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How to fix a Dell Inspiron laptop screen that flickers or shows distorted, shrunken, or stretched images (easy steps)

Display issues in computers are either due to a software glitch or hardware damage. Sometimes you will notice your computer screen flickering a bit when opening a broken or corrupted photo or video file. The same thing can happen when you open a file with an image quality/resolution that is way too high that the computer screen couldn’t render, or when the file type is not supported by the current OS. But in the case of a Dell Inspiron laptop, display issues like distorted, shrunken or stretched images are most likely software-related unless there were previous instances when the laptop was dropped or when the screen got wet. If any of these symptoms started to occur after any of the said instances, then most likely these are symptoms of physical or liquid damage. Unfortunately for hardware-related problems, a technician aid would already be needed. So you’ll have to consider setting up for a tech service.

A faulty update can also trigger any of these screen problems to occur after the update installation. Just like what happens to those who have gone for an OS upgrade on a Dell Inspiron laptop from Windows 8 to a later version. Some have it that the screen color turns into black and white along with distortion issues. If this happens to you as well after installing a new update to your laptop’s operating system, then the trigger is on the new update. It could be a bug that’s affecting the display functions.

Below is a rundown of possible solutions and workarounds you can refer to and try if ever you wish to troubleshoot a pertinent issue on your Dell Inspiron laptop display. These are standard procedures that have worked wonders to many people who have dealt with various screen issues on their Dell laptop so it would be worth a shot.

Now, before we proceed, if you found this post while finding a solution to a different problem, then visit our Dell Inspiron troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this machine. If you can’t find something useful, then fill up our computer issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

Reboot your laptop

If this is the first time you encounter a display problem on your Dell Inspiron, you can rule out the possibility of minor glitches causing the screen to flicker, shrink, or show distorted images by performing a restart.

If you’re using Windows OS, you can go for the standard restart procedure through the Start menu then click on Restart. But if your screen is somehow freezing or not clear that you cannot see the display items, you can just do the alternative reboot by doing a long press on the Power button until the laptop powers off. Remove or unplug the A/C adapter from the power source for about 30 seconds and then plug it back in. Press the Power button on your laptop until it powers on. The process is also referred to as forced reboot or power cycle. It gives your computer a fresh start as it eliminates random glitches and rectifies corrupted data.

Adjust the screen brightness and display resolution

Dell computers with high resolution displays are optimized for specific resolutions. That’s why if you use display resolutions that are different than these optimal settings, visual distortions on the screen occur. Setting the screen to a lower resolution can also result to stretched and slightly fuzzy images. That being said, try to change the screen resolution to a certain value then see what happens.

But given that the resolution settings vary from system to system, make sure that you have determine what type of LCD screen your laptop has before making necessary adjustments to your display resolution. You can check this information on Dell Support website.

Adjusting the screen brightness might also help. To adjust the screen brightness on your Dell Inspiron laptop, press and hold the Fn key and then repeatedly press the Arrow Up key to increase the brightness. To decrease the screen brightness, hold the Fn key and repeatedly press the Arrow Down key. See if your laptop screen is still showing some problems with a brighter or dimmer display.

Verify and ensure that the BIOS and Video Drivers are installed

If the problem persists after adjusting the resolution, screen brightness or font size, the problem might be on the video card or driver. You can refer to the Dell Website to check which drivers are necessary and compatible with your Dell Inspiron laptop. Download the required drivers if needed.

Here’s how to check which video card is installed on your Dell Inspiron laptop:

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Click on the Performance and Maintenance link.
  4. Click the System icon near the bottom of the Performance and Maintenance window.
  5. Click the Hardware tab in the System Properties window.
  6. When the Hardware tab is selected, click the Device Manager button.
  7. You can now update device drivers, and view the system resources that are used by a particular device using the Device Manager.
  8. To expand Display Adapters, click the Plus (+) sign.
  9. Double-click the video adapter driver to view information about the video card.

You may contact Dell Support for further assistance in updating the video card or video driver on your Dell Inspiron laptop.

Connect your Dell Inspiron laptop to an external monitor

To determine whether the problem is on a faulty display on your laptop, you can try to connect it to an external monitor and see if the display problem occurs on the other monitor or not.

Your Dell laptop has a graphics card adapter port built directly into the motherboard. This port can be used to connect your laptop to an external device. To make it work, verify and ensure that the correct type of cable for the port on your laptop is used. Once the external monitor is connected, press the two keys on your laptop used to toggle between monitors. Here’s how it’s actually done:

  1. Check your laptop if it has an S-Video port, VGA port or DVI port then check the ports on the back of the external monitor that you want to connect and find out which type of port it uses.
  2. Secure the corresponding cable/connector. Then connect one end of the cable to the port on your Dell laptop and the other end on the external monitor.
  3. Press the FN and F8 keys simultaneously to switch the display to the external monitor. To show your computer display on the external monitor and the laptop’s LCD screen at the same time, press the keys together a second time.
  4. Press the FN and F8 keys a third time to go back to showing the images only on your Dell laptop’s LCD screen.

In case you’ve changed the keyboard combination or the FN and F8 key combos no longer work, you can head over to the Start menu-> Control Panel-> Personalization-> Display Options-> then select Identify Monitors to find the external monitor. Then click the dropdown menu and select the external monitor to switch the display.

If the problem doesn’t occur on the external monitor, then it might be an issue with your laptop’s monitor. To find out the real issue, you’ll have to take your laptop to a service center and have it diagnosed by a technician. Otherwise, contact Dell Support for other options and more help.

Connect with us

We understand that for many computer users, troubleshooting is really difficult that’s why we’re here to help you find a solution…for free. All we need is information about your computer and the problem. Just fill up our Computer issues questionnaire here and give us the information we need. Also include your own observation on how and when the problem started or what you were doing when the problem emerged. We will help you find a solution to fix your problem or advise you what to do.

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