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I have tried to alter it but so far had no luck. I am unsure how to turn adaptive brightness off, and when i attemt to change my settings, it says 'balanced' is my only option in regards to display settings

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  • You tried to alter what, exactly? What you describe doesn’t sound like adaptive brightness to me.
    – Daniel B
    May 13, 2020 at 12:42
  • Like, current brightness? Have you tried to simply adjust it?
    – gronostaj
    May 13, 2020 at 12:48
  • yes i have it on max when i look in my settings, it just always dims a little when taken off charge and im unsure as to why and would like to turn it off. May 13, 2020 at 13:22
  • What operating system - no mention. Windows 10, Start , Settings, System and there is an additional setting there that dims the display when you unplug the AC. Set both to the same and then it will not dim when you unplug.
    – John
    May 13, 2020 at 17:22
  • where do i go from system. what additional setting do i alter? May 13, 2020 at 17:35

3 Answers 3

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It's unclear what you have tried so far.

There are many different ways you can turn OFF or ON adaptive brightness

  1. In windows settings
  2. In windows control panel
  3. Command prompt with PowerCFG
  4. Using a specific control panel that is part of your video driver
  5. Disable Adaptive brightness service (if above is not working)
  6. Changing some registry settings (is probably very video driver specific and not recommended)

A good overview can be found over here: Tenforums article

Option 5 is explained in following article

Sometimes there could also be a driver problem that hinders you to change these settings. Check Lenovo's site for more recent video drivers

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Some laptops have more brightness control options than others (and generally much more than desktops). I know of three possible options that you may want to check, in order.

1. Battery saver

All machines that have a battery and a programmatic brightness control (and a manufacturer's platform driver for it) have that option, AFAIK.

Press and release Windows key, and start typing "battery" until you see "Battery saver settings". Select it to start the Settings app at the right page.

First look at the battery level indicator. If it does not reach 100% after a reasonable charging time, you have a hardware problem that needs to be fixed by an authorized shop, under warranty or otherwise. If it does show 100%, check if the following combination of settings cause dimming:

  • The battery saver threshold slider set to 100% (default is 20%).
  • Both check boxes titled "Turn battery saver on when on battery" and "Lower screen brightness" are on.

These settings tell the computer to dim even if the battery is fully charged. Turn the slider down to either default 20% or a higher value if you want more runtime, and you are set. (Personally, I have it at 70%. It's good to have options, in the end!)

If the threshold is way below the current battery level, and the small switch below the slider "Battery status until..." remains grayed out when you pull the cord, this is not the cause of your brightness change.

2. Power plan with a dimming control

Not all laptops expose this function to Windows, even they have a Windows slider to control brightness. I do not understand what makes some of them do and other not.

While in the same "Battery" screen, look for "Power and sleep" on the left and select it. Look for the heading "Related settings" and click on "Additional power settings." You'll get the "classic" Windows dialog, looking differently from the new "Metro" style. You may see one or more plans; one of these will be selected by a radio button. Click on "Change plan settings". If you see a link "Show settings that are currently unavailable", click it (you may need to confirm through UAC screen that you did initiate the action". You'll see two columns, "On battery" and plugged in, and two to four rows of settings. If you have more than two rows and are lucky, you'll see 2 horizontal brightness sliders, one for battery mode, and another for wall power mode. Matching them will solve your problem.

If you do not see them, also click on "Change advanced power settings" below the grid of controls. A dialog opens. If it shows "Enable options that are hidden," do that. Then, in the tree view, find Display end expand it. Depending on what controls the laptop driver exposes to Windows, you many see 1 to 6 (!) options under it. One of them is titled Display Brightness. When you expand it, it opens 2 additional items, "On battery" and "Plugged in". If you see this option, you're lucky and almost done, just match the values. But hold on, and check out the next item, it may be right there in the same dialog, even same subtree.

3. Adaptive brightness control

Only machines equipped with an ambient light sensor, in addition to programmatic brightness control, have it.

In the same Display subtree, you may have the setting "Adaptive brightness", IIRC, or something (I'm playing it all from memory, I do not have these advanced controls in my laptop). Again, expanding it opens separate On/Off dropboxes for plugged-in and power mode. If they set to different values (either way), brightness may change when switching from wall power to battery. Set them to the save value, whichever you prefer.


I am sure the list above is not exhaustive. There are many intricacies in Windows poer control, which require cooperation between laptop hardware, drivers that expose these functions to Windows, and Windows itself. The general rule of Windows interface is:

  • If something is not available because the user set some options, and thus can do something to enable it, then it's grayed out.
  • If something is not available because of the reasons beyond user's control, it's hidden.

This is why there is such a big variety of what some people see and other do not. Also, it's a good idea to update platform drivers to the latest available from the manufacturer's site: they may add options, or fix something which is broken ans causes your issue.

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If the balanced power plan is your only option, then it can be due to System Corruption.

Press Windows + X and select Command Prompt (Admin). Then type:

sfc /scannow

If that fails, then try:

dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

I have a Lenovo Laptop and basically I made that whenever I unplug the charger, the brightness dims. Although I believe that most of the laptops do that to save battery but I don't know. You can change the brightness when your laptop is plugged or unplugged in Windows Settings app.

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