How to Set the Monitor Resolution on Your PC

By Dan Gookin

The PC monitor’s physical dimensions cannot change, but you can control the amount of stuff you see on the screen by adjusting the screen resolution. That’s the number of dots, or pixels, the monitor displays, measuring horizontally by vertically.

To change the screen’s resolution in Windows 10, heed these directions:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Display Settings from the pop-up menu.

    The Settings app opens, showing information about the display.

  2. Click the Advanced Display Settings link.

  3. Use the Resolution menu button to choose a new resolution.

    For example, choose 1024-by-768 to see how computer users in 1998 saw the digital world.

  4. Click the apply button to see a preview of how that resolution appears on your PC’s monitor.

  5. Click the Keep Changes button to set the new resolution, or click the Revert button to return to the current resolution.

In Windows 7, follow these steps to reset the screen resolution:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Screen Resolution from the pop-up menu.

  2. Click the Resolution menu button.

  3. Use the slider gizmo to choose a resolution.

  4. Click the Apply button to try out the new resolution.

  5. Click OK or Keep Changes to accept the new resolution.

One of the resolution items is marked Recommended. That setting is the optimal resolution for your PC’s graphics hardware. You don’t have to choose that setting, but it’s what works best.

  • Higher resolutions display more information, but the items on the screen appear smaller. Likewise, lower resolutions display less information, but the items on the screen appear larger.

  • The dots measured in screen resolution are pixels. Pixel is a contraction of picture element.

  • Some computer games reset the monitor’s resolution. This change is okay, and the resolution returns to normal after you quit the game.