How to Fix Surface Pro Screen Brightness Not Changing

If your Surface Pro brightness isn’t changing, it could be due to adaptive brightness being off, problems with the keyboard, display-related issues, an out-of-date operating system, or driver problems. Thankfully, there are solutions for each of these issues.

Being able to adjust the brightness of your Surface Pro is a huge convenience that most of us take for granted. If you are out in the sun, you may need to turn up the brightness to see, while using your device in bed at night calls for a much dimmer screen.

But what can you do if your screen’s brightness will not change? Read on to learn more about some of the reasons your Surface Pro screen brightness might not be changing, and how you can fix the issue.

Key Takeaways

  • If your screen brightness cannot be changed on your Surface Pro, it could be due to adaptive brightness being turned off, keyboard problems, a display issue, an outdated operating system, or something being wrong with your drivers.
  • The potential fixes for this issue include turning on adaptive brightness, replacing or fixing the keyboard, repairing the display or dealing with the bug/software issue, updating your operating system, and re-installing/updating your drivers.
  • If none of these reasons/fixes help you get to the bottom of your issue, consider taking your device to a specialist who can examine or test it to see if they can identify the problem.

1. Adaptive Brightness is Turned Off

If you like to have your brightness automatically adjusted when you enter certain lighting conditions with your device, that is an option on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. If your brightness isn’t changing like normal, it can often be as simple as this setting being turned off.

The solution here is to simply turn it back on. On Windows 10, this is done by going to Settings > System > Display, and then checking the box that says Change brightness automatically when lighting changes.

If you are on Windows 11, you need to go to Settings > System > Display, and then go to the section for brightness. Here, you will be able to check the box that says Help improve battery by optimizing the content shown and brightness.

2. Problems with the Keyboard

If you don’t use adaptive brightness, or simply want to change the brightness manually, your issue could be keyboard related. This is because keyboards normally have a few buttons that let you quickly and easily dim or brighten the screen.

If you press these buttons and nothing happens, your first thought might be that it is a display issue, when it is just as likely a problem with the keyboard. It could be the specific brightness keys on the board, or the entire accessory itself.

A solution here is to try another keyboard, if the other keyboard lets you adjust brightness without a problem, then the first keyboard was likely the issue.

You can also try and adjust the brightness in another way, such as in the display settings. If the brightness adjusts by doing this, you know the issue was with the keys on your keyboard. If it won’t change, you know the problem isn’t related to your keyboard.

3. Display-related Issue

Of course, the brightness not being able to be changed could be due to an issue with your display itself. If your screen is damaged or the device is simply old, it is common for a Surface Pro to experience some screen-related problems, which could include brightness not changing.

In addition to damage to the display or age, there can often be bugs or simple software issues behind the scenes that can cause display and other graphics-related problems with touchscreen devices.

A common tactic for dealing with strange bugs and interactions like this is to restart the device. Sometimes, starting with a fresh slate and wiping away the current state that the software is in can be all it takes to have the device working normally again.

This won’t always be successful, but it is a quick and easy option to try. If it turns out that damage to your display is the cause of the issue, you could have it repaired by someone with expertise and the proper experience.

4. Your Operating System is Out of Date

In some cases, an operating system that is out of date can lead to a variety of different bugs and issues, including problems with the screen and brightness. To see if this is the reason, you need to go to Settings, Update & Security, and then Windows Update.

On this page, you can click Check for Updates, and the device will scan if there are any updates you can make to Windows. If there are, install them. These are generally quick to install, and can have significant benefits for the performance and security of your device.

If the issue persists after the update has been installed and completed, then the operating system likely wasn’t the cause.

5. Issues with the Drivers

A problem with your driver could also be to blame for the lack of brightness changes. Your drivers are sets of files that tell the hardware within your device how to function properly. 

When you do an operating system update, normally your drivers update too, but this is not always the case. If you want to make sure your drivers are up to date, you need to update them manually.

To do this, go to the Device Manager. In the list of options, expand the Display adapters and right-click on the driver. Then, choose Update driver and follow the instructions that arrive on the screen to complete the update.

In addition to updating the drivers, you can also uninstall and reinstall them. To do this, follow the same steps as before, but choose Uninstall device instead. Once it is uninstalled, simply restart your computer and when it starts back up, the driver will be reinstalled.

You can also go to the manufacture website (such as Intel or AMD) and manually install the updated drivers, too. If after trying everything included in this guide with no luck, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert who can inspect your device and identify the cause.

Final Thoughts

Not being able to change the brightness of your Surface Pro screen can be a frustrating experience, and one that makes it difficult to use at times. Hopefully the information in this guide has been able to help you identify what is causing the issue, and let you fix it with ease.

How bright do you like to have the screen on your Surface Pro or other device? Let me know in a comment below.

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