How to Force a Resolution in Windows Using the Registry

By Heather Lindsay

Although Microsoft Windows operating systems come with specific resolution settings already installed, you don't have to stick with them. One way to create custom resolutions for a single display or multiple monitors is to edit the computer's registry settings. To change registry resolution settings, use the Windows registry editor utility that comes as a standard feature with all versions of the Windows operating system.

Step 1

Press the "Windows-R" keys, type "regedit" into the Run field and then press "OK" to launch the registry editor dialog box.

Step 2

Launch the "Mon12345678" folder by following the navigation tree in the left frame through the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG/System/CurrentControlSet/Control/VIDEO.

Step 3

Double-click the "DefaultSettings.XResolution" heading, and select the "Decimal" radio button in the dialog box. Type the horizontal resolution of your choice in the "Value data:" text box; for example, "1152" (without quotes) to set a width resolution of 1152 screen pixels.

Step 4

Double-click the "DefaultSettings.YResolution" heading and select the "Decimal" radio button in the dialog box. Type the vertical resolution of your choice in the "Value data:" text box; for example, "863" (without quotes) to set a height resolution of 863 screen pixels.

Step 5

Close the registry editor. Reboot the computer for the settings to take effect.

Tips & Warnings

  • Back up the registry before you make any changes with the registry editor utility. Click the "File" tab in the registry editor menu, select "Export" from the context menu, name the file and then press the "Save" button. You can restore the original resettings from the file if changing the resolution causes any unforeseen problems on your computer.