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How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

If you are having a problem adjusting the brightness or contrast of your laptop display, remember that every laptop model (as well as every operating system) differs slightly. On a laptop computer, there are a few standard ways to change the brightness and contrast.

How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

Adjusting brightness using your laptop's keys


Using specific keys on the keyboard, you can change the display's brightness on the majority of laptops. Normal key markings include the brightness symbol (Unicode brightness symbol).

The brightness keys frequently serve as function keys that, when pushed while the Fn key is being held down, carry out a certain action.

Normally, the Fn key is placed to the left of the spacebar. The brightness function keys may be found on the arrow keys or at the top of your keyboard.

For instance, to change the screen's brightness on the Dell XPS laptop keyboard, hold down the Fn key and press either F11 or F12.

How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

Other computers include keys solely for controlling brightness. Press the brightness keys instead of the Fn key on the HP Chromebook's keyboard.


You must hit one of the two adjustment keys on a Chromebook to change the brightness. The large gear increases brightness while the little gear decreases it.

Adjusting brightness in the operating system

Additionally, your operating system's software controls can be used to change the brightness of your screen:

  • On Windows 10
  • On Windows 8
  • On Windows 7
  • On Apple macOS
  • On Linux

Windows 10

There are various options for changing the display brightness in Windows 10:

  • Using the battery symbol on the taskbar
  • Using the Windows Mobility Center
  • Using the Control Panel

Using the battery symbol on the taskbar

  1. Choose the battery icon on your taskbar.
  2. In the power status window, click the brightness tile. Your brightness will be boosted by 25% each time you click the tile.
    How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

Using the Windows Mobility Center

  1. Right-clicking the Start menu icon or using the Windows key + X will bring up the Power User Tasks Menu.
  2. Secondly, pick Mobility Center (or press B).
  3. Adjust the Mobility Center's brightness slider.
    How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

Using the Control Panel

  1. First, access the Control Panel.
  2. Select Frequently Used Mobility Settings by clicking.
    How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop
  3. Slide the brightness slider in the Mobility Center panel.

Adjusting brightness in Windows 8

  1. First, access the Charms bar.
  2. Click on the Settings charm.
  3. Click on the brightness icon.
  4. You can use the up and down arrow buttons on your keyboard or your mouse to drag the slider up and down.

Adjusting brightness in Windows 7

  1. Firstly, Access the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click on Power Options.
  4. Toggle the brightness slider at the window's bottom using your mouse.

Adjusting brightness in macOS

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple Menu.
  2. Choose Displays.
  3. To change brightness, use the brightness slider. Check the box next to Automatically adjust the brightness if you want your brightness to adjust itself based on the ambient light around your computer.

Adjusting brightness in Linux

In the settings panel of several Linux window managers, you can adjust the brightness. For instance, using the Unity window manager on Ubuntu systems

  1. Choose the icon at the right of the menu bar.
  2. Choose System Settings.
  3. Choose Brightness & Lock.
  4. Adjust the brightness slider.

Xbacklight is a handy command-line programme that you can use if your laptop has Intel or NVidia graphics. You may install it using the majority of package managers, for instance, on Debian or Ubuntu systems:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xbacklight

To turn on xbacklight, use the option -set percentage, where a percentage is a figure between 0 and 100. As an illustration, to reduce brightness to half:

xbacklight -set 50

Full brightness setting:

xbacklight -set 100

A percentage can also be used to change the brightness. To increase the brightness by 20%:

xbacklight -inc 20

Consult the manual for a complete list of options:

man xbacklight

Adjusting contrast

The majority of laptops lack hardware contrast adjustments, but you may set up your operating system to use a high-contrast display option.

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • macOS
  • Linux

Adjusting contrast in Windows 10

  1. Press the Print Screen key while holding down the Shift and Alt keys on the left side of the keyboard.
  2. When prompted to enable High Contrast mode, select Yes.
    How to Adjust the Brightness or Contrast on a Laptop

To dismiss the High Contrast mode and return to the default contrast setting, repeat step 1.

If the High Contrast prompt doesn't appear after entering the key combination, you can enable it under the Ease of Access menu by doing the following:

  • Access the Control Panel.
  • Click Ease of Access.
  • Pick Ease of Access Center.
  • Choose to Make the computer easier to see.
  • Verify whether High Contrast is on or off.
  • Click OK.

Adjusting contrast in Windows 8

  1. Open the Charms bar.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose Ease of Access.
  4. Toggle the High Contrast mode on or off by clicking the button under High Contrast.

Adjusting contrast in Windows 7

  1. Access the Control Panel.
  2. In the search bar, type the window colour.
  3. Choose Change window colour and metrics.
  4. From the selection of basic and high-contrast themes, pick a theme with a lot of contrast.

Adjusting contrast in macOS

  1. From the Apple Menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Choose Accessibility.
  3. Use the Display contrast slider to change your display's contrast by checking the Increase Contrast option.

Adjusting contrast in Linux

You may change the contrast of your screens using command line utilities like xcalib and xgamma. These enable you to fine-tune any preset contrast level decreases on your screen.

The majority of window managers provide a high-contrast theme to increase contrast over the settings and make your screen easier to see. Take the following actions while using Gnome-based window managers, like Ubuntu Unity:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Use the gnome-control-center command to open the command centre window.
  3. Select Universal Access.
  4. Activate High Contrast

Changing the brightness of the screen in your Power Options

Your laptop's brightness should immediately remember the new settings after being adjusted. The Power Options menu settings are probably overriding the brightness settings if they are not kept after a machine restart. If so, you must establish a customized power plan, which you may do by going to the Power Options tool in the Control Panel.

Driver issues

If the key combination approach does not work and you have adjusted Power Options appropriately, your computer most likely has a video driver issue. Usually, after updating the video drivers, driver problems arise. Drivers for monitors may contribute to this issue. Reinstalling the monitor will take care of any potential monitor-related problems.

  1. Open the Windows Device Manager
  2. To expand the list, click the + or arrow next to Monitors.
  3. Select any identified monitors from the Monitors section and hit the Delete key to get rid of them from the computer.
  4. After the displays have been taken out of Device Manager, click Scan for Hardware Changes under Action to allow Windows to re-identify the monitor and install the necessary drivers.

Finally, we advise obtaining the most recent video drivers straight from the maker of the visual card. If the problem was caused by updating the drivers, try reinstalling an earlier version of the video drivers to see if that resolves it.

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