How to easily fix Surface Pro 4 screen dimming problem?

By ivan.diskin | September 26, 2018 |

greater than 10 minutes

We know of a good number of screen problems afflicting the Surface Pro 4, but one is gearing up to be unique—the screen dimming issue, which leaves many people seething with anger. Well, you are not alone. A good number of users have observed that the intensity of light or brightness of their display is constantly changing without any input from them.

The continuous change of brightness is distracting for most users as they struggle to focus on their screen. If your display occasionally brightens or darkens unexpectedly, you will eventually become uncomfortable with viewing things on it.

Why can’t I change brightness on my Surface Pro 4?

If you cannot adjust the brightness for your display, then your PC probably suffers from a bug that causes certain screen issues. Follow these instructions to fix it:

  • Turn on your Surface Pro 4. After Windows boots up and you arrive at your desktop screen, you must detach the keyboard connected to the main body of your PC.
  • Now, you must restart your device. Of course, you have to do this using its touchscreen. Your system will boot up as usual, but this time, after you arrive at your desktop screen, you must bring up the notification center. A swipe from the right on the screen often does the trick.
  • Now locate the option for editing the brightness level. Use your touchscreen to adjust it. Finally, you are free to reconnect the keyboard you removed earlier.

If you could not find the option for adjusting the brightness of your display, then you will do well to verify that no peripheral is currently connected to your PC. Disconnect any external device with a connection to your system. Even those that employ a wireless mode of connection (via Bluetooth, for example) must be cut off.

If you still cannot adjust the brightness of your display even after you carried out the operations above correctly, then a faulty or outdated driver is most likely responsible for your problem. Follow these steps:

  • Right-click on the Windows Start icon, then select Device Manager from the list of programs and options you see. After the program window shows up, you must click on Display adapters to view the drivers under this category.
  • If your computer has a dedicated GPU, then you will see 2 drivers. Otherwise, you will see one. All the same, you must right-click on the Intel HD graphics driver, then select Update driver from the short menu list that pops up.
  • Follow the instructions as they come up to update the selected driver. If everything goes well and you update the required driver to its latest stable or manufacturer-recommended version, you will do well to restart your system. Most times, Windows will ask you to do this, anyway.

After a successful update of the driver, the brightness button will become functional. You can now use it to adjust the brightness of your screen’s display.

If you failed to update your driver this way, then you must check out the third fix. This guide is primarily directed at users who ended up on this page because they want to find how to fix the screen dimming problem on Surface Pro 4, but you are welcome to attempt all the solutions.

How to fix the screen dimming problem on Surface Pro 4 and other display-related issues?

Begin with the first fix on the list; if the operations there are not applicable to you or if the procedure fails to deliver the result you expected, you are free to move on to the next solution. In general, you must continue your journey this way until you stumble on what works for you.

Turn off Adaptive brightness:

Adaptive brightness is a useful functionality that helps users save power. The feature employs an ambient light sensor to detect the amount or intensity of light in your surroundings, and based on the information it obtains, it moves on to adjust your screen brightness.

The setup is practical, but it does not always work neatly. The Adaptive brightness features sometimes struggle to calibrate your screen brightness correctly due to various reasons. Therefore, if your screen is dimming or brightening inconsistently, this functionality might be to blame.

You must do away with the Adaptive brightness feature and see how your screen display fares after your action. Follow these instructions to disable Adaptive brightness:

  • Perform a search by pressing the Windows button on your keyboard (or clicking on the Windows Start icon that is always visible on your desktop screen), then inputting the following keywords into the text box present: Power Options

From the list of results that appears, click on Power Options to continue.

  • Locate the power plan in use on your device. Click on the Change plan settings option. Click on Change advanced power settings. Click on Display to expand its menu.
  • Now, you will see a list of functionalities or features. Locate Enable Adaptive brightness. Click on it to expand its menu. Now you must set the value for both On battery and Plugged in to off.
  • Click on the OK button. Windows will now save the changes you just made. You are free to close the programs you have running. We believe that the brightness of your display should become consistent now since you have disabled the problematic feature.

Disable Intel graphics features:

We believe that some users will continue to struggle with the screen dimming problem even after they disabled the Adaptive brightness feature. If you are one of them, then the fix here is likely to give you the result you want.

Besides Adaptive brightness, we know of another functionality in Windows that can adjust the intensity of your display—Intel’s Display Power Saving Technology or DPST. This one manipulates your screen brightness based on how dark or bright the content being displayed is.

In other words, Adaptive brightness determines what best for you by observing your surroundings while Intel’s Display Power Saving Technology does the same thing by analyzing what is on your screen.

Since we got rid of the issue when it involved Adaptive brightness by turning the feature off, the logical solution to the problem posed by Intel’s Display Power Saving Technology is to disable the functionality too. Unfortunately, turning off DPST is not as easy as it should be; the operations involved are more complicated than what you might expect.

Some older devices provide the options users can take advantage of to disable DPST quickly through the configuration software for Intel drivers. Well, Microsoft Surface Pro devices lack such options. The only way of disabling DPST requires you to carry out advanced operations on the registry.

The registry is a sensitive component on Windows. Generally, we avoid working on it as much as we can. However, if other options are non-existent, then users have no choice but to carry on. A backup of the contents of the registry can only be a good thing in this regards.

Follow these instructions to turn off Intel’s Display Power Saving Technology through operations carried out on the registry:

  • First, you must open the Registry Editor program; Launch the Run app by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard, then following up your action with a tap of the letter R key. After the small program window shows up, you must move to type the following code into text box present: regedit

To execute the inputted code, tap the Enter key or click on the OK button.

  • Once the Registry Editor program window is up and running, you must navigate through the following items: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ ControlSet001 \ Control \ Class \ {4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318} \ 0000
  • At your current location, you should see the FeatureTestControl DWORD, which you must double-click on to edit its variables. Set the DPST bit to 1 to disable the feature in view. If Windows displays 9240 as the value of the registry key, then you must alter its value; input 9250.
  • After you make the correct changes, you must close the Registry Editor app and any other program you have running. Reboot your PC. After your computer comes on, your graphics driver will reconfigure itself by accessing the information in the registry, and given the alterations you made there, DPST will be disabled.

Update your device drivers:

Drivers are in charge of the interactions involving hardware components and the software running on computers. A good number of drivers, for example, work together to make your screen display things as it should.

There is a good chance that the unusual screen dimming or brightening problem you are facing is a consequence of issues affecting your drivers. To make things right, you have to identify which drivers are faulty or malfunctioning and fix them.

Unfortunately, your computer employs far too many drivers, so you will find it incredibly challenging to peruse all of them to detect or isolate the problematic ones. A program capable of carrying all out the required operations on your behalf is your best bet in resolving issues with numerous drivers.

Download and run Auslogics Driver Updater. This superb app will scan your system to identify the problematic drivers, and it will provide you with the options you can take advantage of to update them to their latest manufacturer-recommended versions in no time. You can even go a step further to update every single driver on your computer if you so desire.

A reboot of your PC is required after you finish downloading and installing all the necessary drivers. Windows should prompt with a restart, or it might not. After the reboot, the updated drivers will begin their work, and you might finally stop experiencing issues with your display.

Set the DPI size:

Many screen problems like the one you are struggling with currently are consequences associated with devices using incorrect settings for their display. The DPI size is one of the parameters we are referring to in this case. You must adjust your DPI to resolve issues with your screen.

Here are the instructions you need to go through to change the DPI settings on your Surface Pro 4:

  • Open the Settings app. You can do this by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard then following up this action with a tap of the letter I key. Click on System.
  • You will see a list of options on the left pane from which you must select Display. Click on Custom Scaling. You must edit the variable under Enter a custom scaling size between 100%-500% (not recommended).
  • We advise that you go with one of the following options:
  1. Smaller, which is 100%. This value corresponds to 96 DPI (Pixels/Dots Per Inch)
  2. Medium, which is 125%
  3. Larger, which is 150%
  • Once you have inputted your preference, click on the Apply button. You are free to exit the program window you have running. Make sure you observe the changes that occur as a result of the action you just took to find out if it was worth it.

Download and install Windows updates:

Perhaps, the problem you are facing has come to Microsoft’s attention, and the operating system maker has resolved the issue through patches or bug fixes embedded in a specific Windows update. However, since your system lacks the update, the problem continues to afflict the display of your device.

Fortunately, you can download and install Windows updates manually. Follow these instructions:

  • Open the Settings app. We showed you how to do this earlier in the first step for the previous fix; go back to it if you have forgotten. Once the required program window comes up, you must click on Updates and Security to enter their menu.
  • In your current location, on the right pane, under the Windows Update menu, you should see the Check for updates button. Click on it. Windows will now go through Microsoft’s database to see if there is any update missing on your device.
  1. If your system finds something, you will know about it. You must download and install every available update to ensure that your PC gets all the patches or fixes that work against the problem you are facing.
  2. If you see a message stating that you have all the available updates, then you cannot do much to change your system’s state. Move on to other fixes.

Get rid of the latest Windows update:

Although Windows updates do a lot of good as regards the new features they provide for users or the patches in them that improve security and stability of devices, they are not without fault. Microsoft sometimes releases buggy updates that cause more problems than they solve.

Now, if your Surface Pro 4 screen dimming problem came to be not long after your computer downloaded and installed some Windows updates, then you might be surprised to find out what fix is needed in your case. You must get rid of the recently installed update no matter how much good you have associated with its presence.

Here are the steps you need to follow to remove a recently installed update on Windows 10:

  • Open the Settings app. Check out the first step in the fourth fix if you are in doubt about how to do this. Once the required program window shows up, click on Update and Security. Click on Windows Update.
  • Click on Update History to continue. Click on Uninstall updates. Now Windows will display all the updates currently installed on your computer. Go through them and locate the update you installed recently.
  • Once you have found the latest update that probably caused the problem, you must right-click on it and select Uninstall from the short menu list that appears. Windows will now move to delete the files or data for the selected update.
  • Finally, you must restart your system because the changes that occurred become effective only after a reboot of Windows. If everything went well, your computer will end in a state where the bugs that caused your headache do not exist.

Alter your screen refresh rate:

If at this point you are still struggling with the screen dimming issue on your Surface Pro 4, then you might as well try out a new refresh rate. The changes resulting from this operation might do enough to get rid of the problem in view. The procedure is relatively harmless, so you have nothing to fear or lose.

Follow these instructions to change the refresh rate for thea display of your Surface Pro 4:

  • Open the Settings app once more. We believe you have gotten used to doing this by now. This time, after the program window shows up, you must click on System.
  • From the list of items you see on the left pane, click on Display. Click on Display Adapter Properties. The Properties window should come up now. There, you must navigate to the Monitor tab.
  • Change the refresh rate to 60Hz. If this value has been selected already, then you must go with another refresh rate. You are good to go now.

Surely by now, given all the solutions or fixes provided in this guide, you must have finally found a way to resolve the screen dimming problem affecting your Surface Pro 4.

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