Fix: Windows 10 Brightness Won’t Change

Some users are reporting being unable to modify the screen brightness on Windows 10 after applying an update or after upgrading from an older Windows version. Most users report that the screen brightness seems to always remain on max, regardless of the power plan.

This issue might not severely affect the functionality of a PC (since the brightness can also be adjusted from the monitor), but laptop users report that their battery lifespan is severely affected by the fact that their machine is constantly running with the maximum brightness.

If you’re struggling with this issue, the following methods will help. We have managed to identify a number of potential fixes that have been effective for other users encountering the same situation. Follow the methods below in order until you discover a fix that manages to resolve your issue.

Method 1: Adjusting the brightness from Power Options

Most of the time, the issue is the result of a classic case of brightness settings bug that can be resolved by tweaking some power options settings. Although this bug is as old as Windows 7, Microsoft has failed to address it as of now.

Note: This particular method can also be applied to Windows 7 and Windows 8 to fix the brightness issue.

Here’s a quick guide to fixing the brightness issue via Power options:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open a Run box. Then, type “powercfg.cpl” and hit Enter to open the Power Options menu.
  2. In the Power Options menu, click on Change plan settings, then click on Change advanced power settings.
  3. In the next window, scroll down to Display and hit the “+” icon to expand the drop-down menu. Next, expand the Display brightness menu and manually adjust the values to your liking.
  4. Repeat the procedure explained at step 3 with the Dimmed display brightness, then make sure Enable adaptive brightness is turned Off. Once all settings are configured to your liking, hit the Apply button and the screen brightness should be adjusted to the values that you previously set.

If, for some reason, this method didn’t work or wasn’t applicable, move down to Method 2.

Method 2: Changing the brightness options from the Graphics Properties menu

Another popular resolve for the brightness issue is to adjust the brightness via the Graphics Properties menu. Keep in mind that this menu is managed by your Graphics card driver and might look a little different depending on what version you have.

Here’s a quick guide to changing the brightness from the Graphics properties menu:

Note: The following steps were done through Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel. Depending on which drivers you use, the following screens might look different.

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and choose Graphics Properties.
  2. At the next prompt, choose Advanced Mode and hit the Ok button.
  3. Next, expand the Display menu and click on Color Enhancement. Then, use the Brightness slider from the right-hand side to adjust the brightness until you’re satisfied with the result.
  4. Finally, hit Apply to save your new brightness setting.

If this method wasn’t helpful, move down to Method 3.

Method 3: Updating the GPU drivers

If the first two methods haven’t produced a result, the following steps just might. Some users have reported figuring out that the issue was related to their graphics card drivers. Most of them managed to resolve the issue for good by uninstalling their GPU drivers.

Follow the guide down below for a step-by-step guide to updating your GPU drivers in order to resolve the brightness issue on Windows 10:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run command. Type “devmgmt.msc” and hit Enter to open Device Manager.
  2. In Device Manager, expand the drop-down menu associated with Display adapters, right-click on your GPU and choose Update Driver (Update Driver Software).
    Note: Keep in mind that if you’re encountering the issue on a laptop, you’ll likely see two different GPUs under Display Adapters. If that’s the case, right-click on the integrated graphics (in my case it’s Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000).
  3. At the next window, click on Search automatically for updated driver software and see whether the wizard manages to find a new version. If it does, follow the on-screen prompts to install it.
    Note: During this step, Windows is supposed to use your Internet connection to download the latest driver available. Ensure that you have a stable internet connection.
  4. If Windows manages to find, download and install a new driver version for your integrated GPU card, reboot your computer and see if you’re able to adjust the brightness. In the event that the driver search determines that you have the latest driver already installed or the new driver is producing the same behavior, continue with the other steps below.
  5. Return to the main screen of Device Manager, right-click on your integrated GPU driver and choose Update drive (Update Driver Software) again.
  6. This time, instead of choosing the first option, click on Browse my computer for driver software.
  7. At the next window, click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
  8. Next, check the box next to Show compatible hardware, select Microsoft Basic Display Adapter and hit the Next button.
  9. Once the Basic Display Adapter driver is installed, restart your computer once again. Once your computer boots back up, your issue should be resolved.

If you’re still dealing with the issue, move down to Method 4.

Method 4: Re-enabling Generic PnP Monitor

As some users have reported, there seems to be a Windows 10 specific bug that sometimes occurs right after the graphics driver gets installed automatically – either during the upgrading processor via Device Manager.

As it turns out, something might go wrong which will disable the Generic PnP Monitor (which will prevent the user from adjusting the screen brightness.

If this is the source of your issue, re-enabling the Generic PnP Monitor will promptly resolve the issue. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to pop open a Run box. Type “devmgmt.msc” and hit Enter to open Device Manager.
  2. In Device Manager, expand the drop-down menu of Monitors, right-click on PnP Monitor and choose Enable Device.
  3. Reboot your system once again and see if the issue has been resolved and you’re able to adjust the screen brightness.

If you’re still struggling with the issue, move down to the method below.

Method 5: Updating the dedicated GPU driver

If all of the above methods have proven to be a bust, you should turn your attention towards your dedicated graphics card (if you have one).

It’s entirely possible that your dedicated GPU is configured to handle the graphics operations while your PC is not doing stressful activities. Even if the idle mode is normally handled by the integrated GPU solution, a user modification or certain software installations might have forced the dedicated GPU handling the idle mode.

In this case, the solution would be to update the dedicated GPU driver and afterward make sure that the Generic PnP Monitor was not disabled during the installation process. Here’s a quick guide through the whole thing:

  1. Visit the download page associated with your GPU manufacturer and download the latest driver version according to your GPU model and Windows version. Use this link (here) for ATI and this one (here) for Nvidia.
  2. Open the driver installer and follow the on-screen prompts to update your driver, then reboot your system once again.
  3. Once your computer boots back up, let’s make sure that the Generic PnP Monitor has not been disabled during the installation process. To do this, open a Run box (Windows key + R), type “devmgmt.msc” and hit Enter to open Device Manager. Then, expand the drop-down menu of Monitors and make sure that Generic PnP Monitor is enabled. If it isn’t, right-click on it and choose Enable device.
  4. Finally, see whether this method was effective by trying to adjust the screen brightness. If it still fails, move over to the method below.

Method 6: Changing the Display type to Discrete in Bios (Lenovo)

If you’ve burned through every method above without a result, your issue might be caused by a BIOS setting. Keep in mind that this issue is only reported to occur on Lenovo laptops (particularly on Lenovo Thinkpad T400 and older models using the same BIOS versions).

To fix this manufacturer-specific issue, access your BIOS (by pressing F2 during the initial boot), go to the Configuration tab and change the Graphics Device type from Switchable Graphics to Discrete Graphic. Finally, hit F10 to save your changes and allow your computer to boot back up.

If this method didn’t work or wasn’t applicable, move to the final method below.

Method 7: Fixing Catalyst bug via Registry Editor (ATI GPUs)

As some users have pointed out, the screen brightness issue might also be triggered by a known Catalyst bug (particularly with version 15.7.1). Whenever this bug occurs, users are prevented from controlling the brightness.

If you’re using an ATI graphics card and you  have Catalyst installed, follow the steps below and see if they manage to resolve your issue:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a run command. Type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
  2. In Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ ControlSet001 \ Control\Class \ {4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318} \ 0000
  3. Double click on MD_EnableBrightnesslf2 and set the Value to 0. Then, repeat the same procedure with KMD_EnableBrightnessInterface2.
  4. Next, navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Class \{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318} \ 0001
  5. Same deal as before, double-click MD_EnableBrightnesslf2 and KMD_EnableBrightnessInterface2 to set their valuses to 0.
  6. Close Registry Editor and reboot your computer. After the next startup is finished, the screen brightness issue should be resolved and you should be able to control it.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Windows 10 Brightness Won’t Change

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