Can the resolution on an LCD be changed?

My LCD monitor (ViewSonic VP181) is set with 1280x1024 resolution, which is fine, except for when I want to play a game, with a fixed 640x480 image. I end up getting a 4 inch wide black frame around a tiny box containing the game. Is there “screen stretching” software that will make the image full screen?

The problem could be in the game, too. A lot of older DOS-based games use the “+” and “-” keys on your keyboard to control the screensize.

If you’re in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins.
Maybe it’ll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them. – Jack Handy

After further review, it looks like the problem is with my ATI All-in-wonder (why it breaks so much) RADEON (in Win2k). I went through their handy help on how to scale the image to the screen, but the directions don’t correspond to the button settings I have :(.

After chatting with tech support, the problem is that I’m using a direct digital out on the video card directly into the monitor. If I switch to analog cables, everything works fine. Is there a way to stretch a screen in digital mode?

Check your monitor driver in the Windows Device Manager.
In addition to the Plug and Play setting, there are usually seperate driver settings that lock the display into one particular mode (like 800x600, 1024x768, etc).
This could explain why you are getting the thick border around the edge of your game: the game screen might be starting up in 1024x768 because you’ve got the 1024x768-only driver installed.

I would try switching the monitor driver to Plug and Play or to VESA DDC.


Because LCD’s have fixed pixels, unlike CRT’s (as in, the 24th pixel is alwaysthere ::points with finger::), your display will always display things in a 1024x768. When your computer uses a lesser resolution, it uses less of the fixed-position pixels on your LCD screen.

With all of that understood, you need to find software drivers (or if you like the drivers you have, you could beat them into submission) that can resample your display up to 1024x768 instead of just padding the display. Depending on how the resampling is done, you may end up with some really neat image distortions (as in, jaggies in interesting places).

Basically, the main point I’m making is that a ‘computer pixel’ in memory has a directly corosponding mechanical element in an LCD disply, which is why changing the resolution (which changes the number of pixels to be displayed) is tricky. When all is said and down, your LCD display will always be displaying 786432 pixels, even if that number is inconvient for you. Unless it is broken.