Fixing “Stripey” Display Issues in Windows 7

October 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have ever come across stripy screen issues with Windows, the problem could originate from a number of sources. Depending on where the phenomenon occurs, the fault might be fixed with new graphic card drivers, a new monitor or simple reconfiguration of the display device.

Strangely, this sort of problem can happen in Windows 7 as readily as it might happen in Windows XP, and while you might be able to resolve the problem by repeatedly restarting your computer and monitor, the fault can prove to be quite tiresome.

So what is the best way forward? Well, typically, it’s time for some good old-fashioned Windows troubleshooting to establish the cause of the problem and identify the most appropriate fix. Do note, however, that failure of all three steps below is likely to necessitate either a new graphics adapter or a new monitor. To rule out issues with the monitor, test it with another computer.


Connection and Monitor Types

Begin by checking your connection type. Modern monitors typically require DVI or HDMI connectors, and both need to be fully connected for the best results. Even with older displays, a VGA connector will need to have a full set up pins and be securely connected at both the computer and monitor ends.

Older monitors might be the cause of this problem too, from CRT displays being unsuitable for the graphics card to general issues detecting the device. You can establish if this is the case by checking whether or not a different monitor works with your computer.

Altering Display Settings

Whether you have a CRT or an LCD display, checking the manual to find out how to alter the display options will reveal how to adjust the monitor. This could prove useful as there are various vertical and horizontal settings that can be used to adjust the image. Gaps in your display at either side of the screen can be overcome by using the monitor settings to “push” the picture into position.

A good way to get a baseline impression of how the monitor and display adapter are working together is to reset your Windows display options to the optimal rate for the monitor. You will need to check your monitor’s manual or visit the manufacturer website to get this information, but generally it involves resetting the resolution to 1024×760 and setting the refresh rate to 60 Hz.

These settings can be implemented by right-clicking a space on your Windows desktop and selecting Screen resolution; the refresh rate can be altered via Advanced settings > Monitor > Screen refresh rate.

Installing New Drivers

By installing a new graphics driver you will be able to ascertain whether or not the problem is with the graphics adapter or the monitor. The best cause of action is to visit the graphic card manufacturer’s website, download the latest drivers and install them. In the best-case scenario, this will resolve things straightaway. Otherwise you will need to use the software suite that comes with the drivers to adjust things – for instance ATI/AMD cards use the Catalyst Control Center, which will allow you to reposition the display.

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