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My monitor has a “Degauss” button and when I press it my screen gets zapped for a second. Is that what it’s supposed to do?

By pressing that button you scare the bad magnetism out of your monitor. OK, let’s get more technical.

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors aim electrons onto the display screen by creating magnetic fields inside. Outside magnetic forces—for instance, the Earth’s magnetic field—can cause distorted images or colors. Degaussing realigns the magnetic fields inside the CRT to make up for the magnetism outside.

The term is derived from Johann Gauss, a mathematician who studied electro-magnetic fields. Another interesting fact: since the Earth’s magnetic fields in the Northern and Southern hemisphere are different, manufacturers make different monitors depending on where you live. If you take your northern monitor down south you may get image and color distortion.

Many manufacturers include an internal coil that will degauss when you turn the monitor on. If you have a flat screen monitor (LCD) there’s no need to degauss since it does not work with magnetic fields.

~ David