Vertical and horizontal lines on the best desktop monitors can ruin the immersive effect from your display, which is especially frustrating if you’ve invested in your monitor, like one of the best curved gaming monitors. To find out how to fix annoying vertical lines or horizontal lines on an external monitor, you’ll first want to test the picture to find out what causes these lines on the computer monitor, whether the problem is from the PC, cable box, or another input source, or if the fault is with the monitor, its LCD panel or internal hardware itself. And while on the topic of “vertical” lines, there are vertical monitors that exist to help make certain professions or hobbies more efficient, like coding and streaming.
Search for the Source of the Problem
Before attempting any other troubleshooting, such as fixing black bars on the side of your monitor, the first step toward finding solutions for this desktop monitor problem is to isolate the source of the issue.
Perform a Picture Test
The first option is to test out the image on your favorite computer screen without any peripherals connected. To do this, disconnect all cable connections and use the remote control or the control panel to disconnect Bluetooth and WiFi, if your external monitor is so equipped. If there are no vertical or horizontal lines on the default picture or menu screen, then the problem is likely due to your PC or input device, or to your cable connections. If the lines still appear, then the issue is likely to be with the external monitor itself.
Display Device Issues
If the monitor shows lines when not connected to any cables or input method, the problem is likely with the monitor itself. Image issues such as lines can be caused by damaged internal ribbon cables or the LCD panel itself. If this is the case, the repair process will depend on what the hardware problem is, whether you have a flat or curved computer monitor. If you see light leaking on the edges of your monitor screen, you may have blacklight bleed, which you can learn about in our resource content on what is blacklight bleed.
Input Method Issues
If the lines go away when your external monitor has no input, then you’ll want to look for a connection issue or an issue with your PC or laptop’s graphics drivers, driver settings, or picture settings. Additionally, you may want to check for any input lag issues with your monitor at this time.
Check all Cables
Make sure all cables are connected securely. A loose connector can cause various picture issues including gray lines, pink lines or green lines. You may want to unplug your monitor from the input device and check the condition of the ports.
You may be able to see if there are any bent or broken pins in the connectors of these input terminals. Double-check the cables if you have two monitors.
If you need more organization in your space, consider the best dual monitor mount. Don’t use a paperclip or other metal object to try and clear out a VGA terminal.
Tip: Don’t use a paperclip or other metal object to try and clear out a VGA terminal
If you have a spare cable that you know works, you can try connecting the external monitor with it and see if the problem goes away.
- A loose connector can cause various picture issues, including gray, pink, and green lines.
- You may need to consult the owners manuals to see what types of repair tools will be needed.
- If in doubt, try connecting a different device and see if the display problems persist.
- Try booting up in safe mode or BIOS, if available; this will often show whether the display issue is a software problem or a hardware problem.
- If the device picture settings are not compatible with the monitor’s native resolution, you may see errors, such as lines on the screen. On a Windows PC, setting a display resolution or refresh rate that is not supported can damage a monitor.
Repair or Replace Damaged Cables and Input Terminals
If you find a damaged part, you can either consult a repair service or professional repair technician, or you might want to fix it yourself using an electronics repair kit. Use caution when removing ports, and always unplug a monitor before working on a repair. You may need to consult the owners manuals to see what types of repair tools will be needed. If the cable is faulty, the solution may be just to buy a replacement cable.
That may be the best path if you need to immediately fix your monitor and can’t spend time researching and repairing the damaged part on your own, like if you use your monitor for work like a monitor for video editing.
Tip: Use caution when removing ports, and always unplug a monitor before working on a repair
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Check Graphics or Video Card
Look for any video or graphics card driver with a yellow exclamation mark or question mark. These common error notifications may mean your laptop or PC graphics drivers are out of date.
Many graphics cards offer a driver updater tool. You can also consider buying a new, updated graphics card.
Run a System Scan
Alternatively, you can run a system scan to discover errors and graphics driver software issues. If there is a problem with your graphics card driver, it may show up on a system scan. Try booting up in safe mode or BIOS, if available; this will often show whether the display issue is a software problem or a hardware problem.
Try changing the screen resolution
A screen resolution adjustment may also help. If the device picture settings are not compatible with the monitor’s native resolution, you may see errors such as lines on the screen. On a Windows PC, setting a display resolution or refresh rate that is not supported can damage a monitor. This is more often a risk with older CRT monitors.
- Related Post: How to Fix Image Retention on Your Computer Monitor
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- As of Q1 2021, the highest-resolution mass-production monitors on sale have a resolution of 7680×4320 pixels.
- Typical lifespan of an external monitor or any backlit LCD screen is around 30,000 to 50,000 hours.
- Average power consumption of a 19” CRT monitor is around 100 W, while that of an equivalent LCD or OLED screen can be as little as 10-20 W.
Explanation of why pulse width modulated backlighting is used, and its side-effects, “Pulse Width Modulation on LCD monitors”, TFT Central. Retrieved June 2012.