Some users have reported difficulties in changing the screen brightness on Windows 10 and Windows 11 after receiving an update or after upgrading from a previous version of Windows. For many, the screen brightness is stuck at its maximum setting, which is not only uncomfortable for the eyes but also detrimental to laptop battery life.
This issue may not critically affect PCs, as brightness can be adjusted from the monitor, but laptop users have reported significant impact on battery life due to their machines constantly operating at full brightness.
If you’re facing this issue, the following methods may help. We’ve identified several potential fixes that have proven effective for others encountering the same problem. Follow the methods below in sequence until you find a solution that resolves your issue.
Method 1: Adjusting the Brightness from Power Options
Often, the issue stems from a common brightness settings bug that can be remedied by tweaking the power options settings. Despite being a long-standing bug since Windows 7, it remains unaddressed by Microsoft.
- Press Windows key + R, type ‘powercfg.cpl“, and hit Enter to open the Power Options menu.
- In the Power Options menu, click on Change plan settings followed by Change advanced power settings.
- In the next window, scroll down to Display, click the ‘+’ icon to expand the menu, then expand the Display brightness menu and adjust the values to your preference.
- Repeat the step above for Dimmed display brightness and ensure that Enable adaptive brightness is turned Off. After configuring the settings, click Apply; your screen brightness should adjust to the selected values.
Method 2: Changing the Brightness Options from the Graphics Properties Menu
Another solution involves adjusting brightness through the Graphics Properties menu—controlled by your graphics card driver and thus varying in appearance based on the driver version.
Note: The following steps are for the Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel. Screens may differ with various graphics drivers.
- Right-click on the desktop and select Graphics Properties.
- Choose Advanced Mode and click OK.
- Expand the Display menu, click on Color Enhancement, and use the Brightness slider to adjust the brightness to your satisfaction.
- Click Apply to save your new brightness setting.
Method 3: Updating the GPU Drivers
In case the aforementioned methods don’t yield results, it’s worth investigating the graphics card drivers. Several users found that uninstalling their GPU drivers fixed the issue permanently.
- Press Windows key + R, type ‘devmgmt.msc‘ and press Enter to open Device Manager.
- In the Device Manager, expand the Display adapters section, right-click on your GPU and select Update Driver.
Note: Laptop users may see two different GPUs under Display Adapters. If so, right-click on the integrated graphics (such as Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000).
- Click “Search automatically for updated driver software” to see if a new version is found. Follow the on-screen instructions to install it, if available.
Note: During this step, Windows will use your internet connection to download the latest driver. Ensure that you have a stable internet connection.
- If a new driver is found and installed, restart your computer and check if you can now adjust the brightness. If the driver search indicates you have the latest version or the new driver doesn’t change the behavior, continue with the steps below.
- Go back to the main screen of Device Manager, right-click on your integrated GPU driver, and choose Update Driver again.
- This time, click on Browse my computer for driver software.
- Select Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Check the box next to Show compatible hardware, select Microsoft Basic Display Adapter, and click Next.
- Once the Basic Display Adapter driver is installed, restart your computer. With the next boot, the problem should no longer persist.
Method 4: Re-enabling Generic PnP Monitor
Some users suggest a specific bug may arise following an automatic graphics driver installation—either during an upgrade process or via Device Manager—leading to the disabling of the Generic PnP Monitor, which hampers brightness adjustment.
- Press Windows key + R, type ‘devmgmt.msc‘, and hit Enter to open Device Manager.
- In Device Manager, expand the Monitors section, right-click on Generic PnP Monitor, and select Enable Device.
- Restart your system and check if you are now able to adjust the screen brightness.
Method 5: Updating the Dedicated GPU Driver
It’s entirely possible that the dedicated GPU is set to handle the graphics operations when the PC is not under a heavy load. Modifications by the user or software installs may have altered the idle mode handling to the dedicated GPU.
- Visit the driver download page for your GPU manufacturer and download the latest driver for your GPU model and Windows version. Utilize this link for ATI GPUs (here) and this one for Nvidia GPUs (here).
- Execute the driver installer and follow the prompts to update your driver, then reboot your system.
- Afterwards, attempt to adjust the screen brightness to test the effectiveness of this method.
Method 6: Changing the Display Type to Discrete in BIOS (Lenovo)
If none of the above methods have resolved your issue, a BIOS setting could be at fault, particularly in Lenovo laptops (notably the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 and older models with the same BIOS).
To fix this manufacturer-specific problem, access your BIOS (by pressing F2 during startup), navigate to the Configuration tab, and change the Graphics Device setting from Switchable Graphics to Discrete Graphics. Save the changes with F10 and then allow the computer to boot.
Method 7: Fixing the Catalyst Bug via Registry Editor (ATI GPUs)
Some users have observed that a known Catalyst bug, particularly version 15.7.1, can cause an inability to adjust screen brightness.
- Press Windows key + R, type ‘regedit‘ and press Enter to launch Registry Editor.
- In Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
- Double-click on MD_EnableBrightnessIf2 and change the Value to 0. Repeat for KMD_EnableBrightnessInterface2.
- Move to:
- As before, modify MD_EnableBrightnessIf2 and KMD_EnableBrightnessInterface2 to have their values set to 0.
- Exit Registry Editor and restart your computer. Upon the next startup, the screen brightness issue should be resolved, and control restored.
Method 8: Adjusting Screen Brightness Using PowerShell
Another approach to resolving the screen brightness issue is via the command line using PowerShell. This method can be useful when graphical user interface options do not work properly.
- Right-click on the Start menu and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) to open PowerShell with administrative privileges.
- Type the following command to view your current brightness level, then press Enter:
Get-WmiObject -Namespace root/WMI -Class WmiMonitorBrightness
- To set a new brightness level, first determine the instance name of your display with this command:
(Get-WmiObject -Namespace root/WMI -Class WmiMonitorBrightnessMethods).InstanceName
- Next, adjust the brightness to your desired level (between 0 and 100) by executing the following command. Make sure to replace ‘InstanceName’ with the actual name obtained from the previous command, and ‘BrightnessLevel’ with the brightness level you want to set. Here’s an example:
(Get-WmiObject -Namespace root/WMI -Class WmiMonitorBrightnessMethods -Filter "InstanceName = 'InstanceName'").WmiSetBrightness(1, 50)
In this example, replace ’50’ with the desired brightness level.
- If the command is successful, your screen brightness should change immediately to the level you have set.
This PowerShell method taps into the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to query and set the brightness of the monitor. However, be aware that this method might not address more deeply rooted problems related to hardware or driver issues. If the screen brightness issue persists, consider contact your laptop’s manufacturer to get this issue resolved.