Deal with Bad Pixels in Your LCD Monitor - dummies

By Dan Gookin

A situation unique to LCD monitors is the dead or stuck pixel issue. Being dead and being stuck are similar problems with different fixes.

A dead pixel is one with its red, green, or blue element off, or “dead.” The only way to find dead pixels is to display solid colors on the screen and scour the territory for any “holes,” or missing spots.

The sad news is that you cannot fix a dead pixel; it’s a manufacturing defect. Your only hope is to find enough dead pixels to be able to use the warranty. On most LCD monitors, you must find more than ten dead pixels to justify a replacement. Check your monitor manufacturer’s warranty, to be sure.

A stuck pixel is one that stays a certain color despite signals from the display adapter requesting it to change. Unlike a dead pixel, a stuck pixel can be corrected: Using a diagnostic program, or sometimes something simple, like Windows Paint, you can “shock” the stuck pixel back to life by displaying various colors rapidly on the screen. Sometimes this technique works, sometimes it doesn’t.

  • A higher-priced monitor has less chance of sporting a dead pixel.

  • Pixels get stuck because they literally remember which colors they’re displaying. By rapidly switching colors on the screen, it’s possible to unstick the stuck pixel.

  • A stuck pixel that cannot be unstuck becomes a dead pixel.

  • No amount of hand clapping can bring a dead pixel back to life.