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If your Surface Pro, Laptop or Book display suddenly shifts brightness at night time or when switching applications these simple registry tricks will solve it.

Adaptive Brightness and Adaptive Contrast are two mechanisms by which the Surface Book's Laptops and Surface Pro change the brightness and contrast of the screen depending on the ambient conditions and what you are viewing.

Surface Book 2 can attach backwards to be easier to watch films in bed

Surface Book 2 can attach backwards to be easier to watch films in bed

Adaptive brightness in Windows 10 works similar to how your phone adjusts the brightness of the screen depending on the light it perceives. This prevents the screen from being brightly lit at all times and saves battery life when the computer isn't being charged.

Adaptive contrast auto-adjusts aspects of the screen based on light or dark scenes. This can give a richer experience to gaming and movies, however, it is very difficult to work with photos where you need accurate colour representation. It can also be annoying if you regularly switch between a "dark mode" application and a white, or light, web page as the screen ramps up the brightness.

How to Fix Surface Screen Dimming Problems

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

You can easily enable or disable the adaptive brightness feature from the advanced options in your current power plan. To do that head to the Start Menu and search for "Power & Sleep settings". Open the link that appears.

In the related settings section, click the link for Additional Power Settings.

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

In the window that pops up, click on Change Plan Settings next to the selected power plan.

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

In this new window, find and click on the link for "Change advanced power settings".

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Now locate the Display options, then Enable adaptive brightness. From here you can turn the options off to disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10.

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Disable Adaptive Brightness in Windows 10

Disable Adaptive Contrast in Windows 10

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to disable the adaptive contrast. While many users combine the two, disabling auto-brightness won't solve this behaviour if it bothers you. Microsoft does not offer any way to disable adaptive contrast through the Windows 10 interface, so the only way to do it is through the registry.

Warning: Modifying the system registry can have dire repercussions if not followed precisely, including driver failures, system instability, or not being able to boot into Windows. Users are always encouraged to run a system backup before making any changes to the registry.

Launch RegEdit and navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001.

Scroll down to mid-page, and then find FeatureTestControl and double-click to edit the DWORD Value. Change Value data from 9240 (default) to 9250 (leave in base hexadecimal).

If the value does not exist in this location, instead navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0000. There is a difference between Surface Books, Surface Pro and Windows update versions.

Hit OK to save the changes and restart the Surface to apply changes.

To re-enable the feature, just retrace the above steps and change 9250 back to 9240, save, and restart.

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