How many dead pixels can dance on the head of a pin? Evidently a whole bunch since they are really, really small. So why should you care...

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How many dead pixels can dance on the head of a pin? Evidently a whole bunch since they are really, really small. So why should you care about dead pixels?

Pixels are individual, tiny points of light that together form what you see on the PC monitor. The word “pixel” is derived from “picture” and “element” or, in other words, a pixel is the smallest single unit that makes up the images at which you are looking.

If you want to compare the size of a single pixel to something you see on the screen, the dimensions of a single period cut into quarters is a fairly good average size reference.

Pixel location

Why should you care if something so tiny happens to die? That really depends on where the dead pixel’s location on your screen happens to be.

If, for example, the dead pixel happens to be near the edge of the screen, chances are you probably won’t notice it.

But if that dead pixel suddenly appears within the centrally located viewing area, you’re going to notice it sooner than later.

If you’re playing games or doing something that’s fairly graphics-intensive, you may not notice the dead pixel at first.

An animated display will usually conceal a dead pixel fairly well. But if you’re doing word processing that displays a solid white background or anything with a solid color field, that dead pixel is really going to stand out.

The amount of angst over a dead pixel is directly proportional to the cost of the screen. So what can you do about a dead pixel? Can it be fixed? Maybe, if it’s a “stuck” pixel and not a dead one. Sometimes a stuck pixel can be resurrected.

There are a few things you can try before you give up and have to buy a new screen.

Pressure method

You can try the pressure method. Note where the stuck pixel is and turn off the screen. Take a soft cloth to protect the screen’s surface and use something pointed like a pen or pencil to apply some gentle pressure on the area. Then turn the screen back on while maintaining the pressure.

Remove the pressure and hopefully the stuck pixel will be resurrected. If not, try the tapping method: While the screen is on, find a solid-color image to highlight the only-stuck pixel.

Using a pen or stylus with a rounded tip, gently tap the stuck pixel. If nothing happens, try tapping a little harder. Of course, this may cause more damage than you originally had, so be careful when doing this.

Finally, if none of the above works, there’s a free Web site ( that displays an active graphic animation that’s designed to “exercise” stuck pixels into becoming unstuck.

Simply drag the image over the stuck-pixel area and let it stay there for about an hour.

“Massaging” attempt

According to, it will try to “massage” the stuck pixel back to life again.

There’s even some full-screen versions to try so as to protect the rest of your screen while you’re chanting over your dead pixels.

Who knows? They may be restored, maybe they won’t. You have nothing to lose but your dignity when doing this one, so obviously do it alone.

So there you have it. Three things you can try to raise a pixel from the dead.

If and when a tiny darkness falls upon your screen, now you’re prepared for a pixel resurrection.