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Screen Resolution: Windows FAQ

Are the words on your Windows desktop too small to read? All you need to do is change your monitor's screen resolution.

Although changing your monitor’s screen resolution is easy to do, you need to know your monitor's aspect ratio before you start changing your settings.  Adjusting screen resolution may cause some distortion if you select a resolution that isn’t designed for your monitor's aspect ratio. For example, if a wide screen resolution used on a square monitor, the image will appear squished.

What is an aspect ratio?

All monitors have an aspect ratio. That’s the ratio of the monitor's width to height. Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as measuring the width and height.

How do you determine your monitor's aspect ratio?

Right-click on the Desktop then select Properties > Settings

In the picture that is displayed:

  • If your monitor looks like #1, your aspect ration is either 16:10 or 16:9
  • If your monitor looks like #2, your aspect ratio is 4:3

How to I change my monitor's screen resolution?

  1. Right-click on the Desktop then select Properties > Settings
  2. Slide Screen resolution slider to change resolution.
  3. If you know your aspect ratio you can use the following chart to determine the appropriate screen resolution settings:
If your display ratio is:

Acceptable screen resolutions


640x 480
768 x 576
800 x 600
1024 x 768
1400 x 1050
1600 x 1200
2048 x 1536 - recommended


854 x 480
1280 x 720
1920 x 1080 - recommended


320 x 200
1280 x 800
1440 x 900
2560 x 1600 - recommended

Note: It’s a good idea to write down your current settings before changing them, in case you need to get the original settings back.

Are the words still hard to see? Change the font size

  1. Right-click on the Desktop then select Properties > Appearance
  2. Under Font Size, click on the drop-down menu and select Large or Extra Large font size
  3. Click OK.

Still having problems? Changing the DPI

  1. If desired size still has not been obtained, go to the Settings tab and click on the Advanced button near the bottom of the window. This will open up another properties box and click on the General tab.
  2. Under DPI setting click on the drop-down arrow and select Large size. We do not recommend you select custom. If you still have problems please call the HelpDesk.
  3. Click OK.
  4. You will be prompted with a Change DPI Setting window explaining that Windows needs to be restarted. Click OK.
  5. This takes you back to the General tab. Click OK.
  6. Another window will appear asking if you want to skip file copying and use the existing files? Click on Yes.