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Troubleshooting guide/Display and visual problems

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
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  • Ensure you have updated your video card drivers (AMD, Nvidia, Intel). For laptop, mobile, and all-in-one systems check the manufacturer's site first for customised drivers (if applicable).
  • Ensure the settings in the video card control panel are set to "application-controlled" or "let the application decide" for the affected game.
  • If you have overclocked your hardware, try disabling the overclock.

Output is wrong/no signal

Games use incorrect refresh rate

This occurs when running some games on displays that report TV-compatible timings.[1] If the correct refresh rate cannot be chosen in the game's settings set the desktop to the intended refresh rate and use borderless fullscreen windowed or windowed mode.

Game does not fit screen correctly

Ensure you are using the correct resolution for the game. Check the video card's GPU scaling and overscan settings. If you are using a TV as the display you may also need to adjust the TV's own settings.

Many DOS games are designed with a 320x200 resolution but with a 4:3 aspect ratio. For modern systems, see the Issues Fixed section of the DOSBox or ScummVM pages, depending on how the game is being played.

Black screen but audio is playing

This may be caused whenever a game goes out of range.
Some games have a similar issue for the intro videos; pressing Esc a few times may skip past them and then display the game normally (not all games support skipping intro videos this way).
  1. Find config file location for the desired game.
  2. Open config file and find any lines related to the resolution.
  3. Set the resolution to the native resolution.


The game can also be set to Window mode (usually Alt+ Enter, or through config).

Graphics are wrong

Window border visible in fullscreen mode

Visible border example (border color may vary)

Some games have a window border visible in fullscreen mode on Windows 8 and later. Most games sold on are already patched to fix this issue. Refer to the individual game pages for pre-made fixes for many games. To fix this manually install the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit and apply the ForceSimpleWindow compatibility fix.

Colors are wrong

See the DirectDraw troubleshooting article.

Textures are muddy or badly dithered

This only applies to older games. The game may be running in a 16-bit color mode. Choose a 32-bit resolution. Glide rendering always uses 16-bit color, so choose a different renderer if applicable. Some older games only support an 8- or 16-bit color mode.
Some games may be dithered incorrectly when the color depth differs; use Reduced color mode or Run in 256 colors.

Overlay problems

In-game overlay does not open or does not work correctly

For the Windows 10 Game Bar see List of games with Game Bar support for full-screen mode.
For games using Games for Windows - LIVE see In-game interface does not open.
Client overlays are not supported for some older games so may be unavailable even if enabled in the client.
Overlays may cause visual issues when opened. Disable the overlay in the game's properties in the client if problems occur.

Performance issues

Low frame rate in fullscreen mode

This issue occurs on Windows 8 and later when playing certain older games. Most games sold on are already patched for this when needed. See the individual game pages for pre-made fixes for many affected games. This can be resolved manually by using the Compatibility Administrator to make a compatibility fix with the DXPrimaryEmulation -DisableMaxWindowedMode parameter,[2] or with the aid of dxwrapper.

Nvidia Optimus systems always run legacy DirectX games on integrated graphics

This behaviour affects DirectX 8 and earlier,[3] presumably because they were thought to be old enough not to justify the extra labour and complexity needed to add support for hybrid graphics device enumeration.[4] This limitation can be circumvented by using a wrapper, such as Dd7to9/d3d8to9 or dgVoodoo 2.

Stuttering when using f.lux

f.lux users may experience stuttering; enable the f.lux Safe Mode setting to avoid issues[5], or use a more gaming-centric[6] alternative like Lightbulb.