Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Troubleshoot Surface screen brightness and display

Having trouble with the display on your Surface? Try these solutions if the display brightness is too dark or too light, or if it flickers, goes black or appears distorted.


Note

If the screen on Surface is black or too distorted or dim to see, connect Surface to an external display and then try these solutions: For info on how to connect your Surface to a second screen, see one of the following:

Solution 1: Check the brightness settings

By default, the brightness of your Surface display screen automatically adjusts based on the surrounding light. You can turn automatic brightness on or off, or manually set the brightness level.

Turn automatic screen brightness on or off

Step 1:  On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, then tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3:  Tap or click Power and sleep, and under Brightness, tap or click to turn automatic brightness On or Off.

Set the brightness level manually

Note
It is not necessary to turn off automatic brightness before adjusting brightness manually.
Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Screen.
Step 3:  Tap and drag, or click and drag to increase or decrease the brightness.

If changing the brightness settings doesn't help, go to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Run the automated troubleshooter

Open the Sensors Troubleshooter. In the File Download dialogue box, tap or click Open, then follow the on-screen instructions.

If the automated troubleshooter doesn't fix the problem, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Check the screen resolution

Here’s how to check the screen resolution:

Step 1:  On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, then tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3:  Tap or click Display, then drag Resolution to 1920 x 1080.

If the screen still doesn't look right, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Check the temperature

Your Surface may be too hot. Try moving your Surface to a cooler location and waiting about 5 minutes.

If moving Surface to a cooler place doesn't fix the problem, try Solution 5.

Solution 5: Restart Surface

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Power, then tap or click Restart.

If restarting Surface doesn't fix the problem, go to Solution 6.

Solution 6: Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates for your Microsoft Surface, including updates to Windows and the touchscreen, may help fix problems with the screen.

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and then click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click Update and recovery.
Step 3:  Tap or click Check now.
Step 4:  If there are updates available, tap or click View details.
Step 5:  Tap or click to select the ones you want to install, then tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed

If installing the latest updates doesn't help, go to Solution 7.

Solution 7: Restore, refresh or reset your Surface

If you're still having audio problems with the screen, try in this order: restore, refresh, or reset your Surface.

  • Restore Surface
    Restoring your Surface is a way to undo recent system changes that may be causing problems. Restoring Surface doesn’t change your personal files, but it might remove recently installed apps and drivers.
  • Note
    Restore is not available for Surface RT or Surface 2.

If restoring Surface doesn't resolve the problem, refresh Surface.

  • Refresh Surface
    Refreshing your Surface reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, apps that came installed on your Surface and those you've installed from the Windows Store. Desktop apps you installed on Surface Pro will be deleted, but you can reinstall them after refreshing Surface.
  • Note
    If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, refresh will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1) and apps that came installed on Surface Pro. Other apps and your settings will be gone. You can reinstall them after the refresh is complete.

If refreshing Surface doesn't resolve the problem, reset Surface.

  • Reset Surface
    Resetting your Surface reinstalls Windows, but removes your personal files, settings, and apps that did not come installed on your Surface. Reset keeps the apps that came installed on your Surface.
  • Note
    If you updated Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, a reset will reinstall Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1). You’ll need to reinstall the Windows 8.1 update.

For detailed how-to info, see:

If your Surface still has a screen brightness problem, your Surface needs service. Request service at the Surface Online Service Center.