Screen Resolution

What does this all mean? Well, a computer screen can be set up to be viewable in different screen resolutions, both in the number of colours and the number of pixels you can see. The more colours, the better the picture - especially photographs -, and the more pixels the more information you can see.

Here are some examples of our sister site menu screen at different resolutions:-

640 x 480

800 x 600

1024 x 768

1280 x 102

As you can see, the higher the resolution, the more information you can see on the screen without scrolling. The only limitations being the capability of your graphics card, monitor and the size of your monitor (and your eyesight! - running at 1600 x 1200 on a 14" screen would be vertically unreadable due to the small font size)

The original PC used to be VGA - 640 x 480 pixels and 256 colours, in fact many people have their PCs set to this although it could be set higher! Many websites no longer are designed for 640 x 480 (this one is in fact designed at 800 x 600 but checked at 640 to ensure that it can still be seen okay). I see many people running at 640 because they do not know that there is such a thing is changeable! When I set up their screen to 800 the usual response is "Wow!". It's like changing their 14" TV to a 21" TV for free!

Now most, if not all, modern m/cs (bought within the last 4 years or so) can show at least 800 x 600 and many can go higher e.g. 1024 x 768 pixels and HiColor (thousands of colours).
(Portables & laptops are a different kettle of fish! - the screen is physically constrained to run at a certain resolution)

However the problem arises with playing non windows games on a PC, many of these, especially the older ones, only support the old standard VGA resolutions and will not display on a screen set to a higher resolution. My 9 year old daughter is constantly changing the resolution back and forth on her old Pentium 100 MHz m/c when she plays different games, uses encyclopaedias etc. (check out the program refered to at the end of this page)

So how do you do it? Well it's easy to change resolution within Windows to what you want.

This website has been designed to be best viewed at 800 x 600 pixels and HiColor - so called SVGA, although you can view it at whatever resolution you want to.

Most modern PCs (if not all), graphic cards and monitors can easily can easily manage 800 x 600 and HiColor. (I actually run my m/c at 1280 x 1024 and TrueColor (millions of colours!) - but I've got a Matrox graphics card and a 19" monitor.)

Below are the instructions on changing your screen resolution.

I've got to emphasise that you do this at your own peril. It is possible to damage your PC if you try to set up a resolution that's way too high for your monitor to handle - I have never actually met anybody - ever - where problems have occurred, - especially on going to 800 x 600 - but I must cover myself! I would not try the higher resolutions e.g. 1280, 1600 etc. unless you are sure your monitor can handle them - look in your monitor manual - 800 x 600 and Hicolor should be no problem and will make your screen so much better!.


  1. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Display.
  3. Select the Settings tab.
  4. In an area labelled Screen Area or Desktop Area you will see a slider.
  5. Your screen size is indicated below this slider
  6. Move the slider to the right using the mouse until this reads 800 by 600 pixels.
  7. Use the Color Selector to choose HiColor (16 bit)
  8. If there is a Test button, click this to test your new screen resolution.
  9. If the test is successful, click OK.
  10. Otherwise, click Apply.
  11. You may need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Your actual window may be slightly different depending if you are using Windows 3.11, 95,98 etc.

  Still unsure - then click here for an active tutorial!


  1. Click the Apple Menu in the top left of the screen, and select Control Panels, Monitors.
  2. Under Resolution select a resolution of 800x600.

QRes Program by Berend Engelbrecht

Click on the link above to go to Berend's web site to download it!

This is a program that automatically changes your screen resolution before a program/game is run, and when you close the program/game, it sets it back to what it was! (I have used it with no problem, but have taken it off my daughters m/c solely because I want her to learn about computers - tough Dad eh!)

QRes is a small application that provides automation for the Microsoft QuickRes screen mode change in Windows 95/98.
QuickRes is a Microsoft add-on for Windows 95/98 that allows you to change colour depth and screen resolution without restarting the machine.
QRes adds a front end to QuickRes so that you can automatically switch colour mode or screen resolution when you start a Windows application. For instance, when you start a game that uses 640 x 480 pixels screen area and requires 256 colour mode, you can make QRes automatically switch to this screen mode as long as you run the game and switch back to your regular screen mode when the game is over.