Photoshop Screen Flickering Black & White in Windows 11/10

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Over the past few years, several Adobe Photoshop users have reported encountering a screen flickering issue on Windows 11 and 10 platforms when opening a file. The screen either flickers black and white or, in some cases, while utilizing certain tools such as the brush tool or moving the canvas around. This article aims to discuss this peculiar problem and explore some of the possible solutions proposed by the community.

Also see: Windows 11 Screen Flickering After Login Following Update

Photoshop Screen Flickering Black and White in Windows 11 or 10

A look at the Photoshop flickering problem

When the issue occurs, users typically experience a constant white or black strobe on the Photoshop workspace. The problem is seemingly random, occurring only when the user is operating within Photoshop, and does not manifest in other software or games. Furthermore, the issue seems particularly pronounced when using specific graphic card settings or when exporting a clipboard.

It’s worth noting that these problems seem to affect Windows systems equipped with Nvidia GPUs, primarily, although not exclusively, when using external monitors. Furthermore, older graphics cards that don’t support all of the aspects of DirectX 12 tend to exhibit these symptoms more frequently.

Linked issue: Second Monitor Keeps Flickering or Going Black Randomly

Possible fixes to the Photoshop screen flickering issue

Here are some step-by-step instructions to address the Photoshop screen flickering black and white problem in Windows 11 or 10.

Disabling G-Sync or FreeSync

Several instances of this problem have been resolved by adjusting the sync settings of the display. If you have a monitor with features like G-Sync or FreeSync enabled, these could be causing the flickering. Most contemporary applications aim to render as few frames as possible in idle states to maximize efficiency. However, some IPS or VA panels might react unfavorably to these frame rate fluctuations, leading to improper brightness control. Disabling G-Sync or FreeSync may solve the problem:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel. Alternatively, you can search for it via the Start menu.Open Nvidia Control Panel Windows 11
  2. In the left panel, click on “Set up G-SYNC” under the Display section.
  3. Uncheck the “Enable G-SYNC” checkbox.Fix Photoshop Screen Flickering
  4. Click Apply to save the changes.
  5. Restart Photoshop and check whether the issue persists.

Useful tip: Force App or Game to Use Nvidia GPU or Integrated Graphics

Adjusting Photoshop’s performance settings

Adobe Photoshop uses the graphics processor unit (GPU) of your computer for tasks like drawing, painting, and adjusting images. However, some graphics cards might not fully support these features, leading to display issues like screen flickering. To fix this, you can adjust Photoshop’s performance settings as follows:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop. On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on “Edit“.Photoshop Edit Option
  2. From the dropdown menu, hover over “Preferences“, then click on “Performance” from the side menu that appears.Adobe Photoshop Preferences Performance Settings
  3. Under the Performance tab, look for the Graphics Processor Settings section.
  4. Uncheck the box labeled “Use Graphics Processor“. This action will disable GPU acceleration, potentially solving some display issues.Disable Use Graphics Processor in Photoshop
  5. Optionally, under the same Performance tab, check the box labeled “Legacy Compositing“. This enables a simpler form of layer compositing, which might improve compatibility with certain systems.
  6. Click OK to save your changes.

After adjusting these settings, close Photoshop and reopen it to ensure the changes take effect.

Related resource: Check Graphics Card on Windows 11/10 (NVIDIA, AMD or Intel)

Using older GPU mode

If you have an older graphics card, especially one made before 2016, you might experience compatibility issues with newer versions of Photoshop. Adobe has acknowledged this issue and provided a feature to address it:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop. On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on “Edit“.
  2. From the dropdown menu, hover over “Preferences“, then click on “Technology Previews” from the side menu that appears.
  3. Check the box labeled “Use Older GPU Mode“. This option is specifically designed for pre-2016 GPUs to improve compatibility.Photoshop Flickering Black and White
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

Make sure to close and reopen Photoshop after making these changes to ensure the new setting takes effect.

Disabling Photoshop’s Native Canvas settings

The Native Canvas is a new feature introduced in Photoshop to provide smoother panning, zooming, and navigating documents. However, it can cause display issues on certain systems. If you’re experiencing flickering, try disabling this feature:

  1. In Photoshop, click on “Edit” on the menu bar at the top of the screen.
  2. From the dropdown menu, hover over “Preferences“, then click on “Technology Previews” from the side menu that appears.
  3. Check the box labeled “Deactivate Native Canvas“. This disables the use of the native canvas for rendering, potentially fixing the flickering issue.Deactivate Native Canvas to fix Photoshop flickering
  4. Click OK to save your changes.

After disabling the native canvas, restart Photoshop and see if the flickering issue has been resolved.

Updating Photoshop and graphics driver

Ensure your Photoshop software and graphics drivers are updated. In some cases, the flickering issue is linked to older graphics cards that don’t support all aspects of DirectX 12. In these instances, updating Photoshop to version 24.5 or later and enabling the Older GPU Mode option in Preferences > Technology Previews > “Use Older GPU Mode (pre 2016)” may help. Moreover, regularly check for GPU driver updates and install them when available.

Update graphics driver Nvidia

Disabling “Export Clipboard”

A few users have reported success after unchecking “Export Clipboard” feature in Photoshop. This feature allows other applications to use the content you’ve copied within Photoshop. However, this can sometimes cause issues with display. Here’s how to disable it:

  1. In Photoshop, click on “Edit” on the menu bar at the top of the screen.
  2. From the dropdown menu, click on “Preferences“, then click on “General” from the side menu that appears.Photoshop Preferences General Options
  3. In the General tab, look for the Export Clipboard option.
  4. Uncheck the box labeled “Export Clipboard” to disable this feature.Photoshop Screen Flickering in Windows 11 10
  5. Click OK to save your changes.

After making these changes, you should close and reopen Photoshop to ensure that the new settings take effect.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these solutions can vary depending on your system’s specific configurations and the exact cause of the screen flickering problem. If none of these solutions work, you may need to consider updating your graphics card to a more modern model, as recommended by Adobe.

Lastly, keep your software updated. Adobe frequently releases updates to Photoshop that fix known issues. Keeping your software up-to-date ensures you benefit from these fixes and can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing problems such as screen flickering. If the problem persists after trying these steps, you might consider seeking advice from Adobe’s technical support or updating your graphics card to a newer model.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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