Best Solutions to Fix a Blurry Screen in Windows

Blurry desktop background in a Windows 11 laptop

Blurry screens can render your PC unusable, and, unfortunately, Windows users are well acquainted with this experience. This issue, which also encompasses a blurry sign-in screen, taskbar icons or apps, is typically caused by incorrect resolution settings or DPI scaling. Fortunately, fixing the problem is quite simple, as you just need to make a few adjustments to your system.

Tip: want to have a more secure experience on your PC? It may be time to switch to Windows 11 S.

How to Fix a Blurry Desktop Screen

If you’re experiencing a blurry desktop screen, try these solutions. Proceed with the method that fits your situation the best.

1. Adjust the Performance Settings

The first thing that we recommend doing is adjusting the performance settings. In this method, we are configuring Windows for the best visual performance.

  1. Type “View advanced system settings” in Windows search and click “Open.”
Typing "View advanced system settings" in Windows Search.
  1. In the System Properties dialog, head to the “Advanced” section and click on the “Settings” button in the “Performance” section.
Switching to "Advanced" tab in System Properties and clicking on "Settings."
  1. Navigate to the “Visual Effects” section and check the “Adjust for best appearance” option.
Clicking on "Visual Effects" and selecting "Adjust for best appearance."
  1. Click “Apply -> OK” to save the changes.

2. Update Your Graphics Driver and More

There can be several other reasons your desktop is appearing blurry in Windows. For instance, the graphics driver might be outdated or corrupt, failing to communicate properly with the graphics card. Outdated drivers can be responsible not only for minor inconveniences like blurry screens but can also lead to issues like distorted images, screen flickering, and color issues in Windows, so make sure they’re always up to date.

The display resolution settings could also be incorrectly adjusted, resulting in a blurry screen. When the display resolution is set too low or too high, it can make the images and text on the screen appear blurry or pixelated. We discuss these problems and their potential solutions in our fixing common screen resolution problems guide.

Good to know: have you been visited by error code 43 in Windows? We show you how to fix a malfunctioning GPU.

How to Fix a Blurry Sign-in Screen

If your sign-in screen in Windows is blurry, it can be because of the acrylic blur effect, which is a part of the transparency effects in Windows. This feature is designed to add depth to the visual interface. It can, however, cause different parts of the sign-in screen to appear blurry when enabled.

This typically happens when the sign-in screen image you’re using has a lot of visual noise. An easy fix is to disable the acrylic blur effect feature via one of the following two options.

1. Use the Group Policy Editor

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open a Run dialog.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
Typing "gpedit.msc" in Run window.
  1. Click “Yes” in the User Account Control Prompt.
  2. Once inside the Group Policy Editor, navigate to “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon.”
  1. Double-click the “Show clear logon background” option.
Finding the "Show clear logon background" option in Group Policy Editor.
  1. Click “Enabled” from the list of options, then on “Apply -> OK” to save the changes.
Enabling "Show clear logon background" option in Group Policy Editor.

2. Via the Registry Editor

If you are having trouble with Group Policy Editor, you can also use the Registry Editor to make the same changes. However, before you proceed, we highly recommend creating a Registry backup, just to be safe.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open a Run dialog.
  2. Type regedit in Run and press Enter.
Typing "regedit" in Run window.
  1. Click “Yes” in the User Account Control prompt.
  2. Once the Registry Editor opens, navigate to:
  1. Double-click on the “System” key on the right. If you cannot find it, right-click on the “Windows” key on the left and select “New -> Key.”
Creating a new key under "Windows" in Registry Editor.
  1. Name this key “System.”
  2. Double-click on “System” in the menu on the left, then right-click on an empty space in the right pane.
  3. Select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
Creating a new DWORD (32-bit) Value in Registry Editor under System.
  1. Rename this value “DisableAcrylicBackgroundOnLogon.”
  2. Double-click on this newly created value and change its “Value data” from 0 to 1.
Changing value data for DisableAcrylicBackgroundOnLogon key.
  1. Click “OK” to save the changes and exit the Registry Editor.
  1. Once the acrylic blur feature is disabled, your sign-in screen display should be back to normal.

Tip: want to unlock the hidden potential of your Windows operating system? Check out these registry hacks to optimize your experience.

How to Fix Blurry App Icons

If you are dealing with a blurry screen in specific apps (including taskbar apps), try these troubleshooting methods to fix the problem:

1. Customize Graphic Preference

You can try adjusting graphic preferences for the app where you’re seeing blurriness. If you are a Windows 11 user, follow these steps to proceed:

  1. Launch the Windows Settings app by pressing the Windows + I keys.
  2. Head to “System -> Display.”
Accessing "Display" settings in Windows 11.
  1. Navigate to the “Related settings” section and click on the “Graphics” option.
Clicking on "Graphics" option under "Related Settings" in Windows 11.
  1. Click the targeted app on the next screen, then on the “Options” button.
Clicking app and then pressing on the "Options" button. in Windows 11.
  1. Select the “High-Performance” mode and click “Save” to save the changes.
"High performance" option in "Graphics preference" window in Windows 11.
  1. Restart your computer and check whether the blurriness issue is resolved.
  2. If you’re using Windows 10, go to “Settings -> Display -> Graphics settings.”
Navigating to "Graphics settings" in Windows 10.
  1. You will see a drop-down where you can choose either standard or Microsoft Store app.
  2. If the targeted app is a standard app, click on the “Browse” button and select the .EXE file associated with the app. If the app is a Microsoft Store app, select the app from the second drop-down menu appearing on your screen.
Selecting a "Microsoft app" from dropdown menu in Windows 10.
  1. Click “Add -> Options.”
Clicking on the "Add" button then on "Options" in Windows 10.
  1. Opt for the “High Performance” option and click on the “Save” button.
Selecting "High performance" in "Graphics preference" window in Windows 10.

Tip: learn how to install new fonts on your Windows device.

2. Modify the ClearType Text

You can also try modifying the ClearType text in the Control Panel by opting for a different text sample. This will help fix the blurry fonts in an application (if any).

  1. Type “Adjust ClearType Text” in Windows search and click “Open.”
Open ClearType Text
  1. Select the “Turn on ClearType” option, then click “Next.”
Checking the "Turn on ClearType" option in ClearType Text.
  1. Click “Next” again.
Windows checking if monitor is set to its native resolution.
  1. Choose the preferred text sample option and click “Next.” You will need to perform the same steps for a few more screens.
Selecting the sample of text that looks best.
  1. Once you have selected the best samples, click on the “Finish” button and close the ClearType Text window.
Pressing the "Finish" button to complete the process of tuning the text on the monitor.
  1. Reboot your computer and check whether the issue is resolved.

Good to know: HDR looks bad on your PC? Learn what you can do about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I improve screen visibility in Windows?

There are several steps you can take to improve the screen visibility in Windows. First, make sure that your screen resolution matches the native resolution of your monitor. You can also adjust the scaling settings so that the text and icons on the screen are displayed correctly. Head to “Settings -> Display -> Scale & Layout.” Expand the drop-down for “Scale” and choose the recommended option. Apart from this, we advise keeping your graphics driver up to date at all times.

What are some additional options for dealing with blurry and pixelated fonts?

If you are dealing with blurry or pixelated fonts on your computer and ClearType didn’t help, restoring the default font settings or recreating the font cache can help you fix the problem. This guide discusses the different solutions to fix blurry and pixelated fonts.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Zainab Falak.

Zainab Falak
Zainab Falak

Zainab is an Actuarial Sciences graduate from Pakistan with a passion for technology. When she's not busy writing insightful pieces on Windows and the latest tech trends, you'll find her with her nose buried in a productivity book, always on the lookout for ways to optimize her workflow and stay ahead of the curve.

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