Unable to increase the resolution in Windows

Updated: 03/01/2018 by Computer Hope

Increasing resolution in WindowsNote: This document is related to the inability to increase the resolution in Windows. Not video resolution issues in computer games or video issues in Windows NT.

This issue is often caused by corrupt, bad, or missing video drivers. Follow the steps below to help resolve this issue.

  1. If you are unable to get into normal Windows or you cannot see anything in Windows, boot the computer into Safe Mode.
  2. Open Windows Device Manager and verify that no conflicts or issues are displayed on your video card or any other devices. Also, verify that there is no Other Devices category. If issues exist, resolve these issues before continuing.
  3. If Device Manager shows conflicts on your video card or your video card is a Standard display adapter, remove all video cards under the Display adapter category. To remove them, highlight each device and press the delete key until the Display adapter category is gone.
  4. After following the above steps reboot your computer.
  5. Windows should re-detect and install the video card and any other devices you may have removed or fixed in step two. If Windows asks for files you do not have, you may need to obtain the drivers as mentioned in the next step.
  6. If the above steps do not resolve your issue, obtain the latest video drivers from the computer, video card, or chipset manufacturer. You can find a link to video card manufacturers and chipset manufactures on our video card drivers page.

Not enough video memory

Note: If your computer has been able to support a higher resolution or has been able to support the resolution you are attempting to use then this is not the cause of your issue. You should only have this problem with older computers (e.g., computer manufacturered in the 1990's).

If you are attempting to increase the resolution beyond 640 x 480 - 256 colors, first verify that your computer has enough video memory. If your computer has been made within the last three years, you have enough video memory to support a higher resolution.

If you are unable to determine how much video memory your computer has, contact your video card manufacturer or computer manufacturer for additional information about your hardware.