Here’s how to fix a laptop screen that turned green:
A lot of different issues can cause a laptop screen to turn green.
A number of hardware components can fail or malfunction and leave you with the screen until they are repaired or replaced.
Similarly, software problems can sit at the root of the issue. You have to determine the cause to find the right fix.
So if you want to learn all about how to fix a laptop screen that turned green, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
What Does the Green Laptop Screen Look Like? (4 Questions)
If you want to fix a green laptop screen, you first have to narrow things down a bit. When you figure out the cause of the problem, it’s easier to understand what needs fixing.
The first step on that journey is to first answer a few questions about the nature of the green screen. Not all green screens look the same, so go through the four questions below to get started.
#1 Is It a Solid Green Screen?
This is one of the more common ways that green screen problems manifest. It’s possible that your entire screen will output a solid green color.
That color depends on the screen and a lot of other factors, but it mostly comes down to two things. Either there is a connection problem between the screen and the video output, or the video signal is being distorted.
There are hardware and software problems that relate to each issue, and they will be discussed in detail further down.
#2 Are There Green Lines?
If the whole screen isn’t green, you might just have green lines. This is a fundamentally different problem. For the most part, the later sections are going to cover a solid green screen. So, let’s cover green lines here and now.
These lines are produced by the screen on purpose. It has to do with how images are created on a screen. Basically, the screen is receiving a signal that tells it to produce the green lines when you see them. Usually, this is a communication problem.
You can check cables and connectors. You can also update drivers and video controllers. All of these troubleshooting techniques are discussed below. You can follow the same steps; you will just be fixing lines instead of a solid green screen.
#3 Are There Green Dots?
Green dots are another completely different issue. If there are only green dots, then the issue is related to pixels on the screen. There are still different root causes, but you’re looking at issues and troubleshooting that relate to specific pixels rather than the whole screen.
Once again, software can be an issue. You can run through the driver and update sections you will see below.
You also want to consider a screen reset. The steps vary by manufacturer, but you can reset the pixels on the whole screen to try to unstick any pixel that is showing green when it shouldn’t. There are physical and software techniques to consider.
#4 When Does the Problem Occur?
The hardest troubleshooting tends to occur when a problem is intermittent. If you only sometimes have a green screen, then it can be tougher to figure out what the source of the problem is.
But, there is a situation where things are a lot similar. If a single video player software (such as Netflix) causes a green screen, and everything else works as intended, then you know your culprit.
You can try updating or reinstalling that software. If that doesn’t work, contact the software developer for troubleshooting support.
How Can You Identify Hardware Problems on Your Laptop?
The screen is green because something is wrong, and there’s a fair chance that the issue is a hardware problem.
One or more of the components on your laptop is malfunctioning. If you want to fix it, you have to figure out which part is failing.
There are some things you can do to figure it all out, and each test is based on an understanding of the individual component that might be the issue.
The Laptop Screen Itself
Green screens can be the result of a problem with the screen itself. The easiest way to determine if this is the case is to attach a different screen or monitor and see if you have the same problem.
Most laptops are capable of video output. You might need some adapters to make it all work, but plug your laptop into an external monitor.
Once you get the other monitor connected, compare it to the laptop screen. If the external monitor is fine, you know your laptop screen has an issue that requires a physical repair.
Most often, the issue will be with an internal connector between the screen and the graphics output, but regardless, that’s something that is best fixed by a certified technician.
Your Laptop Graphics Card
The graphics card is a very common source of this problem. It’s hard to say that it’s the most likely candidate, but you should definitely investigate the graphics card as a source of the problem. There are two tests that can help you narrow everything down.
First, test with an external monitor just like in the section above. If both screens show a problem, then you know the issue is tied to the video output. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the graphics card, but it’s becoming more likely.
The second thing you want to do is test the screen outside of an operating system. Most laptops allow you to access the BIOS or a recovery environment.
The way you do that depends on the manufacturer, so you’ll need to look that up for your laptop. For Macs, you can hold cmd + R when you turn the computer on. For Windows machines, the keystrokes are all over the place.
When you get into BIOS or a recovery environment, you are using the computer without loading the operating system. That means that any software problem within the operating system can’t affect what you see here. If the screen is still green in this environment, you know it’s not a software problem, and you can assume that your graphics card is the issue.
For a completely thorough test, you can try using a different graphics card. That requires you to have a spare graphics card and connectors that work with your laptop (which means this is more likely a test that will be run at the repair shop). If a test graphics card works, then you know for sure that you need a new graphics card.
The third major hardware problem is a bad connection between the screen and the video output. This is more common when you get the green screen with external monitors, but the integrated laptop screen is working just fine.
It’s an inverse of the section above, and it means one of two things. Either your cable is bad, or the port (or ports) where the cable connects is bad. Try a new cable first. If that doesn’t work, you know you have a port issue.
What About Software Problems?
Hardware problems are tough, but software problems are just as common, and there’s roughly a 50-percent chance that your green screen is caused by software.
For the most part, you can look for software problems in three places: operating systems, drivers, and hardware controllers. Let’s go through each to explain them more thoroughly.
Hardware controllers are base-level software that essentially tells your machine what to do. They are sort of the translators between the raw machine interactions and the high-level software that you interact with when you use your computer.
Hardware controllers can have issues that mess up video presentation. When this happens, you will get a green screen (or any number of other symptoms), and the tricky part is that hardware controllers can impact the screen even when you aren’t loading your operating system.
So, when possible, you want to run BIOS and hardware controller updates before replacing hardware, just to be sure that this isn’t an issue.
On average, hardware controllers don’t fail randomly. They are most likely to create problems after running updates. So, if you notice that the screen went green right after you ran some updates, then you might have a hardware controller issue.
It’s possible to flash your BIOS when you can’t see anything on the screen, but it’s a real challenge. It involves writing scripts and automating BIOS updates. If that doesn’t sound appealing, it’s something you can leave to a repair technician.
Operating systems are very complicated bits of software, and they can cause a lot of different problems with a computer system. When it comes to green screens, it can absolutely be an operating system issue.
The way to check was covered above. If your screen is fine in BIOS or a recovery environment, but it’s green when the operating system loads, you know where the problem is.
Usually, specific kernels that load will be the problem. To skip a long-winded explanation, it means that only a small part of the operating system is causing the screen issue.
Before you wipe everything out and reinstall the operating system, there’s another check you can try. Most laptops have a safe mode. How you get into safe mode depends on who made the laptop, so you’ll want to look that up by make and model.
When you use safe mode, it turns off a lot of things that automatically load when you use the normal environment. This test lets you know if the green screen is from one of those things that are turned off or not.
If safe mode is green, you need to reinstall the operating system. If it isn’t, then it’s likely that one of your third-party programs is creating issues when it automatically turns on.
You can disable every third-party program at startup and then go through them one at a time to find the culprit. Once you do, you can try reinstalling the program, or you can contact the developer for help resolving the issue.
Drivers are kind of like hardware controllers. They help the software communicate with the hardware, but drivers exist at a higher level. They are loaded and managed by the operating system. So, driver issues will only show up when the operating system is up and running.
So, if you have a problem that is specific to the operating system, it could be a driver issue. Distinguishing between the two can be difficult if you have a solid green screen.
The basic idea is that you can download a driver installer for your specific machine on a different computer. You can load those drivers onto a flash drive and then run them on the affected laptop. Updating the drivers might fix your problem and prevent you from performing a full reinstall.
Drivers, like hardware controllers, don’t usually start acting up out of nowhere. These problems are more likely right after an update, so that’s your big clue that the problem could be with drivers.
If you can’t determine that you have a driver problem, reinstalling the operating system forces the drivers to go through an update and/or reinstall, too, so that’s still a catch-all solution.