How to Test the Resolution & Refresh Rate of Computer Screens

By John Ruiz

The computer monitor is one of the primary components of the computer. We constantly look at our computer monitors to see our desktops and read anything that is on the screen. This makes it important to optimize the monitor for your personal viewing comfort and for the longevity of the monitor. You can start by properly adjusting the screen resolution and refresh rates. The resolution sets the number of pixels that the monitor displays, while the refresh rate controls the frequency by which the display refreshes or repaints an image in order to reduce flickering. If you do not know the proper resolution and refresh rate values, you can test different values.

Using Windows 7

Step 1

Right-click on any empty area in your desktop and click "Screen Resolution."

Step 2

Select the display that you wish to test from the first drop-down box and choose the resolution from the second drop-down box. Click the "Apply" button to test the selected resolution. Click the "Keep" button only if the screen displays the resolution properly and you like what you see. Click "Revert" if you wish to test another resolution.

Step 3

Click the "Advanced settings" link on the right of the "Screen Resolution" window to bring up the video adapter properties. Click the "Monitor" tab to see the screen refresh rate settings. Select a refresh rate frequency from the drop-down box and click the "Apply" button. Click the other "Apply" button that pops up if you are contented with the refresh rate. If you see a blank or flickering screen, wait 15 seconds for Windows to revert the settings so you can test another refresh rate.

Using Windows Vista

Step 1

Right-click on the desktop and click "Personalization." Click "Display Settings" to reach the resolution settings.

Step 2

Go to the "Resolution" portion and adjust the slider to your desired resolution. Click the "Apply" button to test the screen resolution. Confirm that the monitor displays the chosen resolution correctly and that it looks good. If it doesn't, wait 15 seconds for Windows to put the resolution back to its previous setting so you can test another.

Step 3

Click "Advanced Settings" and then click the "Monitor" tab to see the refresh rate selection. Choose from the list of refresh rates in the combo box and click the "Apply" button to test the setting. Click the "Apply" button that appears only if you wish to keep the new refresh rate. Wait 15 seconds if you want to try another refresh rate.

Using Windows XP

Step 1

Right-click on the desktop and select "Properties." Click the "Settings" tab to see the resolution slider.

Step 2

Adjust the slider by dragging it left or right with the mouse button until you find a resolution that satisfies you. Click the "Apply" button to test the resolution of your computer screen. Click the "Yes" button only if the monitor displays the resolution properly. Wait 15 seconds if it doesn't so you can select another resolution.

Step 3

Click the "Advanced" button followed by the "Monitor" tab to see the option tied to the refresh rate. Click the combo box to see a list of refresh rates that the monitor supports. Choose any value for testing and click the "Apply" button. Survey the results and wait 15 seconds so you can choose another option only if the selected refresh rate causes problems.