Windows 7 Tutorial

Create / Add a custom screen resolution in Windows 7

Your computer comes with a "preset" of standard screen resolutions, which are affected by your video card (graphics card or GPU), and by your monitor hardware - either the screen attached to your laptop, or the monitor you connect to your PC. As you probably already know, you can easily change screen resolution in Windows 7, switching to one of these presets for your monitor. But what if you want to use a screen resolution that isn't available? Fortunately, as you'll learn in this tutorial, there are several options that allow you to add custom screen resolutions to your PC.


Create custom screen resolutions through your video card

Many modern and/or higher end graphics card allow the creation of your own screen resolutions:

Tip - how to calculate your own custom screen resolution: to avoid ending up with a distorted image, you need to keep the right proportions for your viewable pixels horizontally and vertically. Find the screen resolution you like best, of the ones to which you already have access. Then, take note of the width and height in pixels. Finally, choose the width or height (in pixels) you'd like for your new resolution, and plug the numbers in our custom screen resolution calculator:

Custom Screen Resolution Calculator
Enter your current screen resolution settings below:
(Current width in pixels) (Current height in pixels)

Now enter either one of your new, desired screen resolution dimensions: (width or height)
(Desired width in pixels) (Desired height in pixels)

Note for the curious mind: while we need to round to the nearest full number ("integer"), the loss or addition of a single pixel will have, in effect, an invisible distortion, because it represents such a tiny percentage of the number of pixels on your screen!

Using a third-party tool to add a custom screen resolution

If your advanced display settings don't include the ability to create custom screen resolutions, don't despair: there is a nifty third-party utility we've used several times in the past (with mixed results, see warning below), called "PowerStrip" - use at your own risks, we are not affiliated with this company, etc. While this tutorial won't go into details, consult the software website and documentation to add your own resolution to your monitor. It is both easier and safer to use a tool developed by Microsoft or the graphics card maker, but this piece of software comes in handy as a backup solution.

Caution: make sure that you know how to start Windows 7 in safe mode, especially if you are experimenting with a third party utility to customize your screen resolution settings. You may well find yourself starting with a blank screen, as happened to us several times with these custom utilities on Windows Vista / Windows XP.

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