How to Fix Surface Pro Screen Shaking and Flickering

If your Surface Pro screen is shaking or flickering, it is often due to an issue with adaptive brightness, the display drivers, your OS being out of date, an overheating device, or even a defect or damage.

Trying to use your Surface Pro when the screen is shaking or flickering is an awful experience. It can make it impossible to focus, and even hurt your eyes in some cases. While this issue can often leave as quickly as it arrived, in other cases, it may persist.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to deal with this issue and hopefully get your device back in working order. With that in mind, this guide is going to go over a few possible reasons and fixes for your Surface Pro screen shaking and flickering.

Key Takeaways

  • If your screen is shaking and flickering, it is likely due to problems with adaptive brightness, issues with the display drivers, an out of date OS, overheating, or a defect within the device.
  • Thankfully, there are fixes to try for these issues including turning off adaptive brightness, updating your display drivers, updating your OS, or giving your device time to cool off.
  • If these fixes don’t work and your screen still flickers, there is a good chance your device is defective or has sustained some damage. Take it into an expert and consider reaching out to Microsoft to see what options you have.

1. A Problem With Adaptive Brightness

One of the most common culprits behind screen-related issues like flickering is a problem with adaptive brightness. With adaptive brightness enabled, the screen is always trying to adjust brightness levels to match your surroundings.

While this often works well, there are times where it can experience some hiccups and cause your screen to behave strangely. This can be when you go from dark to light areas (or vice versa), or even when tilting or holding the device a different way that moves the light sensor.

It is impossible to predict when these issues may arise as the brightness is always adjusting, so if you want to avoid this issue altogether, simply turn off adaptive brightness. This will give you manual control of the screen brightness, and it will no longer change with your environment.

To disable adaptive brightness, go to Settings > System > Display, and make sure the box next to Change brightness automatically when lighting changes is left unchecked.

2. Issues with Display Drivers

If it wasn’t your adaptive brightness setting that was causing the flickering, it could be a problem with the display drivers. These drivers can often be bugged, which can cause a host of different issues. 

These drivers often get updates that fix these issues, but if you missed some updates, you could still be using old drivers. The solution here is to simply update your drivers. To do this, go to the Start menu and then search for Device Manager.

In the device manager, go to Display adapters and click. You will then see a list of graphics drivers installed on your device, and simply right click them and select Update driver to complete the update.

If you are updated and still experiencing the problem, you could rollback your driver, which involves uninstalling the current version and replacing it with an older version. Right click on the same driver, go to Properties, then Driver, and then click Roll Back Driver.

3. Windows Being Out of Date

Another potential reason for the problem is that your Windows operating system is out of date. Just like with drivers, operating system versions can be ripe with bugs and other problems that can lead your device to do some strange things.

New updates often release bug fixes, but if you haven’t updated your device in a while, you are likely mixing these sometimes-crucial fixes. Checking for updates is as easy as going to Settings > Update & Security, and then click Check for updates.

If you don’t have any updates, then there is a good chance that the operating system isn’t to blame for your issue.

4. The Device Overheating

Your device overheating could be another cause of screen issues like flickering. A few years ago, Microsoft acknowledged a common screen flickering problem in the Surface Pro 4. It was due to a hardware issue, which began to occur after the device heats up during use.

The issue couldn’t have been fixed with an update as it was hardware-related, and Microsoft did agree to replace affected devices that were under warranty.

While this was mainly a problem with the Surface Pro 4, if you have been using your Surface Pro for a while before the screen begins to experience issues, it isn’t a bad idea to put the device down and let it cool off to see if that fixes your issue.

It isn’t a bad idea to shut your device down in this case, either. Shutting down your device fully reboots Windows, and in some cases, this might be able to help alleviate screen-related problems caused by strange interactions between apps or software.

5. The Surface Pro is Defective

Of course, there is also a chance that your device is defective. The display of your device might simply have an internal issue that is causing the flickering, and there is nothing that you yourself will be able to do about it.

You may be able to connect the Surface Pro to an external monitor to use the device without the flickering, but that doesn’t help you if you want to use it like a tablet or take it with you on-the-go.

In addition to a factory defect to the screen, the device itself could have sustained damage that has led to screen issues taking place. Sometimes, all it takes is a single drop or hard bump for certain parts in the device to become misaligned or damaged, leading to the issue.

If you think your Surface Pro is defective and that is causing the screen flicker, due to no other solution working for you, consider taking the device to an expert to be inspected. You can also reach out to Microsoft if you are still in your warranty period to see what they can do.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with a flickering screen can be frustrating and make using your Surface Pro a real chore. Whether you are writing an essay or playing a game, screen issues like this can ruin your experience.

We hope the reasons and fixes within this guide have been able to help you identify the problem causing your screen issues, and deal with them.

Is there another method you have used to be able to stop a shaking or flickering screen on your Surface Pro or other device? If so, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below.

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