Will My Old CRT Work with a New Computer?

I have a Compaq Presario that I purchased new in 2006, which came preloaded with Windows XP. Due to the loss of support for Windows XP, I’m looking to purchase a new computer, but with limited funds available at the moment. My question is this; if I do purchase a new CPU from HP, will my current CRT type monitor still be able to work with a newer computer?

First of all, be aware the term “CPU” actually refers to only one chip that’s inside the box. We typically refer to that box that I think that you call CPU as “the computer” and the external monitor, “the monitor”.

Will the old monitor work? Well, quite probably. It’s not an unreasonable scenario at all.

I’ll review what you need to look for and what you might be missing out on.

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Why Does My Monitor Go Dark for a Few Seconds?

Leo, I’ve got an HP Pavilion H8 1017, which I love dearly. I’m on a Windows 7 operating system and it’s standalone. I use it mostly for graphic work: Photoshop, video editing, and the like. Lately, my screen goes black for about 10 seconds whenever I stop what I’m doing and open another program. I’m afraid that this may be a prelude to the blue screen of death. I do disk cleans and defrags regularly. I have McAfee protection and AOL computer checkup and backup. Please help! I don’t want my HP to become the recently departed.

A screen going dark isn’t likely to be a computer problem; it’s probably a monitor problem. Your HP is a desktop model, which means you have a separate monitor.

I have a similar problem with my machine. After doing some research, I have a couple of ideas.

Let’s start by getting some of the obvious things out of the way.

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Why Does My Monitor Stretch and Distort My Display?

Do all widescreen monitors distort and stretch the image out sideways? If so, I will sell my monitor and get a smaller one, but I suspect a new video card might cure my problem. I can’t seem to get a straight answer from any computer store and I’ve called a bunch. Can you please recommend a video card for me to buy? I have a new low-end Lenovo desktop PC. I don’t do any gaming; I just want a card that can display images on my new 27-inch widescreen monitor at the recommended 1920 x 1080 resolution without the image looking all distorted and stretched out sideways like it does now. My current video card will not support 1920 x 1080 resolution. It’s now set at 1280 x 960. I do have all of the latest drivers installed for both monitor and video card, but that didn’t help.

The fact that your video card doesn’t support 1920 x 1080 is the root of the problem here.

The issue is something called aspect ratio.

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What’s the Easiest Way to Upgrade an Older Machine?

What’s the easiest way (other than buying a new machine) to upgrade my 10-year-old computer?

Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer I can give to you. It depends on what you’re trying to do with this machine, and how it isn’t meeting your needs today.

If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s obvious there is something about this machine you don’t like. You either want to improve it or do something with it now that you can’t do currently.

Let me throw out a few ideas.

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What’s this obscure message on my monitor and why can’t I make it go away?

Hi, Leo. A small, 50 mm by 5 mm blue “flag” with the legend (a number of unintelligible characters) has recently appeared on my screen. It’s permanently on the top; even the pointer disappears underneath it. At the same time, my monitor screen has begun changing colors even when the PC is switched off (although this stops once have it booted up). It does not seem to affect the operating of the computer or to do anything but sit there, which is annoying. I’m using a Packard Bell PC with Windows XP Pro. Help to remove this would be much appreciated.

Most people don’t realize that everything that appears on your screen is not always put there by your computer. Because the mouse pointer disappears when you move it beneath the flag, the monitor itself probably put what you’re seeing there.

I, too, have encountered the occasional odd message on my monitor.

Read moreWhat’s this obscure message on my monitor and why can’t I make it go away?

Why Doesn’t My External Monitor Work?

I’ve connected my Optiquest monitor to my HP PC but it won’t restart. I get an RGB “no input” message. What can I do?

This is actually an example question. I get a number of questions like this from time to time. The scenario is this: you have something like a laptop whose screen has failed. In other words, you can’t see what’s on your computer. One of the very common approaches to try and work around that until it gets fixed or replaced is to connect to an external monitor. The problem is that the external monitor doesn’t show anything.

There are a couple of additional steps that might be necessary, beyond just plugging in the monitor.

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How Does Screen Resolution Work?

I’ve not received this exact question, but rather, I get a lot of questions relating to screen resolution and why things don’t work as expected. I also get questions where changing the screen resolution is one possible answer, but explaining why gets … complicated.

Screen resolution seems like a very simple thing and most of the time, it is.

The problem is that sometimes it’s not. And it’s not in a way that let’s me say “smaller is actually bigger” with a straight face.

Yes, making things smaller can make things bigger.

Told ya it’d be complicated.

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Troubleshooting Computer Monitor Problems: the Sideways Stretch


I’ve installed 22″ flat screen Optiquest Q2201wb monitor to replace my several-year-old 17″ CRT ViewSonic E771 monitor. Everything seems stretched out sideways: the icons on my desktop are now rectangular instead of square; all the letters in my posts seem wider; the people on the screen seem shorter and fatter; etc.

My neighbor thinks I need to replace the video card(?) in my computer tower. Is this true? Need I do any other things to accommodate the change in monitors. If ‘Yes’, can you tell me what to do and if they’re things I can do rather than taking the tower to the shop where I got it?

I’ve seen this computer monitor problem myself. In fact, if I so choose, I can make that problem happen on my computer monitors without much effort.

Naturally, I choose not to.

The good news is that it is, likely, just that – a choice. But exactly what choice depends on the capabilities of your monitor and your video card.

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