The monitor display can be unclear on systems that run the Windows Operating System from time to time.
It might look grainy or blurry all of a sudden, causing issues with reading text, watching videos, playing games, and so on.
Both hardware and software defects can cause this issue.
This article has gathered every possible method you can try for fixing an unclear monitor display in the form of a troubleshooting list.
Go through the fixes, from the most basic ones to the more complex ones, until you find the method that works for you.
Monitor Looks Grainy (Causes, Fixes)
1. Clean The Monitor
This issue might not be causing the problem you’re having, but sometimes a grainy or blurry image happens because of a dirty monitor screen.
Since monitors are delicate devices, you should handle them with care.
Get a lint-free cloth, dampen it slightly, and gently wipe the screen.
You can also use an electronics-safe cleaning solution.
2. Restart The Computer
It might seem like a basic fix, but it is quite effective in many cases.
If the grainy monitor happened due to a minor glitch in the software, a reboot is all the system needs to solve the issue.
Therefore, if you haven’t done it already, restart your PC.
3. Check The Cables
A grainy monitor display could be because of loose or damaged cables.
Firstly, ensure both the power and data cables fit securely in their ports on both ends and haven’t gotten loose over time.
Next, inspect the cables for any sign of breakage or damage.
If the cable is old or faulty, swap it for a new one and see if that solves the issue.
Older monitors use VAG-type cables, and new models are compatible with DVI or HDMI cables for transferring data.
Determine if the cables are in the correct ports.
If you have a different cable type, try swapping them to ensure the ports work.
The cables you’re using should be high-quality and reliable.
The DisplayPort cables should be VESA certified.
Moreover, an HDMI cable should support the monitor port’s version.
For example, you need an Ultra-High-Speed HDMI to run a 4K display.
If you’re using a display adapter, inspect it for defects because it may be faulty and interfere with the connection.
The adapter’s type should support the monitor’s configured resolution.
4. Change The Advanced Scaling Settings
Microsoft has developed a dedicated troubleshooter meant to automatically detect and solve a fuzzy screen issue.
Here’s how you can turn on its settings:
- Right-click on the Start menu logo and choose Settings to open the app.
- Click on the System option.
- Choose Display from the left-hand menu bar.
- Click on the Advanced scaling settings link.
- Under the Fix Scaling for apps section, toggle on the switch next to Let Windows try to fix apps, so they’re not blurry.
- Reboot your computer.
5. Change The DPI Scaling Settings
Modifying the monitor’s scaling settings might help solve the unclear monitor display.
Here’s how to do it on Windows 10:
- Right-click on the Windows logo and choose Settings from the list.
- Click on the System option and select the Display option from the left menu bar.
- Locate the Scale and Layout section.
- Select 100% (Recommended) for the Change the size of text, apps, and other items option.
- Restart the System.
Windows 7 and 8 users should follow these steps:
- Type “Control Panel” in the Windows search box and open the app.
- Choose Display.
- Here you can change the size of text and other items. Select the Smaller – 100% (default) option.
- Hit the Apply button and reboot your PC.
6. Change Monitor Refresh Rate
If you’ve changed the monitor refresh rate recently and the unclear display issue started afterward, changing back the refresh rate can help solve the problem:
Right-click on an empty space on the desktop and choose Display Settings from the drop-down menu.
- Head to the Advanced display settings section.
- Choose the Display adapter properties under Related Settings.
- Head to the Monitor tab, where you can change the refresh rate under Monitor Settings.
- Choose a different refresh rate than what you’ve already set, preferably a lower one.
- Hit the Apply and OK button to see the changes.
If the problem continues, test the other refresh rates and see if you can find one that solves the display issue.
7. Update Windows
Windows updates and new patches usually contain fixes for such problems.
Make sure you’ve installed the latest Windows version that Microsoft has released:
- Open Settings and head to the Update & Security section.
- Hit the Check for Updates button to search for the latest versions.
- If you receive a pending updates message, click on its respective button to download it.
- You’ll have to restart your system after the download is complete for the system to install the update.
8. Update The Drivers
Outdated or corrupted display drivers can be the culprit for the display issues, and updating them can solve them.
You can complete the process manually or use a third-party utility for the job:
Update Drivers Manually
- Right-click on the Start logo and choose Device Manager.
- Find the Display Adapter in the list and double-click on it to expand.
- Right-click on the name of your monitor and select Update Driver from the drop-down menu.
- Choose the Search automatically for the updated driver software option.
- Restart your PC after the process is complete.
- If the mentioned steps didn’t help, go back to the Device Manager, right-click on the monitor’s name, and choose Uninstall device this time.
- Restart your computer, so Windows detects and installs the latest driver on its own.
Update Drivers Using Third-Party Apps
Using a driver updater tool that can detect faulty drivers and update them to their latest version automatically can save you a lot of time.
The Bit Driver Updater is one of the best applications for the job, and here’s how you can use it to your benefit.
- Download, Install and launch Bit Driver Updater.
- Click on the Scan Drivers button located on the main interface.
- After a few seconds, you’ll see a list of all your faulty drivers.
Find the flagged Display Driver and hit the Update button next to it.
- It’s also possible to hit the Update All button to take care of your troublesome drivers.
- After the auto-installation process is complete, restart your PC.
Driver Easy is another capable driver updater app with the same features:
- Download and open the Driver Easy software.
- Click on the Scan Now button.
- You’ll find all the flagged drivers on a list.
Locate the Display Drivers and click Update for the automatic installation to start.
- The app’s Pro version will allow you to update all your problematic drivers by hitting the Update All button.
9. Update The BIOS
An outdated BIOS can cause various software issues, including display problems.
Updating the BIOS to its latest version might solve the problem, and it’s worth a try.
There are different ways to update the BIOS.
Before you start, let’s determine if you need the update or if you already have the latest version installed:
- Head to your motherboard or PC manufacturer’s official website.
- Search for your product by name, service tag, or serial number.
- Head to the dedicated BIOS section and if you see multiple options listed, choose the latest one.
- Check its version or release date.
- Now type “System Information” in the Windows search box to open up the utility.
- Open the System Summary tab and find the BIOS Version/Date.
- Compare the date listed to the one you found before.
If you determine your BIOS version is old, proceed to update it.
Update The BIOS manually
- Download the BIOS latest version that you’ve just found on the website.
It’s usually a file in .exe format.
- Once you run the file, it’ll automatically restart your System, and a page will appear for updating the BIOS.
- Follow the given instructions.
The update process can vary slightly from one PC to the other.
Update The BIOS Using Update Applications
Most motherboard manufacturers have developed their own applications dedicated to updating their BIOS version.
Search for yours and if you find one, download it from the official website.
You might find yours in this list:
- Dell motherboards: Dell Update Utility.
- Asus motherboards: MyASUS BIOS update utility.
- Lenovo motherboards: Lenovo System Update Tool.
- HP motherboards: HP Support Assistant.
10. Calibrate Your Display
Calibrating your display is another method that can help get rid of the screen blurriness issue:
Type “Calibrate Display Color” in the Windows search box and then open the Control Panel section that comes up.
Read the explanation and hit the Next button.
Here, Windows will walk you through a series of instructions for calibrating your display.
It’ll affect the screen color and its contrast and Gamma.
You can set everything to be crisp and sharp.
What If The Screen Is Grainy Or Blurry On A Second Display?
If you’re trying to hook up a second monitor to your system and it looks grainy or blurry, you’re dealing with a common issue.
First, you need to try the fixes we’ve mentioned in the previous section.
You should check the second monitor’s cables, change its advanced scaling settings, DPI scaling settings, and refresh rate, calibrate its display, and finally update Windows, the display drivers, and the BIOS on your system.
If these fixes didn’t solve the issue on the second display, try the following methods:
1. Use The Auto Button
Some monitors have an Auto button on them.
If you can’t find it easily, refer to the monitor manual or search for its model online to gain more information.
If you find the Auto button, push it to run an auto adjustment process and hopefully solve the display issue.
2. Match The Scaling Value
Matching the scaling value on your first and second monitor can effectively solve the unclear display.
Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Display Settings from the drop-down menu.
Select the Display 1 monitor and scroll to the Scale and layout part.
Set the value for Change the size of text, apps, and other items option to 100% (recommended).
Select Display 2 and do the same for it.
3. Change The Resolution For Each Monitor
Your GPU can only display one resolution, and if the two monitors are using different resolutions, it could cause issues for one or both of them.
Match their resolutions to solve the problem:
Right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings.
Select the first Display and scroll down to the Display Resolution section.
Choose the Recommended resolution from the drop-down menu.
Do the same for the second monitor.
If the issue persists, try other resolutions for both monitors until the display looks clear.
How To Fix A Grainy Or Blurry Display On A Particular App?
A blurry screen is an entirely different issue than when a specific app is blurry or grainy.
If that’s the case for you, first change the advanced scaling settings and turn on the “Let Windows try to fix apps, so they’re not blurry” option.
If that didn’t help with the issue, try the following fixes.
Change DPI Scaling Settings For Your App
- Type the name of the affected app in the Windows search box, but don’t open it when it comes up.
- Right-click on the name and select Open file location.
- Right-click on the app logo in the File Explorer window and choose Properties.
- Head to the Compatibility tab and then hit the Change High DPI Settings button.
- Find the Use this setting to fix scaling problems for this program instead of the one in the Settings option and check the box next to it.
- Also, check the box next to the Override high DPI scaling behavior option.
- Click on Ok.
- Hit the Apply and Ok buttons in the Properties window.
- Restart the computer.
Use ClearType Text Tuner
ClearType Text Tuner is a Windows utility that helps eliminate the app’s blurriness and makes the text appearing on your screen look sharper and clearer.
- Type “Adjust ClearType text” in the Windows search box and open the Control Panel app.
- Check the box next to the Turn on ClearType option and hit the Next button.
- Wait for Windows to set your monitor to its default resolution and hit the Next button.
- Once you see two samples of texts on your screen, choose the one that looks best to you and Click Next.
- You should do the previous step around five times.
- Hit the Finish button when it’s over.
Lower Your Screen’s Resolution
Some apps might seem blurry because you’ve set your display resolution higher than what they can handle.
Try lowering the screen resolution and see if that solves the issue.
You can always turn back the resolution status.
- Right-click on the Windows logo and choose Settings from the list.
- Click on System and select the Display option from the left menu bar.
- Find the Display Resolution section and choose a resolution lower than the current one from the drop-down menu.