Saturday, January 27, 2018

Microsoft Surface Screen Flicker Issue - FIXED!!!

I bought my first Microsoft branded laptop back in 2016, it was the Surface Pro 4!
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 provides the flexibility of using the device as a tablet or a laptop.
I was really very happy with my purchase until I started noticing the screen flickering / shaking when the screen brightness was lowered. This was easily reproducible while watching videos during the night time.

Thinking that this was a device specific hardware issue, I got it replaced as the device was still under warranty. Within a week the replacement device arrived. I was confident that the new device will definitely not exhibit the same behaviour, but my confidence was broken when I was easily able to reproduce the issue. A quick Google search revealed that there are many more people complaining regarding the screen flickering issue, not just for the Surface Pro 4 but for the entire Surface line-up.

There is even a long thread with thousands of comments on the Microsoft Community forum, with people demanding for a fix from Microsoft. I was waiting patiently for Microsoft to provide a Windows Update which will fix the issue, but that did not happen even after a year long wait. At this point I decided to sell off my Surface Pro 4 and go for the Apple Macbook Pro 2017. Being a Windows guy I wanted to give the Surface device one last try, this is when I came across a website claiming to have fixed this issue with a simple change of registry values.

Please go through Ste Wright's website to find more details regarding the issue and the fix.

After going through the above article, I was relieved as it suggested that it was NOT a hardware issue but a feature called DPST (Display Power Saving Technology) on the Intel Graphics chipset, which was causing the screen to flicker at low brightness levels (for me the screen used to flicker below 50% brightness level).

After quickly trying the suggested fix, I was pleasantly surprised that it actually worked!

Things that I did to improve the Surface Pro 4 experience for night use.
  1. Change the registry values as suggested in the link above.
  2. Restart the Surface device.
  3. Turn off auto brightness from Display settings (as screen still flickers at very low brightness levels)
  4. Manually reduce the brightness to the desirable level (I was able to set it as low as 13% without experiencing any screen flicker)
  5. Turn on Night light feature (a "blue light filter" that makes your display use warmer colors at night to help you sleep better and reduce eyestrain)
Please note that you may have to re-apply the fix from time to time as Microsoft Software updates can sometimes revert the registry changes.

Hope this will bring some peace of mind to all the frustrated Surface users facing the screen flicker issue, until Microsoft decides to provide a permanent fix through the Windows Update.

1 comment:

  1. That is not #flickergate, that is the Intel adaptive display bug, NOT the same issue.

    You can fix it by downloading the Intel display drivers and turning off DPST.


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