How to Adjust Windows 7 Screen Resolution

October 29, 2010, By Christian Cawley

To get the most out of a Windows 7 computer, you need to make sure your PC or laptop is operating at its optimum capacity. One of the ways in which you can do this is to choose the right screen resolution.

However, screen resolution can also be important to you as a use; you might enjoy having the slightly larger icons and text afforded by your current resolution, for instance. So it’s really a trade-off between user comfort and making the most out of your virtual desktop area, and is all down to your own personal preference.

But knowing this, how do you then proceed to make the necessary changes? Let’s begin by taking a look at how to change the screen resolution in Windows 7.

Changing the Screen Resolution in Windows 7

Before we start, bear in mind that the current setting for your screen resolution might already be the optimum for your system. You might be using Windows 7 Home Basic or Starter, depending upon where in the world you are, and this will likely restrict your options due to these versions of Windows being targeted at lower spec machines like netbooks.

To access the screen resolution settings, find a piece of empty desktop, right-click and select Screen resolution. Here you can change your display’s appearance – using the Resolution drop down box you can alter the settings to increase or reduce the size of your desktop. This is restricted however, but the capacity of your monitor to display certain resolutions, and a different monitor might display other screen resolutions differently.

You can investigate what your monitor is capable of by going to the Advanced Settings link. This box has a Monitor tab, in which the Properties of the monitor can be accessed, as well as the available Colours and Screen refresh rate. Use the Hide modes that this monitor cannot display check box to limit the choices in the Screen refresh rate drop-down; altering this can leave you with alternatives in the Resolution drop-down menu on the previous screen.

When you have changed screen resolution, click OK – Windows will check that you can see the display in this new format, so confirm the change if you like it and can see it, or ignore the notification if you don’t like it, or your monitor cannot display it. Should this happen, you will see a message from your monitor itself, reading “Signal Out of Range” or similar.

Large Resolution, Small Icons

If you have increased the size of your desktop by altering your desktop resolution, you may find that although you like having all of this extra space, you want to make icons and text larger. This will also work for you current screen resolution, and all you have to do is go to the Make text and other items larger or smaller link on the Change the appearance of your display window.

Here, you can change between the smaller, default 100% size, 125% Medium and 150% Large; changing these will affect all desktop elements. If you would prefer to just alter single parts of your desktop, however, you can use the Magnifier tool, accessible from this same window.

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