How to disable auto brightness on a Windows laptop

Automatic dimming and increases in brightness can be annoying; here's how to disable them

On some laptops, you may have noticed a change in brightness as you go from a screen with a dark background to a screen with a bright background. On a dark background, the screen will dim automatically, while on a bright background it will brighten. These changes happen automatically after a couple of seconds, and they can also sometimes manifest as noticeable flickering.

This behaviour is a dynamic brightness change that is unrelated to the 'Adaptive brightness' setting in Windows. That setting works using the ambient display sensor on a laptop. In that scenario, the brightness changes based on the room lighting. The subtle changes that occur when going from a dark background on the screen to a light coloured background have nothing to do with the 'Adaptive brightness' setting, but instead are a result of graphics driver settings.

We have found this behaviour to be tied to power management settings in graphics drivers, which, when disabled, allow the screen to maintain a constant brightness level. If the slight changes to brightness while you are Web browsing or viewing any other dynamic content on the screen bother you, then you should look in your graphics driver settings for a feature that is described as 'power saving' and disable it.

In our example using Intel HD graphics, the Intel driver has a 'Power' section under which resides a feature called 'Display Power Saving Technology'. When this is enabled and the laptop is running on battery, it detects the contents of the screen and changes the brightness accordingly. When it's disabled, the brightness will just stay at the level that you've set and won't dynamically change.

Examine your display driver for power settings.
Examine your display driver for power settings.

When you disable any power saving features, it should stop the automatic dimming brightening behaviour.
When you disable any power saving features, it should stop the automatic dimming brightening behaviour.

We're not sure what to do if the brightness dips and peaks occur while the laptop is using its power supply, but for us, the dimming behaviour on our test laptop (a Lenovo Yoga 2) stopped when we disabled this setting, both when running under battery and connected to the power supply.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?