resolution to be greater than 640 by 480. What can I do to change it? In this
mode the Start menu itself goes off the top of the screen.
640 by 480. There was a day when we were excited to have it – and with all
of 16 colors. Now, 640×480 is so “small” as to be unusable in most cases. Even
the most basic new computer supports at least 800×600, if not 1024×768 or much
But what if it appears that 640×480 is your only option?
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640×480 “VGA” resolution is the lowest-common-denominator – by definition
all PC’s, graphics adapters and monitors must support at least VGA.
Because it’s the one thing that can be counted on to work, and always work
regardless of your hardware selection, it’s often used as the fallback when
troubleshooting, or the default if your computer doesn’t know it can do any
computer doesn’t know it can do any better.”
To change your resolution, in Control Panel,
Display, and then the Settings tab, you’ll
see something like this:
Yours may vary based on what hardware and drivers you have installed. And
there’s the rub – if you have the wrong drivers, or the default drivers,
installed, the slider under Screen Resolution may not give you
any option other than 640×480.
So what to do in that case?
99% of these problems are simply not having the correct video drivers
installed for your machine. Normally, and especially in a case where your
computer has come pre-configured from the manufacturer, this will already have
been done. And, unfortunately, exactly where you go to make sure you have the
proper drivers will vary based on where you got your computer, and whether or
not you installed a new graphics card yourself.
To see what your computer “thinks” you have, right click on My
Computer, click on Properties, click on the
Hardware tab, and then click on Device
Manager. Expand the node labeled Display adapters by
clicking on the boxed plus sign in front of it:
If it says something like
“default” display adapter, then Windows does not know what kind of adapter you
have, and what its capabilities are – thus is must assume the lowest common
If this was a pre-packaged machine, get in touch with the manufacturer’s
technical support – you’ll need to locate and install the correct driver for
whatever video card you have. If you installed a new video card yourself,
you’ll need to locate the drivers for it (they should have come with the card)
and install them.