Change screen resolution on all operating systems
Screen resolution is a term describing the amount of separate dots of color (called "pixels") on a computer screen at any given time. All modern computers allow different resolution options, and this setting can be changed at any time. This option is presented as pixels horizontally, by pixels vertically ("1024 by 768", or "1280 by 1024".) A display set to 1024 by 768 indicates there are 1024 individual pixels across the monitor, and 768 from top to bottom.
For example, a basic television set has a display resolution of about 640 by 480, whereas an HDTV has a resolution up to 1920 by 1080. This higher resolution gives the appearance of a sharper, clearer picture.
The method to change the display resolution varies from one operating system to another. The procedures below explain each method in detail:
Windows 95 - Windows XP
Resolution in Windows XP is changed via the Display Properties control panel application. Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, 2000 Server, 2003 Server, and XP have an identical method to change this setting.
To begin, right-click an unoccupied position of the desktop (meaning, do not click an icon or open window) The Properties option is inside this context menu. Left-click Properties. This opens the Display Properties window. There are several tabs available at the top of the window. One tab is Settings. Left-click the Settings tab. The bottom left corner of this window contains the options to increase or decrease screen resolution. Drag the slider to the desired setting, then click the Apply button.
After the change, Windows will request confirmation on the new settings. If nothing appears after the resolution change, Windows will revert to the previous resolution after 15 seconds.
Windows Vista separated the older Windows "Display Properties" program in to several smaller applications.
To begin, right-click an open area of the desktop (meaning, do not click an icon or open window.) The Customize option is inside this context menu. Left-click Customize, then the computer customization window will appear. Near the bottom is the Display Settings option. Left-click Display Settings. The resolution option is near the bottom of the window. Drag the slider to the desired setting, then click the Apply button.
After the change, Windows will request confirmation on the new settings and may request a system restart. If nothing appears after the resolution change, Windows will revert to the previous resolution after 15 seconds.
Mac OS 9
OS 9's resolution setting is in the "Monitor" control panel. Click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of the screen. Move the mouse cursor over the Control Panels option, then click Monitors. The display resolution can be affected, here.
Mac OS X
OS X places the resolution settings in the Displays section of the Control Panel. To begin, click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of the screen. Click the System Preferences option, then the System Preferences window will open. In this window, click Displays. Different resolutions are available on the left side.
Other Unix operating systems (Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc.)
The easy method to alter the display resolution varies by distribution, however, there is consistently an X windows configuration file that can be changed manually. Most distributions using the X.org server use the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, though this differs from distribution to distribution as well. Visit x.org or xfree86.org for server specific help while altering this configuration file.
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