Living with Dead Pixels

Living with Dead Pixels

Range Govindan
Oct 31, 2011

There's nothing more annoying than finding a dead pixel(s) on a new laptop or mobile device's screen. Dead pixels are the bane of designers and programmers everywhere, a visual scab that disrupts concentration just by being there. Here are a few techniques for living with dead pixels...

Dead Pixels
Pixels are what makes up any kind of display. You'll find them in computer screens, mobile devices, laptops, etc. The higher the pixel count, the higher the resolution of a screen. Dead pixels are small, dark bits that can appear over time on your screen, when tiny sub-pixels are either stuck or permanently switched off. The cause might be a broken transistor or the pixel might just be stuck on black.

Manufacturer Warranties
The first thing that you should check when you start noticing dead pixels on your display is the warranty of the manufacturer. All manufacturers have some kind of warranty. Some will even replace your screen if it comes with too many dead pixels out of the box. With new tech, check the warranty and take it back to see if you can get a replacement.

Fixing Stuck or Dead Pixels with Software
Before you start trying to fix dead or stuck pixels, you should try a few programs that might fix the problem. JScreenFix is a small Java Applet that will randomly turn on and off each pixel up to 60 times a second to try and fix stuck pixels. It takes 20 minutes. UXPixel is free and will flash your screen in a rapid pattern to try and do the same. This process can take a few hours. Mac users can try LCDScrub, which can remove ghosted-in images, that were burned into screens. It can also fix dead pixels. There's also Pixel Fix which was made to tackle stuck pixels.

The Harder Approach
If all fails, then you can check out the procedure outlined in this post. It involves using a damp washcloth and something pointy to try and massage the pixel back to life.

Dead Pixel Living
If all fails and the dead pixels don't make it too painful, then you can try living with them. In our experience, after a while, it gets hard to notice them. Our current computer display is 5 years old and it has a few dead pixels, but it's never stopped us from using it and even watching movies on it. If you've got a laptop, you can try and replace the screen, if it's no longer on warranty. The process isn't that expensive, and it will give your computer a new lease on life.

Google Earth Dead Pixels

(Images: Flickr member Simon Wicks licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Andrew Louis licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member B.Inspired licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Mrjorgen licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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