10 Ways to Fix Inverted Laptop Screen Colors

Have your screen colors become inverted on your laptop? This issue can be extremely frustrating and drive your eyes crazy. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. There are several causes and fixes for this problem which we’ll work through below.

  1. Magnifier Tool

  2. Hard Reset

  3. Booting in Safe Mode

  4. Graphics card

    a. Graphics card settings
    b. Uninstall/Reinstall graphics card driver
    c. Update graphics card driver

  5. High Contrast Settings

  6. Color Management

  7. Disable visual notifications for sound feature

  8. Registry

  9. System Restore

  10. Replace screen

Magnifier Tool

The most common cause of screen colors inverting is the Magnifier Tool. This is a Windows tool that helps magnify certain parts of your screen. Because Windows wanted to make it easy to access, it’s possible to turn it on without knowing.

Here’s how to turn it off:

Step 1: Press and hold the Windows key + the ‘+’ sign key to open the tool

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Step 2: Press and hold ‘Ctrl + Alt + I’ to revert the screen colors back to normal

Step 3: Close the Magnifier tool by exiting the window

If your screen colors did nothing, or inverted the colors later, move on to the next fix

Hard Reset

The IT phrase we all dread to hear: “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” Don’t roll your eyes just yet! Odds are you have tried this already and it didn’t work, which is why you are here. 

But hang in there and bear with us! You may have restarted your computer via Windows but we’re talking about a hard reset, not just a restart.

Step 1: Turn your laptop off and unplug any peripherals (this includes the AC adapter)

Step 2: Press and hold the power button for 15 seconds

Step 3: When the startup menu opens, use the arrow keys to select ‘Start Windows Normally

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Step 4 (optional but highly recommended): Update Windows

Booting in Safe Mode

If hard resetting your laptop didn’t work for you, follow steps 1-3 above but boot your laptop in ‘Safe Mode with Networking’ instead of ‘Start Windows Normally’Safe mode boots with all of your laptop’s default settings and drivers and is often used to troubleshoot many different types of problems. 

If your laptop boots with normal colors it means that there is an issue with one of your laptop’s drivers or its settings, which we will get into in the following fixes. If the colors are still inverted, you can safely say that your drivers and settings aren’t causing the problem. If this is the case, continue reading or skip to ‘System Restore’.

If you’ve determined with the test above that your drivers or settings are indeed the issue, we need to focus on the drivers and settings that control the colors on your laptop screen. 

Unfortunately, Windows cannot tell us what the problem drivers and settings are, so we have to troubleshoot ourselves. In the following sections, we will look at your laptop’s drivers and settings to troubleshoot which one has caused the issue of your colors becoming inverted.

Graphics Card

Whenever a problem dealing with the graphics or colors on my laptop appears, I always go to the graphics card. It controls basically everything you see on your laptop screen. The graphics card can become out of date or corrupted, causing some pretty crazy issues to arise. 

There are several you can do to rule out if it is your graphics card causing the color inversion on your screen.

Graphics card settings

Most graphics cards have their own software that allows you to configure the card to your liking. These settings can be accidentally turned on or changed and may be causing your screen colors to become inverted.

Step 1: Open your graphics cards’ software (NVIDIA Control Panel, Catalyst Control Center, etc.)

Step 2: Search the graphics card control panel for the ‘Stereoscopic 3D’ feature

Step 3: Disable the feature if it has been enabled

If this feature hasn’t been enabled, move on to the next fix.

Uninstall/Reinstall graphics card

Uninstalling and reinstalling the graphics card driver performs a sort of reset on your graphics card and can often solve the inverted colors problem.

Step 1: Right click the ‘Start’ button and open Device Manager

Step 2: Open the ‘Display Adapters’ dropdown and locate your graphics card(s)

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Step 3: Right click your graphics card, select ‘Uninstall device’

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Step 4: Restart your laptop

Upon restarting your laptop, Windows will recognize the missing driver and automatically reinstall the generic driver version, hopefully solving the inverted colors. If not, on to the next fix!

Update graphics card

If uninstalling and reinstalling the graphics card driver did not work, try updating the graphics card. You can do this one of two ways: via your graphics card’s software or via device manager.

Graphics Card Software

Step 1: Open your graphics card’s software (NVIDIA Control Panel, Catalyst Control Center, etc.)

Step 2: Look for an update to your graphics card’s driver

Step 3: Download and install update

Device Manager

Step 1: Right click the ‘Start’ button and open Device Manager

Step 2: Open the ‘Display Adapters’ dropdown and locate your graphics card(s)

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Step 3: Right click your graphics card, select ‘Update Driver’

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Step 4: Restart your laptop

If this still has not fixed the inverted colors, don’t despair. At least your drivers are up to date! Head on down to the next fix.

High Contrast Settings

High contrast inverts many of the colors on your laptop screen in order for them to be seen easier.

Step 1: Right click the ‘Start’ button, open Settings

Step 2: Select ‘Ease of Access’

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Step 3: Select ‘High Contrast’ in the menu

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Step 4: Turn off High Contrast if it has been enabled

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Color Filters

The color filters setting has the ability to invert the colors of your screen. You can just turn it off for your screen to return to normal.

Step 1: Right click the ‘Start’ button, open Settings

Step 2: Select ‘Ease of Access

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Step 3: Select ‘Color Filters

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Step 4: Turn off color filters, if it has been enabled

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Color Management

It’s always good to check color management when your laptop’s screen colors are on the fritz.

Step 1: Type ‘Color Management’ into the Windows search bar, open Color Management 

Step 2: Navigate to the Advanced tab

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Step 3: Select Change system defaults

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Step 4: Deselect the Use Windows display calibration check box

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Step 5: Close out of Color Management

Disable visual notifications for sound feature

A surprising number of users noted that disabling visual notifications for sound solved the problem of laptop screen colors becoming inverted.

Step 1: Type ‘Control Panel’ in the Windows search bar, open Control Panel

Step 2: Select Ease of Access > Ease of Access Center

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Step 3: Select ‘Use text or visual alternatives for sounds

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Step 4: Deselect ‘Visual alternatives for sounds (Sound Sentry)

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Step 5: Select ‘Apply’, select ‘OK

Registry

The Registry controls many many settings on your laptop and you can make edits to the registry in order to fix those settings.

Step 1: Type ‘Registry Editor’ into the Windows search bar

Step 2: Allow Registry Editor to make changes to your computer

Step 3: Open the register Computer > HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > ScreenMagnifier

Step 4: Double click ‘Invert

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Step 5: Set the value data to 0

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System Restore

A system restore sounds scary but it isn’t. A system restore will not touch any of your data or files, it simply restores your laptop to its default settings and drivers.

Step 1: Type ‘System restore’ into the Windows search bar

Step 2: Select ‘Create a restore point

Step 3: Select the System Restore button, select ‘Next’

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Step 4: Select the restore point you wish to revert to, select ‘Next

Step 5: Continue through the instructions

If the problem has been caused by the drivers or settings of your laptop, the problem should be resolved after this fix. If not, a piece of hardware may be causing the issue.

Hardware Inspection

If the above fixes did nothing to revert your screen colors to normal, you can be fairly sure that a piece of hardware in your laptop is malfunctioning. This could be the screen, the graphics card, or any of the little components that control these things. 

Do not attempt to fix this by yourself. Take your laptop to a professional and explain the issue. They will be able to tell what piece of hardware has failed or is malfunctioning and fix it for you.

Having your screen colors inverted is a frustrating problem that requires some patience and perseverance to fix. Let us know what fix helped revert your laptop colors back to normal in the comments below.

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