Monitor issues can be really frustrating, especially since the symptoms you experience can vary greatly. For example, you might have a monitor whose picture glitches, one whose content is not crisp, one with automatic resizing issues, or something else altogether. If you are experiencing monitor issues, replacement should be the last resort as it is the costliest fix.
This post discusses three things that may be causing your monitor issues and what you can do to fix them before resorting to monitor replacement.
3 Things that May be Causing Your Monitor Issues
These steps are meant to be followed in order, but if you suspect something specific, feel free to jump to that section. This post discusses three issues you may be suffering from, including:
A loose cable
You may be surprised how often a cable comes loose. Monitor cables originally started out with screws on each side that were tightened to lock them into the port so they would not come loose. However, even then, if the screws were not tightened when connected they could still come loose.
Cables can come loose for many reasons, including being moved frequently. Additionally, some cables are better at locking into their ports than others. For example, a DisplayPort cable typically requires the user to squeeze the tab on the end before it will slide free of the port. On the other hand, HDMI cables do not have this feature.
So the first thing to check if you have monitor problems is verify the cable is secure on both ends. Be sure to check the connection into the monitor AND the computer. If possible, remove the cable and plug it back in. If you do remove the cable, be careful to plug it into the correct port and be sure to secure it all the way.
A faulty cable
Another thing that can happen is the cable can go bad. This is especially possible if anything was spilled on the cable or if it was ever pinched at too tight of an angle. This commonly happens when the back of a computer tower is pressed close to a wall to keep it out of the way. Unfortunately, this forces all the cables plugged into the back of the device to take sharp turns which is always bad for cables.
After checking for a loose connection, check the quality of the cable by looking at the following things:
- Is the cable frayed or does it have exposed wiring?
- Are either ends of the cable damaged? This could be the side that plugs into the monitor or the one that plugs into the computer.
- Is the cable sticky? If something was ever spilled on the cable, the liquid can run down the cable and work its way into the port causing connection issues.
- Does the cable have a sharp bend to it?
If any of these things exists or has happened, it is possible the quality of the cable has been compromised. When that happens, users often experience all sorts of odd issues like reduced sharpness, screen flickering or disconnects. To verify if this is the issue, try connecting a new cable between the monitor and the computer and see if that fixes any problems you were experiencing.
A bad monitor or computer port
The last thing you can check are the ports the cable is being plugged into: the monitor and the computer port. Port damage can be caused in many ways, from something as simple as accidentally stepping on a cable that is plugged in which can tweak the port or damage pins.
Check out the ports for the monitor and computer and verify the following things:
- None of the pins look bent
- The ports do not have debris in them
- There are no pieces broken on the port
If any of these issues exist, you can try using a different port if possible. Monitors typically come standard with at least two different types of connection ports, sometimes three or more. Computers also typically come standard with two connection ports though they may or may not vary in type. If you have a bad port, switching to a different port on the device with the bad port may fix your issues.
As a second way to test, if you suspect the computer port is bad and you have a laptop, try connecting the laptop directly to the monitor to see if the monitor has the same issues. This can help narrow down if the problem really does stem from the computer port.
NOTE: Switching to a different port will most likely require a new cable, as most monitors do not have multiple ports of the same type. Another alternative would be to get an adapter that, for example, allows an HDMI port to be plugged into it and has a DisplayPort on the end. This could allow you to re-use a functioning cable while still switching ports. Lastly, there are cables with different port types on each end. For example, you can purchase a cable with a male HDMI port on one end and a male DisplayPort on the other. These are really handy when connecting a computer and monitor with different ports.
As you can see from most of the steps above, many of the troubleshooting steps center on the cable between the monitor and the computer. Cables vary in price from around $8-$20, depending upon type and place of purchase, but are far cheaper than replacing the monitor. It is usually worth keeping extra cables as they can often be used to troubleshoot issues and are a much cheaper fix.
Struggling with monitor issues can be extremely frustrating. Before you replace a monitor you are having issues with, check to see if the cable is loose, if the cable has been compromised, or if either the port being used by the monitor or computer is bad. Swapping a cable is one of the easiest ways to troubleshoot a monitor issue and you could get a few more years out of the monitor by doing so.
As always, it is good to start with small fixes when you can as they can save you time and money!