Mastering Screen Issues: How to Fix Blackouts and Flickering on Windows 11

Introduction to Screen Issues

Encountering screen-related complications can be frustrating, particularly when they disrupt the workflow or gaming experience. Users of Windows 11 have reported incidents where the monitor screen blacks out or starts flickering, an issue that detracts from the otherwise smooth performance of the operating system. Focusing on competitive gaming, where every millisecond counts, such screen problems can be more than just annoying; they can be downright debilitating. In the competitive gaming environment, the importance of a high refresh rate to ensure fluid visuals and responsiveness cannot be overstated, making any disruption in this performance an urgent matter to resolve.

Screen Blacking Out or Flickering on Windows 11

Concerns with screen blackouts or flickering have been notably prevalent with the Windows 11 21H2 update, where changes in refresh rate settings have been known to trigger a complete freeze or a black screen. Users have described scenarios where the screen goes black and appears to lose signal, flickering as if searching for a connection. Interestingly, this problem tends to occur when trying to increase the screen’s refresh rate, a setting vital for both smooth visuals and the reduction of eye strain during prolonged computer use.

Importance of Refresh Rate in Competitive Gaming

In competitive gaming, the refresh rate is a critical factor that can have a significant impact on performance. A higher refresh rate translates to more frames being displayed per second, offering gamers a smoother and more up-to-date visual representation of the action. This can lead to more precise movements, better timing, and improved reaction times – advantages that in competitive play could mean the difference between victory and defeat. Therefore, any issue that limits the ability to utilize a monitor's maximum refresh rate can severely handicap a competitive gamer's performance.

Troubleshooting and Solutions

To deal with these annoying disruptions, troubleshooting steps may include checking cable connections, such as ensuring that if a DisplayPort cable is used, it is secure and functioning correctly. In some cases, replacing the cable with a certified premium version might help. Furthermore, it is essential to consider the monitor settings and whether features like FreeSync or G-Sync are affecting the refresh rate. Adjusting the graphics control panel settings or other graphical control applications may also aid in rectifying the issue.

If the problems persist, testing the monitor with a different computer or reinstalling Windows on the current machine may help determine if the issue is specific to the operating system or the monitor itself. Additionally, it is worth noting that Windows 11 issues with regard to screen freezing or blacking out when adjusting the refresh rate seem to happen at random. Sometimes, simply rebooting the system and repeating the adjustment process can resolve the issue as if it never occurred. However, for those who frequently need to tweak these settings for optimal gaming performance, encountering this issue can be a serious hindrance.


Ultimately, the black screen and flickering issues on Windows 11 present a significant challenge, particularly in the competitive gaming sphere, where maximizing the refresh rate is vital. While Microsoft is expected to address these issues in future updates, gamers and other users must resort to a combination of troubleshooting steps and practical workarounds to mitigate the impacts of these screen issues on their experience.

Using Custom Resolution Utility (CRU) to Solve Blackout or Flickering

For users experiencing blackouts or flickering screens on Windows 11 due to a refresh rate increase, the Custom Resolution Utility (CRU) can be an invaluable tool. CRU allows users to define new custom resolutions and refresh rates that are not available through the graphics driver's standard configuration options. Here's how to use CRU to potentially solve your screen issues:

Step 1 to Step 5: Downloading CRU and Selecting the Display

Step 1: Download Custom Resolution Utility (CRU) from a reputable source and unzip the files to a convenient location on your computer.

Step 2: Run the CRU application. It doesn't require an installation, so it can be executed directly from the unzipped folder.

Step 3: Upon opening CRU, all connected displays will be listed. Select the display that's experiencing the blackout or flickering issues.

Step 4: Take note of the active resolutions listed in CRU. These are the resolutions that your display currently supports.

Step 5: If your current refresh rate setting is causing issues, you may want to begin by creating a new resolution at a standard refresh rate that has previously worked without problems.

Step 6 to Step 11: Adjusting the Timing and Refresh Rate

Step 6: Below the list of active resolutions, click the "Add..." button to create a new resolution.

Step 7: In the new window, you will see options to customize the resolution. Enter your desired width and height for the resolution.

Step 8: Next, click on the "Timing" dropdown menu. Here you can select a timing standard, like "LCD standard," which will automatically configure the timing parameters for you.

Step 9: After selecting a timing, adjust the "Refresh rate" to the desired frequency. Make sure to stay within the safe operating range of your monitor to avoid damage.

Step 10: Once you've input your preferred resolution and refresh rate, click "OK" to close the configuration window.

Step 11: The new resolution should now appear in the list within CRU. You can add multiple resolutions and refresh rates if you want to test what works best for your setup.

Step 12 to Step 14: Applying the New Refresh Rate in Windows Settings

Step 12: To activate your new custom resolution, click on the 'OK' button in the CRU main window to close the application. You will be prompted to restart your computer or restart the graphics driver for changes to take effect.

Step 13: After restarting, right-click on your desktop and select "Display Settings." Scroll down and click on "Advanced display settings."

Step 14: Under the "Refresh rate" dropdown, you should see your new custom refresh rate. Select it and click 'Apply.' If everything works correctly, your monitor should switch to the new refresh rate without blacking out or flickering. If you experience any issues, revert to a previous known stable refresh rate immediately.

By using CRU to adjust your monitor's refresh rate, you stand a better chance at circumventing the blackout and flickering issues that are sometimes present in Windows 11 due to refresh rate changes. Always use this tool with caution and knowledge of your monitor's specifications to avoid causing damage to your hardware.

Alternative Refresh Rate Adjustments

When faced with screen blackouts after adjusting the refresh rate to the monitor's maximum capability, an alternative approach is necessary. Gradually increasing the refresh rate through Windows Settings can help pinpoint at which frequency the blackout occurs and maintain a stable, flicker-free performance. Here is a step-by-step guide to reduce and then slowly increase the refresh rate using Windows Settings:

Step 1 to Step 5: Reducing Refresh Rate through Windows Settings

Step 1: To begin, navigate to the desktop, right-click, and select "Display Settings." This action will bring up the display options for your screen.

Step 2: Scroll down to the "Advanced display" settings. Click on it to reveal further options including the current refresh rate of your monitor.

Step 3: Locate the "Refresh rate" drop-down menu to see the list of available refresh rates for your monitor. Given the issue, set the refresh rate to a lower value that is known to be stable, such as 60 Hz.

Step 4: After selecting a lower refresh rate, apply the changes. Your screen will flicker for a moment as it adjusts to the new setting. Confirm that the displayed image is stable and that there are no blackouts or flickering issues.

Step 5: Once you've confirmed stability at the lower rate, you can increase the refresh rate incrementally. Moving step-by-step, repeat the process, gradually increasing the refresh rate through the "Refresh rate" drop-down menu. Test each increment for stability before proceeding to the next one.

By carefully adjusting and testing each refresh rate incrementally, you can establish the highest stable frequency that your monitor can handle without issue. If it's considerably lower than the monitor's advertised maximum, this could indicate a hardware limitation, a driver issue, or a compatibility problem with Windows settings. In such cases, consulting the monitor manufacturer's support or checking for updated drivers may provide a more permanent solution.

Additional Troubleshooting Strategies

When dealing with monitor issues such as black screens or flickering, especially after tinkering with refresh rates, it is advisable to have a handful of troubleshooting strategies up your sleeve. These methods may help you get back to a usable desktop to perform further adjustments and tests. They involve accessing low-resolution video modes, adjusting settings on the graphics card, updating drivers, and dealing with specific tools that might interfere with monitor functionality.

Using Low Resolution Mode

Step 1 to Step 10: Accessing and Enabling Low-Resolution Video Mode in Recovery Mode

Step 1: Restart your computer. As it begins to boot, repeatedly press the F8 key before the Windows logo appears.

Step 2: The Advanced Boot Options menu should appear. Use the arrow keys to navigate to "Enable low-resolution video (640x" and press Enter.

Step 3: The computer will continue to boot into Windows with a very low resolution, which should be supported by almost any monitor.

Step 4: Once logged in, right-click on the desktop and open "Display Settings."

Step 5: Navigate to "Advanced Display Settings" and change the resolution to the recommended setting for your monitor.

Step 6: Click "Keep Changes" when prompted to confirm the new resolution.

Step 7: Now, gradually increase your refresh rate and test for stability as you go.

Step 8: If the higher refresh rates still cause issues, revert to the previous stable refresh rate.

Step 9: Investigate further into display drivers or cables that could be causing issues with high refresh rates.

Step 10: Consult the monitor's user manual or support website for further assistance.

Adjusting NVIDIA Card Settings

Step 1 to Step 10: Disabling G-Sync and V-Sync through NVIDIA Control Panel

Step 1: Right-click on the desktop and open the "NVIDIA Control Panel."

Step 2: Under the "Display" menu, click on "Set up G-SYNC."

Step 3: Uncheck the box next to "Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible."

Step 4: Apply the changes and return to the main menu.

Step 5: Go to "Manage 3D settings" and find "Vertical sync."

Step 6: Set "Vertical sync" to "Off" and apply the changes.

Step 7: Restart your computer to enforce the changes.

Step 8: Once restarted, check if the previous refresh rate issues are resolved.

Step 9: If all is working well, try re-enabling G-SYNC and V-SYNC one at a time to see if one of these settings was the cause.

Step 10: Should the problem persist, it might be necessary to perform a clean installation of the latest graphics drivers.

Updating Graphics Drivers

Step 1 to Step 5: Updating through Device Manager and Alternatives

Step 1: Open "Device Manager" by right-clicking the Start button and selecting it from the list.

Step 2: Expand the "Display adapters" section, right-click on your graphics card, and choose "Update driver."

Step 3: Click "Search automatically for updated driver software" and follow the prompts if an update is found.

Step 4: If no update is found, visit the graphics card manufacturer's website (NVIDIA, AMD, etc.), download the latest driver, and install it manually.

Step 5: After updating the drivers, restart your computer and check if the refresh rate issue has been resolved.

ASUS Specific Solution

Step 1 to Step 3: Uninstalling Monitor Calibration Tool

Step 1: Access "Programs and Features" by searching for it in the Windows search bar or via the Control Panel.

Step 2: Locate any installed ASUS monitor calibration tools or utilities that came with the monitor, and select "Uninstall."

Step 3: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the uninstallation, then restart your computer and re-test the monitor's capabilities.

When troubleshooting, ensure you proceed cautiously, as changes to your system's hardware settings can sometimes cause additional issues. If these steps do not resolve your problem, consider reaching out to customer support for your hardware or seeking professional technical assistance.

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