Disable adaptive contrast/brightness on new UWD/DCH drivers

Introduction

Does the brightness of your Windows laptop screen appear to flicker like it has a mind of its own? If so, you may have already tried one or more of the following solutions for Intel GPUs:

  • Disabling adaptive brightness in Windows 10 settings app
    • Settings – System – Display – uncheck “Change brightness automatically when lighting changes”
  • Applying a widely cited FeatureTestControl=9250 regkey modification via a DPST control script or manual registry edits

On newer versions of Windows 10 and newer versions of Intel GPU device driver software, these methods won’t work and you may still get brightness and flickering issues as the hardware and software struggle to balance power consumption vs image quality & consistency. Below are a set of steps you can take to mitigate these issues for systems with Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm GPUs.

For Intel or Intel+NVIDIA GPU systems:

  1. Uninstall any versions of the Intel Command Center app you may already have.
  2. Download and install the Dell.com version of the Intel Command Center app.
  3. Open the Intel Graphics Command Center app and change the settings
    • If the app won’t run, settings mysteriously revert to defaults, or if settings are missing or greyed out,  install the latest official Intel.com GPU driver, reboot, and then re-run the app.
    • If settings are still missing, try the BETA app which may reveal more options on certain PCs.
  4. Start – Intel Graphics Command Center
    • System – Power
    • if available, switch “Display Power Savings” and “Adaptive brightness” off
    • if available, switch “panel self-refresh” off  to workaround periodic freezing issues on Surface Pro 4 and other systems
    • Apply
    • Yes
    • command-power
  5. Optional: Select the battery icon on the Windows taskbar
    • Move the slider to the Best performance setting

Alternate Solution for Intel – regkey method:

An alternative to applying settings manually via the Intel command center app is applying the regkey settings directly. This can be particularly helpful for IT admins deploying multiple systems where callbacks due to the flickering is expected. This approach may not work for all systems and depending on which version of the Intel GPU drivers are installed, some registry keys may not be present.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
;Disable DPST on Intel UWD/DCH drivers - dancharblog
;
; -----Instructions: -----
;- copy this text into notepad
;- save as DPST-off.reg
;- double-click the file and follow the prompts to import changes
;- reboot
;- if the changes don't do anything, in the line below that starts with "[HKEY_" change "\0001" to "\0000" or "\0002" and retry the above steps
; ------------------------
;
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001]
"ACUserPreferencePolicy"=dword:09020000
"DCUserPreferencePolicy"=dword:09020000
"DisplayFeatureControl"=dword:000003e3
"Dpst6_3ApplyExtraDimming"=dword:00000000
"FeatureTestControl"=dword:00008200
"PowerAcPolicy"=dword:c1bac1ba
"PowerDcPolicy"=dword:c9bac0b8
"PowerDpstAggressivenessLevel"=dword:00000001
"PowerGpsAggressivenessLevel"=dword:00000001
"PowerPlanAwareFeatureSettings"=hex:ff,ff,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,01,02,00,00,00,02,01,02,00,02,01,02,01,02,00,02,01,02,01,02,00,02,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,01,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00,06,00,00,00,04,00,00,00,00,01,00,00

For AMD GPU systems:

  1. Select the battery icon on the Windows taskbar
    • Move the slider to the Best performance setting
  2. Install the AMD Radeon settings app from the Microsoft Store (Note – if this version fails to install, complete step 3 to install the AMD.com drivers. If this step succeeds, skip step 3)
  3. Install AMD.com Radeon GPU driver:
    • Download the latest official .exe Radeon driver from amd.com
    • Start –  Device Manager
    • Navigate to “Display Adapters” and double-click the AMD Radeon device
    • Driver tab -> Update Driver -> Browse my computer… -> Let me pick…
    • Scroll to the bottom of the list and click “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter”
    • Click “Next”
    • External monitors will switch off and the screen resolution, refresh rate, and color profile may change
    • Close Device Manager
    • Double-click the .exe driver downloaded from amd.com and follow the prompts
    • Reboot
  4. Open the Radeon settings app and navigate to “Display”
    • If an option for “Vari-Bright” is available, disable it. If not, jump to the alternate regkey solution below.
    • csm_rad2_69b89737b5[1]
  5. If that didn’t work, an alternate approach is to use the regkey method in the section below.
  6. Yet another potential solution is using the legacy AMD Catalyst Control panel which can set the vari-bright regkey and disable the FreeSync option which can cause related issues. The Catalyst package is quite old and has some bugs, so is not recommended for general use.

Alternate Solution for AMD Systems – regkey method

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
;Disable Vari-bright on AMD UWD/DCH drivers - dancharblog
;
; -----Instructions: -----
;- copy this text into notepad
;- save as varibright-off.reg
;- double-click the file and follow the prompts to import changes
;- reboot
;- if the changes don't do anything, in the line below that starts with "[HKEY_" change "\0001" to "\0000" or "\0002" and retry the above steps
; ------------------------
;
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001]
"PP_VariBrightFeatureEnable"=dword:00000000

For Qualcomm Adreno GPU systems:

  1. Ensure firmware is up to date
  2. Select the battery icon on the Windows taskbar
    • Move the slider to the Best performance setting
  3. Start – Device Manager
    • Scroll down and open “Sensors”
    • Double-click “HID Ambient Light Sensor”
    • Click “Driver” – “Disable device” – “Yes”

Please share your findings with these settings. In particular, please report whether you still see flicker/dimming symptoms in office apps, full screen video/movies, or gaming/3D graphics workloads on and off AC/Mains power.



How to determine regkeys adjusted via the Intel Command center app:

I used the Procmon utility from SysInternals.com to track the exact regkey changes when using the Intel Control Panel UI. Here are some of the records that changed:

1:32:51.9971838 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCreateKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS Desired Access: Write, Disposition: REG_OPENED_EXISTING_KEY
1:32:51.9972349 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegSetValue HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001\PowerPlanAwareFeatureSettings SUCCESS Type: REG_BINARY, Length: 256, Data: FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 01
1:32:51.9973189 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCloseKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS
1:32:51.9973375 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCreateKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS Desired Access: Write, Disposition: REG_OPENED_EXISTING_KEY
1:32:51.9973773 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegSetValue HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001\DCUserPreferencePolicy SUCCESS Type: REG_DWORD, Length: 4, Data: 131072
1:32:51.9974273 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCloseKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS
1:32:51.9974438 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCreateKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS Desired Access: Write, Disposition: REG_OPENED_EXISTING_KEY
1:32:51.9974809 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegSetValue HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001\ACUserPreferencePolicy SUCCESS Type: REG_DWORD, Length: 4, Data: 131072
1:32:51.9975289 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCloseKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS
1:32:51.9975456 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCreateKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS Desired Access: Write, Disposition: REG_OPENED_EXISTING_KEY
1:32:51.9975823 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegSetValue HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001\PowerDcPolicy SUCCESS Type: REG_DWORD, Length: 4, Data: 3384453560
1:32:51.9976303 PM GfxCentennial.exe 5156 RegCloseKey HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001 SUCCESS

I then exported the registry keys before and after changing the settings.


References:

17 thoughts on “Disable adaptive contrast/brightness on new UWD/DCH drivers

  1. Thank you for posting this. It still dims for me when i view something dark on the screen (drives me nuts when editing photos – i’ve selected dark mode on photoshop and capture one) but just momentarily. Definitely not as aggressive as before. I can also see that “PowerDpstAggressivenessLevel” is changed on the fly by intel command center. Happened only once so far but something to keep in mind.

    Once again thanks!

    Like

  2. Reporting here that “PowerDpstAggressivenessLevel” is reverted back to default value after every restart. But still, it’s an easy fix when you know this.

    Like

    • The Go 2 uses the same Intel drivers so best to load up the Intel Command Center app and change the settings there. If you want to do it via the registry you’ll have to change a lot more than FeatureTestControl.

      Like

  3. The DPST-off.reg reg file doesnt work when you copy paste it and run, Windows says it is not a reg file. Please correct it or put a reg file on the blog.

    Like

      • Will this also work for other devices, not just Surface? I have a Dell XPS 15 9570, and I am just hating Intel so much, because recently, it started again, that this damn automatic dimming kicks in, and is buggy, when you switch from battery back to power chord, and it still dims. The only way to fix this is to reboot Windows 10. The most disgusting thing is, there is NO option anymore with latest Intel drivers in this damn UWP app for power chord, it is now missing, and you cant disable the power saving options anymore. Intel is a total joke.

        Like

          • Sadly the damn beta app causes a bug, that the fans kick in for no reason for a few seconds if you switch to modern standby, with the Intel Beta app installed… also with the beta app, the power chord tab is there, BUT the dimming option is missing! Just the option for screen self refresh is there… I love Intel.

            Like

          • Well that is disappointing. Would you mind posting the contents of this registry key: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}

            Just run regedit.exe then, navigate to this location, right click on it and select “export”. Then post the contents of that file to http://pastebin.com or a similar website.

            The contents of the regkey may offer clues as to what is wrong.

            Like

      • how incompetent is Intel actually? I wrote to them about the issue and they told me I should install the drivers from Dell and not their own. seriously?

        Like

        • Yeah that sounds like Intel 1st layer PC/Windows tech support: pass the buck to the OEM vendor. Then OEM passes it back to Intel and user is left frustrated and goes to Chromebook or Mac after umpteen useless suggestions to reboot and refresh the OS…

          Speak with your wallet and do a warranty claim or RMA with your PC vendor. Its the only thing that absolutely costs the vendors money and makes them care. Just having an agent answer the phone can cost a vendor a flat rate of $10-15 depending on who they are contracting with…. staying on the line to get to lvl2/lvl3 or having 1-2 follow-up calls basically eliminates ANY profit they made on the PC sale. Have enough of those across a model family and they will take notice…

          Like

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