What is Screen Tearing? How to fix it in 9 Easy Steps

Have you ever noticed that while playing a game the screen tears a lot? Screen Tearing is an issue that will bother a lot of PC players. It can be a massive distraction causing frustration and a dip in performance during competitive gaming. 

If you are looking to know about screen tearing, then in this post I would help you to know about it in detail with its causes and how you can fix screen tearing.

Let’s get started!

What Is Screen Tearing?

Screen tearing is a common problem with computer monitors that can occur when the monitor or graphics adapter refreshes its image and fails to do so simultaneously. This results in a ‘tear’ or ‘rip’ in the image, most often visible along the horizontal edges of objects on the screen.

What is Screen Tearing

This visual artifact can be very disturbing to a computer user and may lower the gaming experience.

Screen tearing may be noticeable when playing video games or watching movies. 

Screen tearing is most noticeable when the game is in motion and it’s difficult to notice when the game is not in motion. When watching movies, in particular, screen tearing can make it seem like there are “layers” of images on the screen at once.

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Screen tearing is more familiar with desktop monitors than laptop displays because laptops typically use a form of vertical synchronization (V-Sync) that reduces tearing.

What is Causing Screen Tearing?

Screen tearing usually occurs when the monitor is unable to keep up with the data rate of the graphics adapter. This usually occurs because of a slight delay in the data passing from the graphics adapter to the monitor. 

You might be wondering and thinking why is your screen tearing so much? You might even think if your monitor is having any problems.

If you experience screen tearing, then your monitor does not have any defect that causes it. Your monitor is absolutely fine.

Here are the 3 most common causes that is causing screen tearing while gaming:

  • A poorly configured graphics adapter (such as an incorrectly set refresh rate).
  • A feature called VSync (vertical synchronization) is enabled and not supported by the graphics adapter.
  • Using a Low Refresh Rate screens like a Television with your PC. It is good to have a high quality monitor so that the frames delivered by your Graphics Adapter can be easily rendered on the display. Otherwise, it will cause screen tearing. This also happens with old monitors and a good quality Graphics card combination.

How to Fix Screen Tearing? 

Now, as we looked into the causes of Screen Tearing, let’s figure out how you can fix screen tearing during gaming.

Here are the steps below that would help you fix Screen Tearing during gaming:

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1) Troubleshooting Freesync, VSync and G-Sync

There are several ways to eliminate screen tearing. The simplest method is to disable VSync through the graphics adapter settings, but this, of course, will also result in an increased frame rate.

For some, the results from disabling VSync is an undesirable side effect, especially in videos and movies. Also, the increased frame rate may be incompatible with older games that can’t handle such a high frame rate. So, you need to try for turning VSync and Freesync/Gsync on and Off and test the game.

2) Fix screen tearing with Desktop Composition

Desktop Composition can help you fix screen tearing. It will work for almost all graphics cards in the market and is compatible with all versions of windows.

It is the only easy-to-use tool that can fix screen tearing without affecting performance or enabling VSync.

3) Turning Off Frame Limit in Game

You need to force your graphics card to run at a fixed frame rate to fix screen tearing. You can do this by turning off the frame limit feature in the game.
Now you need to match with your GPU’s FPS capability and your monitor max Frame Rate. In the Game settings, check the FPS settings you have set. If you have a 60Hz monitor, you can select 60 FPS in-game settings.
Many times you will notice your Game settings restrict FPS. If it is, you need to increase the FPS settings there. Otherwise, it will throttle the Graphics card rendering.

4) Fix with Tearing Fixer

Tearing fixer is a small program that can fix screen tearing automatically. It works by changing the monitor refresh rate every time you open an application with screen tearing.

The tool is very easy to use and is compatible with all graphics cards and windows.

5) Fix screen tearing with Tearing Free

Tearing Free is a small program that can fix screen tearing. You get a perfectly fixed screen with just one click that will not tear again, even in games. The tool works with all graphics cards and windows. It is very easy to use. 

6) Restarting your PC

Screen tearing is an issue that is caused by the graphics card, which is why restarting your computer often fixes it. So, before moving to any other steps it is recommended to restart your PC.

If restarting your PC does not fix the screen tearing issue, then it is likely due to an issue with your graphics card drivers.

7) Update / Reinstall Graphics Driver

We often forget to update the graphics driver, and we don’t care to update that. To fix screen tearing, you need to update your graphics driver.

Suppose you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP. In that case, you should check to see if the latest graphics driver is installed by going to Control Panel > Device Manager > Display Adapters.

If an update is available, update the driver. If the latest driver is already installed, you might have to uninstall the old driver first before installing the new one. You might need to reboot your laptop after installing the new driver if you are using a laptop. If the problem still exists, you should try updating the graphics driver again.

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8) Disable Adaptive VSync in Game Settings

Many people still get Screen Tearing issues even when they have VSync enabled. This happens when your game has a setting that turns on Adaptive VSync technology, which turns on and Off the VSync at a particular threshold level.

So, when the threshold does not reach, you will see screen tearing. You need to disable the VSync setting inside the game and turn it on in the Graphics card control Panel like the NVidia Control Panel.

9) Improve Gaming Hardware Performance out to Reduce Screen Tearing

Here are the steps that will eliminate any rendering lag if caused by CPU or your RAM. After doing these settings, the CPU would priorities your game performance more, and also the GPU will.

Step 1: Open Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl, Alt, Delete keys. 

Step 2: Click the Details tab.

Step 3: Right-click the game’s executable file and select Set Priority.

Step 4: Set Priority to High. In Default, it stays at Normal Priority.

Step 5: Click on Set Affinity and check if all the CPU cores are selected there properly. It would help to ensure all the cores work properly.

Step 6: Click OK and exit Task Manager.

Is Screen Tearing bad?

Screen tearing would not affect your monitor, CPU or your GPU lifetime or performance. However, screen tearing is annoying to most people.

With some games, screen tearing can be especially frustrating, as it will cause your crosshairs to move erratically or just disappear completely, making it hard to hit your targets. You will play a game and notice that the images would be torn horizontally and look distorted.

It hampers a good gaming experience, though the graphics quality is high. The images appear torn, and edges are not correctly reflected on the different objects and characters in games. 

How do I Get Rid of Screen Tearing without Vsync?

Alternative technologies like G-Sync from Nvidia and FreeSync from AMD are very effective in reducing screen tearing as Vsync is. 

You can choose a G-Sync or FreeSync monitor, or you can check if your monitor already has any one of them. Also, you can adjust the FPS of your graphics card as per the refresh rate supported by your monitor.

For example, if you are playing on a 1080p monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate, then set your graphics card to output 1080p with a 60Hz refresh rate. This will reduce the amount of frames the graphics card outputs, which will in turn help with screen tearing.

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Does FreeSync Eliminate Screen Tearing?

FreeSync technology from AMD is a great way to sync your monitor Refresh Rate with your GPU. So, using FreeSync is an excellent way to eliminate Screen Tearing.

You need to check if your monitor supports FreeSync, then you can customize your FPS rendering to prevent tearing during your gameplay.

Does High FPS cause Screen Tearing?

High FPS games usually mean better graphics, but they can come at the cost of Screen tearing. Unless your monitor supports that high FPS delivered by your Graphics card, it will cause screen tearing issues.

You need to adjust the FPS according to what your monitor supports. Increasing to high FPS is good only when your monitor supports those same High frames to give you the proper output.

Can a CPU cause Screen Tearing?

CPU does not have any role in screen tearing during gaming. The torn graphics rendered in your game are caused not because of your CPU’s processing power. Because of the sync issue of your monitor’s refresh rate and GPU’s Frames per second delivered.

FAQs on Screen Tearing

Q: Does 60Hz cause screen tearing?

Ans: 60Hz being the standard for most monitors, it can still cause screen tearing if you have a Graphics card that delivers more than 60fps. This is when your graphics card’s frames will play out of order and can cause visual distortion. If you want to avoid screen tearing, make sure you buy a monitor capable of a higher refresh rate or tunes your graphics card to lower FPS settings.

Q: Why am I getting screen tearing with Vsync on and capped FPS?

Ans: You can even experience screen Tearing with VSync on. It is mostly because your game uses Adaptive VSync and not proper VSync. The Adaptive VSync would turn on at a particular threshold to sync the monitor’s Refresh rate to the GPU’s FPS. When it is off, you will experience screen tearing. So, you need to turn it off in Game and Enable its settings directly at the Graphics Card Control Panel. 

Q: Can a bad HDMI cable cause screen tearing?

Ans: A bad HDMI cable can cause a delay in rendering the frames of the gaming graphics on the monitor. So, a lag in rendering would cause Screen Tearing during your gaming. If you are looking to upgrade your gaming graphics or fix Screen Tearing, replace your HDMI cable with the best HDMI cable that supports the gaming graphics.

Q: Does Displayport reduce screen tearing?

Ans: Displayport would not reduce screen tearing. It is mainly caused due to your graphics card sync issue with your monitor. So, if your previous cable got bad, only you will benefit from choosing a new Display port cable.

Conclusion

Let’s conclude the post on Screen Tearing and how you can fix it easily.

Screen tearing is not necessarily an image quality problem. It usually occurs because your graphics adapter fails to refresh its screen correctly. If the options above don’t work, your graphics adapter or monitor may be faulty.  

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found this helpful.