How to change your display’s refresh rate on Windows 11

How to change your display’s refresh rate on Windows 11

Over the years, displays – particularly gaming monitors – have been coming out with increasingly high refresh rates. Most recently, Asus introduced a monitor with an incredible 500Hz refresh rate – arguable faster than most people could even comprehend. But that’s just the thing – sometimes you don’t need a crazy high refresh rate, and having it enabled can use a lot more power than necessary. Thankfully, Windows 11 makes it easy to change the refresh rate on your monitor or built-in display.

Before we get into it, it may be worth clarifying what is the refresh rate of a monitor. The refresh rate, usually measured in hertz (Hz) is how often the monitor updates the image it’s displaying. Even with a still image, monitors are constantly updating the information they display. One hertz means the display is being updated once per second, so with a 500Hz monitor, it’s being updated 500 times per second. A higher refresh rate means motion and animations look more natural and smooth, whereas a low refresh rate can make things look stuttery. Most displays, particularly non-gaming ones, have a 60Hz refresh rate, which is good enough for most users. But for gaming monitors, those numbers keep going up.

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The thing is, a higher refresh rate means the monitor has to be using more power to update as quickly as possible. That may not make a huge difference with a monitor plugged into a wall, but if you have a laptop that’s constantly running with a high refresh rate, it will eat through the battery much more quickly. Some laptops can switch refresh rates automatically when they’re not plugged in, but if yours can’t, here’s how can change the refresh rate of your display on Windows 11.

How to change your refresh rate on Windows 11

Changing the refresh rate of your monitor on Windows 11 is actually a very straightforward process, and you can do it in the Settings app. You may also be able to do it within your driver settings or using an app from your PC manufacturer, but those will vary depending on what PC you have. This method is universal, so here’s how it works:

  1. Open the Start menu and then the Settings app.
  2. In the System section (which opens by default), choose Display.
  3. Click Advanced display to see information about your connected monitors.
    Windows 11 display settings with Advanced display option highlighted
  4. At the top, you can choose which display you want to configure. If you have more than one, make sure you’re changing the right one.
    Windows 11 advanced display settings
  5. Below your display information, click the dropdown menu next to Choose a refresh rate. In this example, our monitor supports a wide range of options between 50Hz and 144Hz, but it will vary depending on your monitor.
    Choosing a display refresh rate in Windows 11 Settings
    Some displays may also support a dynamic refresh rate, which means it goes faster when there’s a lot of motion, and slower when it’s displaying a still image, so it only uses more power when it needs to.
  6. Choose the option you want to use, and it’ll be applied automatically.
  7. Windows will ask you to confirm the change, so if you notice any issues, you can revert it easily. Click Keep changes if you want to confirm the new refresh rate, or it will revert automatically after 15 seconds.

And that’s all you need to do to change the refresh rate of your display on Windows 11. If you want to change it again, you can always repeat these steps to change it back. You may also need to change the refresh rate for multiple monitors if you want them all to give you the same experience.

If you have a gaming laptop or desktop PC with a gaming monitor, you may also be able to use an adaptive refresh rate in games using AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync. Settings for adaptive refresh rates are found in the Nvidia Control Panel or AMD Radeon Software, so you’ll have to check there if you want to see those options. Generally, monitors that support adaptive refresh rates will automatically be set up that way, though.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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