Improve The Monitor Display, And What To Do If—Oops!—You Make A Mistake

Q. The monitor resolution on my new computer is defaulted to the typical factory setting of 800 x 640 pixels per square inch. Unfortunately, at that setting, I can’t fit enough material on the screen at one time and the images are a bit fuzzy because they’re so large. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as “all thumbs,” I am a little nervous about changing the default settings. Should I call in a tech support person or can I handle the job myself?

A. It’s a do-it-yourself job. And if you do accidentally screw up, you can get yourself out of trouble.

To begin, click on the Start button and then on Settings, Control Panel. Once all the icons appear on the screen, click on Display and then on the Settings tab (see exhibit 3, below). You’ll notice about three-quarters down the screen, on the right side, is a slide control labeled Screen area. With your mouse, slide the button to the right; as you do so, the 800 x 640 reading will change. Move it up one step to 1040 x 678 pixels. Click OK and Apply.

Exhibit 3

It’s easy to adjust the resolution of your computer screen.

Once you return to your desktop, you’ll notice the icons look a bit smaller—and sharper. If they’re too small, you can increase their size by again going into the Control Panel —this time, click on the Effects tab and, under the Visual effects menu, click on Use large icons.

While you’re in that screen, explore the options for customizing your desktop.

Warning: If you set the screen area or the adjacent colors to a default that is incompatible with your monitor, there’s a danger that, when the computer completes its next boot-up, the screen will become all black. Don’t panic. It’s easy to fix. “Hot boot” the machine (holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys together and striking the Delete key.) As the machine is booting up, hold down the F8 key (or tap it just as memory availability reports appear on screen). That should bring up a menu choice, one of which is for Safe Mode. Click on it and, once the boot-up is complete in this mode, follow the earlier instructions for changing monitor resolution and pick another resolution size. You may need to do this a few times before you’re perfectly happy with the resolution, but it’s worth the effort. After all, you have to stare at the monitor screen for long periods so it’s better to have it the way you want it.

Because of the volume of questions the Journal of Accountancy receives, the editors cannot respond to individual requests. If a question asked by a reader is deemed to have sufficiently broad interest, we will answer it in a forthcoming Technology Q&A column.

—The editors


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