Change Your Netbook's Screen Resolution in the Registry

Get 1024x768 or higher resolution with this registry hack

Many netbooks and less-expensive laptops ship with a default 1024-pixel-by-600-pixel (or similar) small-screen resolution, which causes problems in some apps or requires a lot of scrolling. To increase the amount of screen real estate on your Netbook or use apps that require higher-resolution displays, make a registry change to get options for higher resolutions.

If your netbook's natural resolution is 1024x600, increasing it above this by using this registry tweak results in a lower-quality appearance—but apps that require a higher resolution will display.

How to Make the Registry Change

You may have heard warnings about the risks of altering the registry, and these are valid—you don't want to play around in the registry without knowing what you're doing. However, this registry change is not complex.

This registry tweak may conflict with some graphics cards and may generate a Blue Screen of Death error. Make a backup of the registry in case something goes wrong. If it does, restore the registry file to undo the changes.

First, try changing the screen resolution in Windows through the Control Panel to see if higher resolutions are available. If not, make these registry changes to make a higher resolution option available.

To change the registry:

  1. Open the registry editor with the regedit command, either from the Run dialog box, Start menu, or Command Prompt.

    Run command in Windows
  2. Scroll to the top of the left pane to go to the top of the registry tree.

  3. Go to Edit and select Find. In the search field, enter Display1_DownScalingSupported and select Find Next. The search may take a while to complete.

    Search field within Windows Regedit

    If this registry key is missing, see the next section below for instructions on how to add it.

  4. In the right pane, select Display1_DownScalingSupported.

    Select the registry key Display1_DownScalingSupported
  5. Go to Edit and select Modify (or double-click the key name) and in the Value data field change the 0 to a 1.

    Change the registry key value from 0 to 1

    Change the value for every instance of the key found in the search; otherwise, the hack may not work.

  6. When you're done, restart the computer.

When your PC restarts, and you go to change the resolution, you'll see options for 1024x768 and 1152x864 resolutions for your device, in addition to any previous resolutions.

Changing the default screen resolution on your low-end device may make it look stretched out. To fix this distortion, go to the advanced display properties for the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (if your device uses Intel GMA) and set the aspect ratio to maintain aspect ratio.

If the Registry Key Is Missing

If you didn't find this registry key, add it yourself. To add a registry key, make a new Display1_DownScalingSupported DWORD value in each registry key location.

  1. For the first key, go to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Class > {4D36E968-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002B
    

    On a Lenovo S10-3T, the key is found in one of these two places:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Video\(154229D9-2695-4849-A329-
    

    OR

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video\(154229D9-2695-4849-A329-8
    
  2. Go to Edit and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

    Menu selections for adding DWORD Value
  3. In the right pane, change the name of New Value #1 to Display1_DownScalingSupported and press Enter.

    Entering the name of the newly created key
  4. Select Display1_DownScalingSupported, and press Enter. In the window that opens, set Value data to 1.

  5. Repeat the previous steps for each of the following locations if they exist (not all of these may be present), and change all values to 1.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current Control Set\Control\Class\{4D36E968-E325-11CE-BFC1-0
    
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current Control Set\Control\Class\{4D36E968-E325-11CE-BFC1-0
    
  6. Restart the computer.

  7. Go to Display settings and, under Resolution, change the setting to a higher resolution.