If you notice the image improves or worsens while touching the connecting cable, it may need replacement.

  10. Disconnect the monitor. If you’re using an external monitor, disconnect it from your computer, wait several seconds, and reconnect it.

  11. Remove magnets and electronics. If you have other electronics or magnetic devices near your computer, screen, or the connecting cables, move them somewhere else as they may interfere with the connection and cause the lines.

  12. Clean your computer and monitor. Dust may be causing your computer and its monitor to overheat and create visual distortions.

  13. Change the screen resolution. Whether using a Windows or Mac computer, try changing its screen resolution.

  14. Calibrate your monitor. This process should only take a few minutes and can help optimize your monitor for use with your computer and its environment.

  15. Change your monitor’s refresh rate. Switching to another refresh rate setting can help with lines and screen flickering.  

  16. Update your device drivers. Check for driver updates for profiles associated with your monitor and screen.

  17. Run a troubleshooter. Open Settings and select System > Troubleshoot > Other trouble-shooters and run the Video Playback and Program Compatibility trouble-shooters. If you get presented with any recommendations for other trouble-shooters, run those too.

  18. Reset your monitor to its factory settings. If you’re using an external monitor or screen, use its built-in settings, not your computer’s settings, to reset it to its factory settings. You can usually access these settings via a physical Settings or Menu button on the computer monitor itself.

  19. Contact official support. Contact the support for your computer’s manufacturer and inquire about a repair or replacement.

  20. Upgrade to a new computer or screen. If nothing else works, it may simply be time to upgrade to a new computer or invest in a newer monitor.

  • How do I fix no signal on a computer monitor?

    If your monitor is displaying a message that reads "no input signal," you may have a defective cable or component. To troubleshoot the issue, turn your computer off and on again. Also, unplug the monitor-to-PC cable and plug it back in, making sure the connection is secure. Try another monitor to see if the problem is with your PC. Also, try resetting your video card; if nothing else works, replace your video card.

  • How do I fix a monitor color problem?

    To fix coloration and distortion on a computer screen, power the monitor on and off, restart the computer, and make sure the cable between the monitor and computer is connected securely. If you're using a CRT screen, try degaussing the monitor. You can also try adjusting your video card's quality settings and experimenting with your monitor's adjustment buttons.

  • How do I fix ghosting on a computer monitor?

    To fix screen burn on a monitor, also called "ghosting," try turning off your display, ideally for at least 48 hours. Also, try setting your screensaver to an all-white image and letting it run for a few hours. You can also try using the JScreenFix tool, which fixes stuck pixels.

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