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How to Fix a Stuck Pixel on an LCD Monitor

pixels-on-monitor

Have you ever noticed that a pixel – a little dot on your computer’s LCD monitor – is staying a single color all of the time? You have a stuck pixel. Luckily, stuck pixels aren’t always permanent.

Stuck and dead pixels are hardware problems. They’re often caused by manufacturing flaws – pixels aren’t supposed to get stuck or die over time.

Image Credit: Alexi Kostibas on Flickr

Stuck vs. Dead Pixels

Stuck pixels are different from dead pixels. A stuck pixel is a single color – red, green, or blue – all of the time. A dead pixel is black instead.

dead-pixel

While it’s often possible to “unstick” a stuck pixel, it’s much less likely that a dead pixel will be fixed. While a dead pixel may simply be stuck at black, it’s possible that the pixel isn’t receiving power at all.

A faulty pixel displaying the color white all of the time is known as a “hot pixel.”

Image Credit: Brandon Shigeta on Flickr

Locating Stuck Pixels

Do you have any dead pixels? It can be hard to tell. The easiest way to notice is by making the screen a single color. To easily do so, use the Dead Pixels Test website – click the links on the page to open a new browser window with the color and press F11 to make it take up your whole screen. Try several of the links to ensure you notice the pixel, no matter what color it’s stuck at.

Of course, a speck on your screen may in fact be a piece of dirt or dust – run your finger over it (gently!) to make sure. if it doesn’t move, that’s a stuck (or dead) pixel.

stuck-pixels

Image Credit: ~dgies on Flickr

Fixing a Stuck Pixel

So you’ve got a stuck pixel – what now? There are some purported ways to fix a stuck pixel, although there’s nothing definitive. This is the computer monitor equivalent of banging on the side of your television (no, don’t hit your computer monitor!). Whether any of these methods will work depends on what exactly is wrong with the pixel, so there are no guarantees.

  • Wait. Some stuck pixels will unstick themselves after a period of time – this can take hours, days, weeks, or even years.
  • Use software. Yes, this is a hardware problem – so how will software fix it? There are software programs that rapidly change colors, cycling through a variety of colors on your screen. If a color-cycling window is placed in the area of the stuck pixel, the program is constantly asking the stuck pixel to change colors. Some people have reported this can help unstick a stuck pixel.

Try UndeadPixel (UDPixel) if you’re looking for a program that does this. It has a built-in stuck pixel locator that cycles colors on your screen. Its main tool will give you a little flashing dot that you can drag and drop anywhere on your screen – drag it over the dead pixel and let it run for at least several hours.

image

  • Press on the pixel. Some people report that pressing and rubbing on the pixel can help reset it. If you’re pressing and rubbing, try using something that won’t damage your screen, like a microfiber cloth – and don’t press too hard! Some people also report that tapping on the screen with a blunt, narrow object like an eraser nub or the cap of a sharpie (it may be a good idea to wrap it in something like a microfiber cloth, too) can help. Again, be careful – don’t apply too much pressure or use anything sharp; you could easily damage your monitor and end up wishing your only problem was a stuck pixel.

Warranty Considerations

Unfortunately, a single faulty pixel may not be enough to get service under warranty – even if you’ve just recently purchased your computer. Different manufacturers have different policies for dealing with stuck or dead pixels. Some manufacturers will replace a monitor that has even a single faulty pixel, while most manufacturers will require a minimum number of faulty pixels before offering warranty service.

You may need to have at least five stuck pixels on your screen before your manufacturer will replace it under warranty. For more details, consult the warranty information that came with your laptop or computer monitor or contact the manufacturer.


Have you ever dealt with a stuck pixel? If so, did any of these tricks actually help fix it?

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 12/11/12

Comments (21)

  1. Bernard

    None of these worked for me. However, from this article I learnt that the problem I had was a hot pixel as it was white. Sold the monitor now so problem solved (for me anyway).

  2. Don Flood

    I have had a stuck greenish pixel on the refurbished monitor which I bought four years ago. Taking a soft cloth and rubbing the spot where the pixel is located sometimes does the trick, otherwise, rubbing different parts of the screen sometimes also works. The stuck pixel will sometimes disappear for a few hours to a few weeks but it always comes back, eventually. However, I have things down to a “fine art,” and so I have always been able to get rid of it. It’s kind of like that pimple that just won’t go away! Fortunately, age has largely relived me of that problem.

  3. DW

    I am in the computer business and have ran across a number of “stuck” pixles. I have also been able to un-stick all of them by using a microfiber cloth wrapped on the end of my finger and with a circular motion, gently rubbing the affected area. When I first ran into this many years ago I thought it was a joke but after performing this operation and seeing that it works I can now see how and why it does. I saved a friends new 27″ Samsung from this with 5 stuck pixles. He told me that he had to have 7 or more for an RMA or exchange. We did this over the phone and he was indeed amazed!

  4. Michael

    My problem is with a laptop. When plugged into the tv, it works fine, but as stand the screen is all messed up HELP, what do I do?

  5. spike

    @Michael- All messed up in what way? If there are lots of stuck or dead pixels, you probably need to replace your screen; check to see if it is under warranty, first.

  6. clamo

    all this is, is a myth. as you can’t tell what is what. all you can do is cycle the colors and have a look to see how many there are bad and if enough *and also taking a guess on how many are bad*, you can return the monitor for exchange/repair/refund.
    as far as fixing them its not always possible.

    @DW: I have done that before to and it don’t work for all screens.

    @micheal: by plunging you laptop in to your tv the tv will not look the same as the laptop monitor cause the graphic card is NOT the issue, its the laptop’s screen. take your laptop back for a exchange or refund or have it serviced.

  7. ned11wils

    Rubbing with cloth has worked for me in the past although I discovered this accidently and did not have the good grace to be using microfiber. Moving a magnet near the affected screen area can fix it but is dangerous because if overdone you are left with a big color blotch that may not go away (I had some discarded stuff in the tech shop to play with). Most recently the brute force method worked for me on my old IBM T42- I dropped it (for about the twentieth time). On this occasion it landed from about one foot onto a stainless steel airport security counter. Next time I started my comuter the screen was fixed. Love that T42.

  8. Tammy

    How about a multi-colored vertical line on laptop screen? Could the UDPixel program possibly fix this?

  9. Matt T.

    Any idea how to fix these on an LCD TV?

  10. salmon

    I have a line of stuck blue pixels which stay a bright blue, unless the thing on the screen is white, then they do white perfectly but no other colour? Can that program help with this sort of thing or?

  11. williambaugh

    on subject but off topic.
    what do you all use for cleaning your laptop screens ??
    I have seen a few different kinds of cleaner, but am not willing to mess up my monitor.

    william

  12. John

    I had a green stuck pixel for over a year. Thought it was incurable. After reading your article I rubbed the screen, at the location of the pixel, with the back (not the end) of my fingernail and it is miraculously cured!

  13. TechGeek01

    I think I might have one on my monitor now, actually so we’ll see if these tricks work!

  14. Steve

    @Williambaugh: I suggest a lint free cloth dampened SLIGHTLY with some distilled water. DO NOT use any commercial window cleaners at all!

  15. ned11wils

    For cleaning screens I have used simple isopropyl alcohol for years. It has never etched the surface and to my knowledge is perfectly safe. If you are inclined to eat while working the grease spots that inevetibly end up on the screen are not soluble in water. This is on topic. It is likely that one’s attention will be directed to that bad pixel while cleaning his screen.

  16. bedlamb

    @Michael
    “My problem is with a laptop. When plugged into the tv, it works fine, but as stand the screen is all messed up HELP, what do I do?”

    If the screen looks fine on your tv, but not on the laptop, the laptop might have a bad screen or driver, but more likely, changing screens just changed the resolution. Change it back, in windows, like this:

    1. Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, clicking Personalization, and then clicking Display Settings.

    2. Under Resolution, move the slider to the resolution you want, and then click Apply.

    If you’re using a different OS (linux, mac, etc), Google, How to change screen resolution.

  17. scott

    1.Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    2.Click Appearance and Themes, and then click Display.
    3.On the Settings tab, click Identify to display a large number on each of your monitors. This shows which monitor corresponds with each icon.
    4.Click the monitor icons and drag them to positions that represent how you want to move items from one monitor to another, and then click OK or Apply to view changes
    The icon positions determine how you move items from one monitor to another. For example, if you are using two monitors and you want to move items from one monitor to the other by dragging left and right, place the icons side by side. To move items between monitors by dragging up and down, place the icons one above the other. The icon positions do not have to correspond to the physical positions of the monitors. You can place the icons one above the other even though your monitors are side by side. HOW TO- Change Primary Monitor 1.On the Settings tab of the Display Properties dialog box, click the monitor icon that represents the monitor you want to designate as the primary monitor.
    2.Click to select the Use this device as the primary monitor check box. Note that this check box is unavailable when you select the monitor icon that is currently set as your primary monitor. BUT you can also display two monitors with the same display on them both (View Same Desktop in Multiple Monitors) 1.On the Settings tab of the Display Properties dialog box, click the monitor icon that represents the monitor you want to use in addition to your primary monitor.
    2.Click to select the Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor check box. After you enable this feature, you can drag items across your screen onto alternate monitors. Or, you can resize a window to stretch it across more than one monitor.. also you can use DUALVIEW. —On many portable computers and some desktop computers (those with two video ports on one video card), you can expand your display to a second monitor by using Dualview. Dualview is very similar to the multiple monitor feature, with the exception that you cannot select the primary display. On a portable computer, the primary monitor is always the LCD display screen. On a desktop computer, it is the monitor that is attached to the first video out port. Once you attach the second monitor and turn on your computer, use the Display tool in Control Panel to configure your settings, just as you do with multiple monitors. You can use Dualview with docked or undocked portable computers. A REALLY SIMPLE WAY TO GET TO THE RESOLUTION SETTINGS IS TO RIGHT CLICK AN EMPTY SPOT ON THE DESKTOP, AND THEN CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR PROBLEM IS IN THE REFRESH RATE, CHANGE YOUR REFRESH RATE TO 70 OR 72 IF THE OPTION IS AVAILABLE, ALSO YOUR SCREEN RESOLUTION SHOULD BE AT DEFAULT SETTING WHILE IN LAPTOP VIEW IN A 15 INCH MONITOR WIDE SCREEN AND THS SETTING IS ALWAYS CALLED RECOMMENDED IN YOUR SETTINGS FOR YOUR PARTICULAR LAPTOP. YOU WILL SEE SETTINGS AND THEN A RECOMENDED SETTING USE THE RECOMENDED SETTING, HOPE THIS HELPED.

  18. bobro

    what about anomolys caused by Graphics cards… these should of been addressed… had a friend who used to have a wavy arc of lil coloured lines always in the same place on his screen, (right through the middle)
    turned out the GPU chip had pulled away from the Mobo..
    might of been worth mentioning sometimes things are coloured in wrong (mostly games i have seen) because of bad graphics drivers.

  19. Bibblode

    @bobro, That is not relevant to address in this article because this article deals strictly with hardware defects in computer monitors and not defects in motherboards or graphics cards.

  20. TechnoGeek

    Folding@Home keeps making me think I have a stuck white pixel — a corner of the tray icon’s right-click menu will ‘stick’ on the screen in some cases, and it shows above everything except the mouse. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen it and immediately tried unsticking it, when all it needed was a few more right-clicks on the menu until it finally went away.

  21. Mark

    I have a white, always-present, hot pixel “area” on a Samsung NP700Z5B-S01UB running Windows 7 . It looks like a white dot about the size of a pin-head, but has a comet-like blurry tail that runs NW from the hot-pixel by about an eigth of an inch. If I overlay a dark area of text or a picture over this white area it gets hard to see the hot-pixel, but it’s still present. When I try to screen capture the area using HyperSnap 7 it doesn’t show up at all, regardless of the overlayed (or not) added information on the screen. Somehow this must realate to what is actually happening with these pixels. Anyone have added insight? Thanks! M-

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