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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | Video and Image Optimization ]

Adjust the Screen Resolution

Some people don't realize that they can change the resolution of their display. The resolution of the screen refers to the number of pixels (dots) that can be displayed. The default resolution for Windows is normally 640x480, but many people today run at 800x600 or 1024x768, or even higher resolutions. There are tradeoffs involved in choosing the screen resolution, which is why there isn't a universal standard. You can either increase or decrease the screen resolution, depending on your needs. You will also want to take into account the size of your monitor; large monitors obviously handle higher resolutions much better.

Increasing the screen resolution has one primary benefit: you have more screen area to work with, and therefore can have more windows open and/or see more of the documents you are working on. It has several drawbacks: slower video performance (not generally noticeable unless your system is very slow to begin with or you are running video-intensive software like action games); small details that are harder to perceive; a potentially lower refresh rate which may cause flicker on some monitors; and also less support for higher color depths on most video cards (most support their highest color depths only at lower resolutions).

Decreasing the screen resolution makes it harder for you to work with multiple windows, and means you'll be doing a lot more scrolling in your documents. It however will yield better video performance, more clarity for seeing small objects, a faster refresh rate and more options for color depth.

There are several ways to change the screen resolution:

  • Use the utility that your video card manufacturer provided with the video card for changing the screen resolution.
  • Use the Microsoft PowerToy "QuickRes", which sits in the system tray (on the Windows 95 Task Bar) and looks like a small blue computer screen.
  • Go into the Control Panel (under Settings on the Start Menu), select the "Display" icon, select the "Settings" tab and change the "Desktop area" slider.

Next: Adjust the Image Color Depth

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