Distorted or skewed image on the monitor

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

A monitor or other display with a distorted image can be caused by a many different things. Below is a checklist of steps you can follow to determine if the problem can be fixed or if your monitor is bad.

Tip: If your monitor screen is black, see our No display or black screen on a computer monitor page for steps in solving this problem.

Windows Issue

Restart your computer. If the display on the monitor looks fine until the computer starts to load Windows, you are encountering a video resolution or other driver issue. Make sure your video drivers are up-to-date and that the video resolution is not set too high for the graphics card.

Loose or defective cable

You may receive a distorted image when the cable is loose or defective. Disconnect the video cable (usually a DVI, VGA, HDMI cable) going from the back of the computer and verify that no pins are bent, burnt or broken. Once verified, re-connect the monitor cable.

Interference

A distorted image can be caused by magnetic (EMI) or other interference. Verify no speakers, fans, or other magnetic devices are close to the monitor.

Refresh rate issue

If you have an older CRT monitor and the refresh rate is not set properly, the display on the monitor may appear wavy, something like lines moving down or across the monitor either slowly or fast. An improper refresh rate may also cause a flickering effect.

Bad Monitor

Computer monitorIf the above suggestions have been checked and the issue continues to occur, it is likely that the monitor is defective. To verify if it is the monitor, connect the monitor to another computer. If the monitor has the same distortion on another computer, you have a bad monitor. If your monitor works fine on another computer, there may be a problem with the video card in the computer.

Note: Connecting your possibly defective monitor to another computer will in no way harm the other computer.

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