Fixing the Brightness Problem with HP Laptops… Finally

I’ve been using my HP Pavillon DM1 laptop for almost a year now and it has proven to be the perfect laptop for working while travelling the world. It’s both lightweight and powerful.

But it has had one flaw which has driven me crazy all year. As I mentioned in my review, the laptop had an adaptive brightness issue where the brightness would adjust in distracting, and occasionally really inconvenient ways. Especially annoying was that when I scrolled up and down on calcatraz.com, some of the colors would fade out entirely making it difficult to assess how things would look to my users.

I have tried many times to find a solution, but without success. I’ve been through every display related setting I could find on the laptop. And I searched every way I could think of to describe the problem, but always ended up drawing a blank. Until today…

It started when I found this article on which seemed to be referring to the same issue I was having. It mentioned the AMD catalyst control center’s vari-bright feature. A bit more looking and I found this article which seemed to confirm that the vari-bright feature was to blame. So I figured I’d disable it on my own HP Pavillon and see what happens.

Turns out, however, that, er, I don’t actually have the AMD catalyst control center installed. Huh.

Thinking back, I was almost certain that I had the contros center software, but got rid of it along with all the HP junk that came pre-installed on my laptop. So maybe I still had some AMD drivers lurking around using the configuration from a tool I had long since removed. To test this theory, I ran the AMD Catalyst uninstall tool to remove all AMD drivers. Success! … sort of.

The brightness issue was gone! But my joy was short-lived when I realised that the computer was now missing a suitable screen resolution, leaving the desktop awkwardly stretched to fit the HP pavillon dm1′s wide screen.

So I bit the bullet and ran the AMD auto detect and install tool to reinstall the AMD drivers along with the control center. This fixed the screen resolution, but my arch-nemesis brightness issue was back. But now I was able simply disable vari-bright in the AMD control center (under Power > PowerPlay).

Finally, my screen brightness woes are over and I can enjoy my HP Pavillon as it was meant to be enjoyed – with a beautifully constant brightness level. Life is good, my friends.

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