Screen tearing occurs when your display shows multiple frames at once. This is especially common when you’re playing video games.
Usually, screen tearing is caused by the GPU’s frame rate and the monitor’s refresh rate being out of sync. In these cases, only partially processed images are displayed on the monitor because the GPU transmits images quicker than it can render them.
Screen tearing can happen because of a high refresh rate, outdated drivers, unsynchronized GPU frame rate, old PC, or game settings. Whatever the reason, screen tearing is a very common display issue, and below are the methods you can use to fix screen tearing.
Fix #1: Check minimum requirements
To avoid screen tearing, check if your computer meets the minimum requirements of an application. You can go to the application’s website to check what their minimum requirements are. For instance, if you’re playing the game Valorant, you can find their minimum PC specs, recommended PC specs, along with the high-end specs here.
Now, check your computer’s CPU and GPU to see if it meets the minimum specs. If it doesn’t, screen tearing will likely continue and you will have to upgrade your PC.
Fix #2: Upgrade your graphics card or device
One of the first things you could consider is upgrading your monitor or graphics card. Not all parts are seamlessly in sync with one another. Additionally, outdated devices eventually lose compatibility with new features and devices as they’re rolled out.
If you have a very old and outdated monitor or graphics, you can replace them with a newer one to fix screen tearing and any other performance issues you’re facing.
Fix #3: Change your screen’s resolution and refresh rate
Your screen’s resolution and GPU must be in sync for the PC to produce images accurately. One of the first methods to try is changing your monitor’s resolution and display’s refresh rate to see if that fixes screen tearing.
- Press the Windows + I key combination to launch Windows Settings.
- Go to the System tab and select Display.
- Choose Advanced display under the Related settings section.
- Select Display adapter properties for Display 1.
- In the new pop-up, click on the List All Modes button.
- Select a different mode, preferably a lower resolution, and click OK.
- Restart your computer and test if screen tearing is fixed now.
Fix #4: Turn off Game Mode
Game Mode is a Windows feature that adds in-game functionalities, for example, to screenshot or record your gameplay. However, it can also be causing screen tearing.
Follow these steps to disable Game Mode on your computer:
- Press Win + I to open Settings.
- Go to the Gaming tab and select Game Mode.
- Turn the Game Mode toggle off.
- Reboot your system and check if this has fixed your screen tearing issue.
Fix #5: Disable full-screen optimization of your game
Full screen optimization allows your OS to optimize apps that take over your full screen. However, it doesn’t always help and is known to cause a drop in FPS, leading to lag. Disabling full screen optimization could eliminate problems with performance overlay and improve input lag.
Here’s how you can turn off the full-screen optimization of your game.
- Right-click on the game and select Properties.
- Go to the Compatibility tab and check the Disable fullscreen optimizations checkbox. Click Apply to save your changes.
- Restart your computer and check if the issue has been fixed.
Fix #6: Update your Graphics Drivers
Old or corrupted graphics drivers are a common cause of screen tearing and other performance issues. To ensure smooth performance, you can update, reset or reinstall your computer’s graphics drivers.
- Press the Win + R key combination to launch the Run command.
- Type devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.
- Expand Display adapters by double-clicking it. Next, right-click on the graphics card and select Update driver.
- Windows will prompt you to choose how it searches for the drivers. Select the Search automatically for updated driver software option.
- After the update, restart your computer and check if screen tearing persists.
Fix #7: Enable or disable VSync
Vertical Sync (VSync) is a feature that matches your GPU’S frame rate with the refresh rate of your monitor. If your GPU uses VSync, you can turn it on or off to troubleshoot screen tearing in your display.
- Right-click on your desktop and select Show more options.
- Select AMD Radeon Settings. If you have NVIDIA, you will see an option for it instead. The instructions may vary slightly.
- Go to the Graphics tab, followed by the Wait for Vertical Refresh option. Choose Always on.Note: If it was already turned on, choose Always off instead.
- Restart your PC and see if it fixed any screen tearing issues.
Fix #8: Lower your FPS
This method allows you to manually lower the FPS of your computer’s GPU. The steps below may vary slightly based on your graphics card.
- Right-click your desktop and select Show more options.
- Go to AMD Radeon Settings.
- Go to the Graphics tab in Settings. Expand Advanced by clicking on it. Next, click on the Frame rate target control toggle to enable it. Now, reduce Max FPS by moving the slider to the left. Lower it to about 60 FPS.
- Restart your computer and check if it resolved your issues.
Fix #9: Choose a high-performance power plan
Your computer’s power plan controls display performance based on your battery settings and level. If your battery is low, or to conserve battery, this can cause graphical issues such as screen tearing. Therefore, opting for a high-performance plan can fix screen tearing issues.
- Press Win + R to open the Run command.
- Click OK after typing in powercfg.cpl.
- Click Additional plans. Now, choose High Performance or Ultimate Performance.
- Restart your computer to see if this method fixes screen tearing.
Fix #10: Disable the Xbox Game Bar
Xbox Game Bar is a Windows feature made for gamers, allowing you to access many widgets instantly using keyboard shortcuts. Disabling Xbox Game Bar can help fix screen tearing.
- Press Win + I to launch Settings.
- Go to the Gaming tab, and select Xbox Game Bar.
- Click on the Open Xbox Game Bar toggle to turn it off.
Check if screen-tearing is resolved.
Fix #11: Turn off Frame Limit in games
By default, many games have a Frame Limit feature to ensure stable FPS for optimal performance. This feature can sometimes interrupt image rendering, leading to screen tearing. This is a good method to use if screen tearing occurs only when you play a particular game.
The steps to disable the frame limit feature might vary from game to game. Generally, you can go to your game’s settings, and under graphics settings or display settings, you can find the frame limit feature. Turn it off and check if that fixes screen tearing.
Fix #12: Disable Smooth-scroll
Smooth-scroll is a Windows feature that prevents lag by adjusting the graphic output so that frames are generated while you scroll a page itself. This feature ensures you have smooth animations while scrolling through a page. However, if this is out of sync with your monitor refresh rate, it can cause screen tearing.
Follow the steps below to turn off Smooth-scroll on your PC:
- Go to your Start Menu and search for Adjust Appearance. Click Open once you find Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows.
- The Performance Options dialog box opens. Uncheck the Smooth-scroll list boxes checkbox and hit Apply.
- Reboot your PC and check if screen tearing is now fixed.
Fix #13: Try a different browser
If you’re working on your browser or playing a browser game when you encounter screen tearing, it suggests an issue with the browser itself. In these cases, you can try updating your browser or using a different browser and see if the problem persists.
Fix #14: Upgrade your graphics card or monitor
If none of the above methods worked for you, you could consider upgrading your graphics card or monitor as a last resort.
Outdated devices eventually lose compatibility with new features and might have a hard time running new games. If you have an old graphics card or monitor, upgrading them can fix screen tearing or other performance issues.