Home > Uncategorized > Fixing the Dim Screen in Ubuntu 8.04

Fixing the Dim Screen in Ubuntu 8.04

Dim Screen Issues on a Laptop

After installing Ubuntu 8.04 on my laptop, a Lenovo T-60, I notice the screen was very dim. In fact so dim it hurt my eyes to use it. So I started looking into the possible issues for the dim light on the screen. Of course the first place to look is power management. If you go to Preferences/Power Management you will see several options to dim the screen when the laptop moves to battery use. Of course dimming the screen is all about saving power, the less light that is used you can save power to keep the laptop running longer.

On AC Power

When you are running on AC Power you can dim the screen when the laptop is in idle. You can change this setting by using the slider for a time period.

On Battery Power

The options here include a time period for inactivity and they also include the ability to reduce the backlight brightness and dim the display when idle. All you have to do is click the box to make it happen.

After unchecking all of these options the screen was still unbearably dim. So I started looking at the hardware and recognized the Function Key on the keyboard was an option. You can tell the Function Key as it is labeled “Fn” on the keyboard. Many laptops have this feature to enable you to connect up to a monitor or projector. In addition, I found my keyboard has two keys that I can use to control the light on the screen. These are the “Home” Key (for brighter) and the “End” Key (for darker). Using these in conjunction with the Function key(Fn) worked great! Smooth even changes to the light issues.

  1. Andrew
    May 19, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Your the man. The brightness contrast function key did the trick. On my Dell it’s the function key and the directional arrow keys. I guess the dim when idle feature is a good idea if you conscious about that whole carbon footprint thing but you would think resumed activity should restore the brightness.

    Now if we could figure out the work offline bug…

  2. David
    June 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Dontcha love the internet…. always someone out there who has the answer to your problem. Fn/Home fixed it perfectly.


  3. Michael
    July 31, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Fn up and down worked on my dell. thanks a ton, i was starting to go blind.

  4. Todd
    August 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you!!! That did the trick. They really need to fix this issue, as it’s not very intuitive for the average user. Screen should always be at 100% until the user says that it shouldn’t be.

  5. Greg
    August 21, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks Dude.
    Works on my HP too.

  6. Bob
    October 20, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Hallelujah! Thanks.

  7. Chaanakya
    February 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I have a different problem. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know. My screen is fine and dandy until I put it into suspend. When I resume, the screen is dim and will not respond to the screen brightness keys on my laptop or the Brightness applet on my panel. The worst part is, it wasn’t always like this! Please help if possible. Thanks! I have a Toshiba Portege M200.

  8. toby cornish
    April 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    On my Lenovo SL 500, the Fn + brightness keys ARE REVERSED in Ubuntu! Took me a while to figure that out!

  9. ceteras
    May 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

    On my intel965 based laptop (noname), both Ubuntu 8.04 and Xubuntu 9.10 behave like this:
    – while booting up, at a certain point it dims the display to minimal brightness (on AC power too)
    – I can adjust it to whatever level I want using the keys
    – next time it boots up, it dims it again to darkest levels…

  10. Eran
    July 2, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I have an Inspiron 8600 and the dim keys for it are Fn+up and Fn+down (Fn = function key).

  11. vishwajeet
    July 30, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Thanks for the timely help buddy !
    works perfectly with my Dell Studio.

  12. March 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm


    My little girl played with my keyboard and mouse and moved my entire screen to upper section. I tried everything, and can’t figure it out how to bring it down. I see black color trough of my display. I can go blindly in upper section without being able to see, and from time to time click the shut down bottom. Do you any of you have idea how to fix it? Ubuntu rocks, I love it, very stable, solid rock . . .

    Thank you,

  13. Chaanakya
    March 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    @Jiri: I would go into the terminal and type in sudo dpkg-reconfigure xorg and reboot. When you type that in, you may get a prompt for your password. IT WILL NOT BE SHOWN. Just enter it like you would do to log in 🙂 Hope that works out! 🙂

  14. Yuhan
    November 4, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I found that pressing the Fn switch in combination with the “home” switch does increase the screen’s brightness, but only temporarily. If I let the machine idle for more
    than just a few minutes (say, four or five), the screen resumes its dimmer setting. And then I have to set the toggle switches again. How do you lock the machine into the brighter setting as the default mode? If this dimming tendency is intended to save energy, I am willing to forfeit that in order to have a brighter screen to work with. How do you make the brighter setting the default one, especially when using the battery?

  15. Richard
    July 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Click on the log out button. Select System settings, double click on Power management,click on the on the power battery tab, uncheck reduce backlight brightness. This will stop your screen from going dim. This works in ubuntu 10, I am sure that it works in the earlier versions also. I hope this helps.

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