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I usually just use Fn + Left or Fn + Right to adjust my screen's brightness but the minimum settings are still too bright for me (especially when I'm working at night). I tried going through the Power Options in the Control Panel (plan brightness already at the lowest settings). Is there a way to dim my laptop's screen beyond the minimum?

I'm already using Fl.ux. I was wondering if there was a utility similar to it that adjusts my screen's brightness/contrast instead of its color temperature.

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Can you still buy filters for screens? They were around in the old CRT days. I suppose sunglasses would make it difficult to see the keys at night. –  pavium Jul 9 '11 at 9:43
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I have considered buying filters. And I do have my sunglasses on standby. I was hoping for something similar to Flux. –  Ellesa Jul 9 '11 at 9:46
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Mentioning the used software will help out the answers not to be redundant. –  avirk Jun 21 '12 at 4:48
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Sunglasses might be a solution. I wonder if you could get one of those old glare screens and cover it with something that reduces transmitted light as well. Might help to state, desktop or laptop, and if its the former, the model of the screen in the question.Some things i can think of deal with things specific to monitor and software –  Journeyman Geek Jun 21 '12 at 5:17
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sunglasses can't do it for me coz I already wear glass to correct my sight –  Shashwat Tripathi Aug 4 '13 at 15:01

15 Answers 15

up vote 25 down vote accepted

Flux doesn't really dim the screen, just changes the color temperature (I like it, but you have to be careful with photoediting etc).

Dimmer does dim (by the looks of it it's very similar to the above mentioned DimScreen) and it's free.

From the site:

Overview

Dimmer is a very small and free piece of software designed to provide brightness reduction on LCD screens, TFT screens and LED screens when it either don't have, or lack proper brightness control. A must have if you work on your computer at night with very low ambient light. The reason I mention LCD's, TFT's or LED's is because these are the flat panels we all have on our laptops or notebooks and usually are limited and can't be dimmed very low. The desktop versions and the old CRT type monitors did not suffer from this limitation.

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I tried everything but Dimmer is the best! –  aalaap Oct 19 '12 at 12:05
    
Dimmer is nice and clever, except it's just a black box that overlays your desktop. I'd really like a solution that lets me actually dim the backlight further than the OS allows, but it sounds like that's a limitation of the LCD backlight technology. –  Walter Stabosz Nov 2 at 1:05

I have sensitive eyes as well and do a lot of work at night so looked into getting a screen protector like the kind used on the old CRTS, but they were too bulky, somewhat costly, and did not work well on my 17.3" laptop. What I finally came up with that works great is getting a roll of tinted privacy window film from Home Depot and cut out a section to fit my exact screen dimensions. The result is fantastic as it filters out the rays causing eye strain, can be peeled on or off in seconds, and reused as many times as you like (it clings to the screen and doesn't need adhesives or hardware to work. I simply place it on the back of the screen where it clings until you need to use it again! The roll I bought was enough to cover two large windows, so would be enough for 25-35 laptop screens, and I think I paid $15 for the whole thing! Some friends of mine liked it so much they have it on their TV's that were too bright in their house, their car windows, and one guy used it to darken his prescription eyeglasses and loves it! Its so simple it borders on stupid, but I love it and will put it against the "Pet Rock" and Chia Pets" on QVC any day!

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This is great! Can you tell us the specific name of the privacy stuff so we can find it easily at Home Depot? –  Daz Chapman Nov 18 at 9:13

I have extremely sensitive eyes, hence I developed DimScreen. It will appear as a black box in the notification area and you can adjust dimness far beyond the allowed minimum set by your function keys. Its features are the following:

  • Change the brightness by selecting a `% in the tray menu.
  • Or use the hotkeys Ctrl++ and Ctrl+-.
  • Change hotkeys using Settings in the tray menu.
  • Doesn't work properly with video windows.

Could be used for nighttime map reading if your laptop is missing dimming controls.

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Function key bottom left of my keyboard Fn and press F5 at the same time dims the screen. To brighten press Fn and F6 at the same time.

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But how does that answer getting the brightness below the minimum (which you get when pressing Fn+F5 multiple times)? –  Arjan Jun 28 at 14:03

I think the best program for this purpose for Windows is Gapa. I downloaded it somewhere long time ago and now I can't find any download link or web page. The Publisher is Tomasz Porosinski.

Anyway, I can share my Dropbox link with you.

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I suggest DimScreen Skrommel 1-Hour software.

But if you run Desktop Lighter 1.4 first and choose lowest bright, exit and then run DimScreen you get even better results. Much less brightness.

It´s AutoHotkey script program and you can access to source and modify it.

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I suggest DimScreen (different to one already mentioned) created by Robert Gentry.

It's free and open source so I've created a fork of the project to support multiple-monitors.

enter image description here

Note: requires .NET 4

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there is a program PowerStrip that let's you set many visual configuration profiles and you can add shortcuts to them. I find it very useful in games or movies. The program does more than that so it's very useful.

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Assuming that it is not a limitation of the hardware and/or driver, then you can use Nirsoft’s NirCmd to adjust the screen brightness up or down to whatever the video-adapter is capable of.

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Have you tried Dimscreen from the donation coder? http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Skrommel/index.html#DimScreen

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I've heard good things about f.lux. It's a piece of software that dims your computer screen according to the time of day, to help simulate natural light. That sounds like it's exactly what you're after, as it'll keep things dim at night, while having considerably less of an effect during the day.

Alternatively, use it as my (exceedingly photosensitive) partner does on her laptop: crank up all the settings to their extremes, disable the timer, and just use it as a global setting for dropping the brightness on your monitor

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I tried f.lux, but I didn't like the weird colors it used. –  ekaj Jun 22 '12 at 0:37

I looked quickly and didn't find any info if your monitor is a led based one or not. Some older monitors have fluorescent tube for lights (I think) and those probably have a pretty high lowest brightness setting. So if you have that type of monitor you are probably not going to have any luck making it darker through settings.

So you alternative is probably a privacy filter. I have one for my computer at work. It made the screen quite noticeably darker. Although those filters will make the screen harder to read from certain angles, it might still be what you need.

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I'd suggest you try to change your system's color metrics now, since you're already using it at lowest brightness possible. I used to have this trouble too, but then I moved on to working in evening time(from 4 to 12).

Otherwise, as StampedeXV mentioned, buy a newer screen(maybe even a LED TV which may perform as per your needs?).

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Took me a while but I found this portable app called DimScreen through this site, which does exactly what I need.

After launching it, it shows an icon on the System Tray that gives "dimness" levels for me to choose from. The higher the value I pick, the darker my screen gets (beyond the minimum that Fn + Left gives me).

enter image description here

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Hmm just downloaded this and when I tried to install the screen dimmed but no installer started up... –  hippietrail Aug 1 '11 at 10:00
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That's why it's called a portable app. It doesn't install. –  Ellesa Aug 1 '11 at 14:31
    
Hmm good point put it certainly looked exactly like the dimming an installer does (90% ish) and I couldn't find anything in the system tray to control it. PS in my day all apps were portable d-; –  hippietrail Aug 1 '11 at 14:56
    
I see. The icon looks looks like a black box. When I ran it the first time, the icon was hidden. I had to set it to "Only show notifications." I wish there was a better app though. But I guess it still helps keep eyestrain at bay for me for a while. –  Ellesa Aug 1 '11 at 15:04
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It turns out not to solve my problem, which is probably at the driver or firmware or OS level. It can only dim from the hard brightness setting but cannot go brighter than it. –  hippietrail Aug 21 '11 at 8:34

You can get more control over the display colors when using the Display color calibration utility :

( from the run box, type: dccw.exe )

enter image description here

the problem is there is no shortcut to toggle between different profiles.


I just come up with this little utility dispcalGUI, (with endless options) pretty neat !enter image description here

it can be the solution.

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+1 Wow, thanks for sharing the utility! I'm going to download it and play with the settings. –  Ellesa Jul 9 '11 at 17:59
    
I didn't succeed to make it work on my machine (port thing), however there is complete instruction on how to deploy it, tell me it you get something –  Revolter Jul 9 '11 at 19:19
    
lower the gamma, red, green and blue to the minimum level did a great job I think +1 –  Shashwat Tripathi Aug 4 '13 at 15:06

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