How To Find and Fix a Stuck or Dead Pixel

Home Hacks

We've recently received a few reader emails asking us about solutions about reviving display pixels from the dead, so we're bringing back this popular post from our archives to share again...

Chances are sooner or later you'll experience the annoyance of a dead or stuck pixel on your display. You can always try to massage it back to life physically using a massage or tapping technique, but there are also several software solutions that may resurrect your expired pixel from the digital afterlife...

Most described dead pixels are actually stuck pixels, recognizable most of the time as a white spot; a dead pixel is one that does not display any of the three subpixels and is characterized by a black off appearance. If you've got a dead pixel, the methods below have less likely a chance of working compared to trying to resurrect a stuck pixel, but occasionally in either case the offending pixel will resolve itself.

What You Need

  • Software or online solutions include: UDPixel (Windows)
  • Bad Crystal
  • JScreenFix
  • LCDScrub
  • UDPixel
  • Online Monitor Test (Online)
  • JScreenFix (Online)

Most described dead pixels are actually stuck pixels, recognizable most of the time as a white spot; a dead pixel is one that does not display any of the three subpixels and is characterized by a black off appearance. If you've got a dead pixel, the methods below have less likely a chance of working compared to trying to resurrect a stuck pixel, but occasionally in either case the offending pixel will resolve itself.

But first you'll need to find those dead pixels. Highly recommend using this Dead Pixel Test, as put together by Guillaume & Jennifer Dargaud:

Testing for dead pixels is very simple, there's nothing to install. All you need to do is click on all the links below to load the various test pages and look carefully at the images for any sign of dead (black) pixel, lit (white) pixel or also colored pixel (here yellow and blue, even if it's difficult to tell the colors).

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The new kid on the block in pixel treatment software is Bad Crystal 2.5, a Windows XP/Vista application that uses high-speed color shifting of individual pixels to help fix stuck pixels on LCD screens and reduces burn-in on plasma screens (they claim normally within 5 minutes). This app was developed for LCD, plasma, iPod and other mobile screen devices and is try/buy shareware.

JScreenFix is a web-based Java Applet that randomly turns on and off each pixel at up to 60 times a second to fix stuck pixels. The process takes about 20 minutes and is available in various versions, including one for mobile devices, DVD players, and computer displays.

UDPixel is another free application that will flash your screen in a rapid pattern. They recommend running the app for hours (!): "You can fix the stuck pixels by calling them to do rapid changes. You need to run this program for a couple of hours. There is no warranty on the result, but you don't really have anything to lose trying it out. Good luck."

Mac users with a slumbering pixel can try LCDScrub, which is actually an image burn-in treatment app, but one that is reported to also help with stuck pixels. The app primarily works to remove ghosted-in images burned into displays using a series of patterns which may or may not bring dead/stuck pixels back to life (we haven't had this happen yet ourselves, knock on wood).
And if software solutions don't work, you can always approach the issue with a more hands-on approach using the Pressure Method; here it is as described by WikiHow:

Instructions

1. Turn off your computer's monitor. 2. Get yourself a damp washcloth, so that you don't scratch your screen. 3. Take a household pen, pencil, screwdriver, or some other sort of instrument with a focused, but relatively dull, point. A very good tool would be a PDA stylus. 4. Fold the washcloth to make sure you don't accidentally puncture it and scratch the screen. 5. Apply pressure through the folded washcloth with the instrument to exactly where the stuck pixel is. Try not to put pressure anywhere else, as this may make more stuck pixels. 6. While applying pressure, turn on your computer and screen. 7. Remove pressure and the stuck pixel should be gone. This works as the liquid in the liquid crystal has not spread into each little pixel. This liquid is used with the backlight on your monitor, allowing different amounts of light through, which creates the different colors.

Originally posted September 10 2009


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