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Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro

Uncle_DaveO 06 Apr 09 - 01:23 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Apr 09 - 03:51 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Apr 09 - 07:31 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Apr 09 - 06:59 AM
Bernard 07 Apr 09 - 07:23 AM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Apr 09 - 10:40 AM
Uncle_DaveO 07 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Apr 09 - 11:34 AM
Uncle_DaveO 11 Apr 09 - 02:01 PM
Acme 12 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM
Acme 12 Apr 09 - 03:01 AM
JohnInKansas 12 Apr 09 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Hello, 28 Apr 09 - 11:35 PM
Acme 28 Apr 09 - 11:39 PM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM
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Subject: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 01:23 PM

After recently installing a new monitor, I tried to fiddle (first mistake!) with the resolution of the screen. Among other things, I found that I got either very small or unmanageable large icons on the desktop, which more than fill the screen, meaning that many of them can't be "worked". So I switched back to my original resolution.

The trouble now is that at unpredictable (to me) points the resolution switches by itself to the huge-icon display on the desktop, or the corresponding problem within a given site.   Then at some point, for some reason, it seemingly spontaneously jumps back to the resolution that's manageable.

Can someone help, before I pull out my remaining hair?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 03:51 PM

You may need to check the specs on your new monitor, and you might need to install a different driver for it if it's not a pretty generic kind. With the manufacturer's name and a model number you can probably download a driver specific to the monitor you have, and/or you can check the properties for the driver WinXP selected to see if it agrees with the monitor.

WinXP will try to apply the monitor's "Plug-N-Play" ID to pick an appropriate driver from it's stock of options, but sometimes misses by a little bit. Glitches usually come from resolution, scan rate, or refresh rate being outside what the monitor can handle.

WinXP will sometimes detect a "failure to communicate" between computer and monitor, and when it does it may disable the driver in use and swap in a default-generic one. The default driver is often a low-resolution one. It may also sometimes decide to try again and put the original one - or another similar one - back in place if it finds another one that it thinks will work. It's supposedly part of the "self-repair" and "fault tolerance" capabilities(?) of the beast.

The next most likely possibility is, as always, a noisy cable or loose connector between computer and monitor(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 07:31 PM

John, I downloaded the driver from Dell, and my attempt to update the driver told me that it founding nothing "better" than what was already being used.

I checked connections, and they seem to be solid.

I still get the problem. When I boot, I initially (for a moment or two) get the desktop at the level I've set. The boot sequence continues, and installs the next program, associated with Yahoo, and then the desktop changes to 640X480.

Any ideas?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 06:59 AM

Some programs, particularly games, include a change of resolution in the program. The better ones will change it back when you close them; but I'm told that quite a few don't.

Something of this sort might be suspected if it happens only with one or two specific programs; but you implied it's pretty random.

If a particular program actually needs a specific resolution, it might "look right" so you wouldn't notice the change. If that program is "suspended" or just minimized, another program could look lousy and get the blame for changing resolution. If it is a "program forced" change, closing the program that did it might - or might not - switch things back to normal.

If you can't find something like this to blame it on, the next logical suspect would be a graphics card that's intermittently crapping out. This likely would mean the graphics card is close to dying.

Your "card" may be via "integrated components" on the mother board or it could be a separate card in a slot. A failure of "on the board" graphics components usually doesn't kill the rest of the mother board so you usually can just plug a replacement into a slot.

If it's a separate card, connecting the new monitor might have wiggled the card, and it may just need a few more wiggles to clean the contacts where it plugs into the card connector; but recent graphics cards (or graphics components on the MBoard) tend to run pretty hot, so they seem to age faster than other kinds of components. I've replaced about three (on two computers) in the past couple of years, with failures coming at about 6 to 10 years of 24/7 running with big CRT monitors.

If the card gets hot, and "fails hot," the computer should revert to the "no card" driver that it uses (usually) for Safe Boot, which is a low res display at least during startup. Most Windows OSs might restore the card when it cools off enough to start working again(?) since it will "retry" problem components/drivers in some cases.

There probably is an "error log" on your computer that might tell you something, or that you can turn on to log some clues, but I can't give very good generic help about where to look for any such goodies. System Information (Start|Programs|Accessories|System Tools|System Information) has one "Errors" log in the "Software Environement" section that might have a clue, although I'm not sure it's the best place to look.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 07:23 AM

I've seen this happen on machines with integrated video where there's a problem with the RAM sticks. The video memory is usually shared with the RAM, y'see.

However, I'd also expect to see other evidence of instability - programs freezing or running very slowly.

If you're running XP Pro with 512Mb RAM or less, that could also cause issues with an integrated video chipset. These days 2Gb is the safe bet.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 10:40 AM

Some programs, particularly games, include a change of resolution in the program. The better ones will change it back when you close them; but I'm told that quite a few don't.

No games.

Something of this sort might be suspected if it happens only with one or two specific programs; but you implied it's pretty random.

The desktop currently is the right resolution until I click on SeaMonkey or FireFox; then it instantly goes to low res, even this is a Compaq EVO W4000 workstation, about 5 years old or so, which essentially runs 24/7.before the Yahoo profile choice (me/my wife) comes up. I almost never use IE, so I can't tell you about whether that triggers it.; my expectation is that the browser is not really involved. My homepage is Mudcat, and USUALLY the resolution is the Cat good even though I just came from the low res I just mentioned. But I just got off line, and it was low res; getting back on, it's low res on Mudcat too.

It happens on Mudcat, and it happens to my wife on some shopping sites. I've had the problem on my bank's web site.

The next logical suspect would be a graphics card that's intermittently crapping out. This likely would mean the graphics card is close to dying.

A failure of "on the board" graphics components usually doesn't kill the rest of the mother board so you usually can just plug a replacement into a slot.

*** The new monitor might have wiggled the card, and it may just need a few more wiggles to clean the contacts where it plugs into the card connector; but recent graphics cards (or graphics components on the MBoard) tend to run pretty hot, so they seem to age faster than other kinds of components. I've replaced about three (on two computers) in the past couple of years, with failures coming at about 6 to 10 years of 24/7 running with big CRT monitors.


If the card gets hot, and "fails hot," the computer should revert to the "no card" driver that it uses (usually) for Safe Boot, which is a low res display at least during startup. Most Windows OSs might restore the card when it cools off enough to start working again(?) since it will "retry" problem components/drivers in some cases.


This is a Compaq EVO W4000 workstation, about 5 years old or so, which essentially runs 24/7. Both cooling fans are blowing. I am going to turn off the computer, let it cool, and then go through and wiggle and press things. I know that sometimes that's enough to solve mystery diseases.

----------

Bernard, as I write this I can't give specific numbers, but I know from previous investigations that there is a lot of available excess memory and available HD real estate. I know that the RAM is 2GB or more, although I can't recall how much more. Without specific numbers, I remember that the large HD has about 1/3 unused, according to my last defrag check.

I thank both of you for your leads, which I hope will be of help.
At any rate, even if the press-and-wiggle doesn't solve things, I'll have more information (even if only negative) if I'm forced to go to paid support. I'll look into whether the graphics facility is built in.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM

Apologies for the confused and unchecked editing. I goofed on my HTML, which was intended to identify quoted-versus-reply sections, not closing off the italics where intended.

I also, in reorganizing subjects in the paragraphs, inadvertently pasted a section in the fourth paragraph, which begins "The desktop currently".

Then I neglected to PREVIEW the post before submitting, and thus didn't catch those goofs.

Sorry for the confusion.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 11:34 AM

Uncle DaveO -

That System Information spot mentioned in my last post should tell you how much RAM you have (actual), how much RAM is usable, and how large a "Virtual RAM" space you have assigned (just for reference).

For WinXP, for the 32-bit versions that are most common I believe that there's a 4GB "maximum usable," but the 64-bit OS can go much higher. (There was some contradictory advice when WinXP was real, but I've seen several references to the 4 GB limit recently.)

For Vista, 2GB is generally agreed to be about the minimum RAM that isn't painful to run, but XP usually is good at 1GB, better at 2GB.

(The "all italics" post looks like there was only one rubber-finger error. The first place where you meant </i> is missing the "/" so there's an open <i> for the rest of the post. Not too bad a percentage.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 02:01 PM

Well, I thought I'd give a progress report. So far.

Doesn't appear that any new board is necessary, and possibly not a driver. I downloaded Driver Detective, which suggested that certain drivers were needed, so I downloaded them. D.D. found no fault with S3 ViRGE DX/GX, the video driver I have.

The problem kept getting worse, so yesterday I gave up and took the computer to a computer fix-it shop. The tech eventually called me, and told me that a couple of utilities, called Widgets, that I had from Yahoo! were the cause. I said okay, so he disabled them. He also blew out the dust inside.

I got the computer home, and the desktop was just as it should be. But the moment I clicked on SeaMonkey, the icon images expanded by about 30%, and Mudcat (my home page) when I get to it, is enlarged. I don't see the left-most letter or two of the display. Similar problems elsewhere. And when I get off the web I find the desktop at just the resolution and size I want, as it was before I went on line.

I.E. doesn't suffer from the problem, nor (to my surprise, since it's closely related to SeaMonkey, from Mozilla) does FireFox. But I won't use I.E., and FireFox doesn't have integrated email, which I want strongly.

Quicken isn't affected, praise be!

Monday the computer goes back to the shop.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Acme
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM

Sounds like you have all sorts of stuff saved in there under "desktop" in various files and it's reverting back and forth.

I had a lot of problems getting my dual monitor desktop to stabilize, and finally realized I hadn't set up the system to use the graphics card properly. I had to disable the computer's original card to use the new one properly. You haven't said anything about installing extra cards or what your system is.

Tell us the usual stuff--computer type, OS, monitor type, any added on things like a video card, etc.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Acme
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 03:01 AM

Oops. Your OS is in your title. But everything else. You mention Dell--is the entire system Dell, or just the CPU? What was your old monitor, what is your new one? Where does the Compaq come in?

Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling the problem browsers?

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 06:36 AM

Question: Do you use the scroll wheel on your mouse to travel around on the screen?

Reason to ask/think about it: Vista documents that you can use Ctl+ScrollWheel to roll the screen resolution up and down. (It's called an "accessibility aid" for the vision impaired.) A "sticky" Ctl key could change the resolution when you use the scroll wheel.

WinXP has a similar "magnifier." The "up front" help for WinXP Magnifier says that you have to start maginifier (Start|Run, type "magnifier" and hit Enter) to change the setting, but my recollection is that there are quick keys to swap between settings or step up and down(?). Recollection also is that WinXP Help only tells you "how to do it the hard way" and you have to look elsewhere for the quick-keys - - - and I don't recall how I found them in the long-ago times.

(It's also quite possible that this, or something similar, may work only in some programs, since Microsoft obviously stole it from someone/somewhere.)

(There are a number of these "accessibility features" that can be accidentally turned on/off, and they can be quite a puzzle if you're not at least aware that they exist.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: GUEST,Hello,
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 11:35 PM

I have a Dell Monitor an I can't fix the resolution on it


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Acme
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 11:39 PM

You have to give us some more information than that. OS, type of monitor, what you've already tried. Etc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fixing resolution in XP Pro
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 02:53 AM

In general, you can adjust the screen resolution this way:
  • Right-click with your mouse on a blank space on your desktop

  • Select "properties" from the menu that appears, and then select "settings"

  • Change the settings as you desire.

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