Screen tearing is where the display hardware shows information/data from multiple frames in a single screen draw. This usually occurs when the video which is fed into the system is not in sync with the display’s refresh rate. This can become very irritating and cause the player’s inability to play.
There are several ‘workarounds’ for this issue in making your condition better. Some of these might fix the problem completely but that isn’t guaranteed. Start with the top and work your ways down.
Be aware that screen tearing is not possible if frame rates are out-of-synchrony due to the monitor’s hardware specifications. This is where you will need to replace the monitor (like a GSync monitor) and diagnose the problem.
1. Changing Resolution and Refresh Rate
The first and foremost reason why the screen tearing actually occurs is the refresh rate of the monitor or incorrect resolution. Although it might not solve the problem completely, this will make it bearable enough to allow you to work. Take a look at these screenshots.
- Press Windows + S to launch the search application. Type “resolution” in the dialogue box and open the application which comes forth.
- Once in Settings, browse down to the end of the page and select “Advanced display settings”.
- A new window will open that displays all details about your display. Select the option Display adapter properties for Display 1.
- The hardware properties will now appear. Click on “List All Modes” present in the tab “Adapter”.
- The screen will show a list with different resolutions. Change them according to your hardware specifications and after press “OK” each time, check if they make a difference.
- Check if your screen tearing is still occurring after you have changed the settings.
2. Enabling / Disabling NVIDIA VSync
VSync is NVIDIA’s answer to screen tearing issues and rate stuttering. As explained above, screen tearing occurs when the system cannot handle higher frame rates. Vsync will automatically adjust the frame rates for you without your intervention. You have two options: disable it or enable it. Check out your situation to see what works.
Note: There were also cases where setting the VSync to Adaptive solves the problem.
- Right-click anywhere on your Desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel.
- Navigate to 3D Settings > Manage 3D settings. Now click on the Global Settings tab present at the right side of the screen and click on Vertical Sync.
- You can now turn it on or off depending on your needs.
- Save your changes and exit. Check if the problem has been resolved.
For AMD users, there an option of Wait for Vertical Refresh. Change the option to Always on.
3. Disabling ‘Game-mode’ and Full-screen optimizations
Windows announced and released several features in its latest update. One of the ‘noticeable’ features included the ‘Game mode’. This mode allows users optimize their system to play any game more smoothly. The operating system recognizes the program and attempts to maximize its performance.
This mode allows you to stream your gameplay across multiple devices and record it. You can also take screenshots using one button. Numerous players reported that this option caused their game to crash and was the reason why they were getting the ‘tearing’. You can disable this option and see if that helps.
- Press Windows + S, type “settings” in the dialogue box, and open the application.
- Once in the settings, click on the Gaming.
- Click on the Game bar present at the left side of the navigation bar and turn the option “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar” off. Now select Broadcasting and turn the option “Record audio when I broadcast” off.
- Restart your computer completely and try launching your game again. Check if the screen tearing problem has been resolved.
If the problem persists you can disable the full-screen optimization for the game that you are currently launching. This will make the situation more manageable in some cases.
- Right-click on the game and select Properties.
- Click on Compatibility and check the option Disable fullscreen optimizations.
- Press Apply to save changes and exit. Restart your computer to launch the game. If the problem persists, restart your computer and try again.
If you are using Steam as your game client and experiencing the issue there, you can also try settings the launch options “-windowed -noborder”.
4. Checking Graphics Drivers
If all the above methods don’t work, we can try either updating your graphics to the latest build or downgrade them if the problem started to appear after a graphics update. The problem can be caused by the outdated drivers not being used in certain cases. This is because the game that you are playing is optimized for using the latest version.
- Boot your computer into safe mode, press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box, and press Enter. Navigate to the device manager, locate NVIDIA hardware, right-click it, and select Uninstall device. Now reboot your computer.
- In most cases, the default drivers will be installed against the hardware. If not, right-click on any empty space and select “Scan for hardware changes”.
Check if the error message persists. If it persists, follow these steps.
- There are two options. Either you can search online for the latest driver available for your hardware from the manufacturer’s official website. (and install manually) or you can let Windows install the latest version itself (search for updates automatically).
First, try to update the hardware automatically. Right-click on your hardware and select “Update driver”. Select the first option “Search automatically for updated driver software”. Choose the second option if you are updating manually and select “Browse for driver” and navigate to the location where you downloaded.
- Restart your computer after installing the drivers and see if the screen tearing stopped.
5. Turning Off Frame Limit
Numerous games and applications make use of the Frame Limit feature in their options. This module allows the program to limit the number of frames it will output. This is a great feature to have if your hardware is low. However, it can cause screen tearing in many cases.
Hence, in this solution, navigate to whatever game you are playing or whichever application you are using and turn the Frame Limit off. These steps will vary from one game to the next. After making the changes, don’t forget to restart your computer before checking again.
6. Disabling Smooth Scrolling
Smooth scrolling is a feature in Windows that enables you to scroll more ‘smoothly’; adjust the graphics output in such a way that the screen doesn’t look rough when scrolling. This is a very useful feature, and most Windows 10 users have it enabled.
However, there have several instances where the smooth scrolling feature reversed its role and instead caused tearings on the screen. This glitch can be fixed by disabling smooth scrolling on your computer. Before you test your screen again, make sure to restart your computer.
7. Using High-Performance Power Plan
This issue can also occur if you are not providing enough power to the game and your game is not being prioritized for rendering through your GPU. If that’s the case, you can easily resolve this issue by using a better and more performance-oriented power plan such as “High Performance” or “Ultimate High Performance”. If you are using a Laptop we don’t recommend you to do these settings as it will affect your Thermals and battery usage but if you want the best FPS and Performance out of your game you can go ahead and do this on your laptop as well. Follow these steps below:-
- Press and hold the Windows key and press the R key to open the Run program.
- Type “powercfg.cpl” then press enter.
- Once you press enter you should have a Power Options window pop up on your Windows.
- Now click on the “Show Additional Plans” option then select “High Performance”.
- Restart your computer and check to see if the problem still persists.
8. Using Another Browser
If you are experiencing screen tearing if you are doing any activity in a browser, it is recommended that you switch to another one and see if the problem is with your browser or with the system overall. There are numerous instances where only a specific browser causes the screen to tear because either it is outdated or its internal settings don’t support the architecture of your computer.
You will be able narrow down the causes and fix the problem accordingly.
In addition to the above-mentioned solutions, you can also try the following steps according to your case:
- Enabling Windows Aero Theme
- Setting appearance to ‘Best under 3D-settings‘.
- Varying the output FPS of the game you are playing
- Playing around with OpenSync and G-Sync on your computer.