Change Your Netbook's Screen Resolution in the Registry

Get 1024x768 or higher resolution with this registry hack

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Many netbooks come with a default 1024x600 pixel (or similar) small screen resolution, which causes problems in some apps or requires a lot of scrolling. If you want to increase the amount of screen real estate on your Netbook or use apps that require higher-resolution displays, like the Metro-style apps in Windows, make a registry change to get options for higher resolutions.

If your Netbook's native 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

Tinkering with the system registry is an action you should do carefully. 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 pretty straightforward and not complex.

This registry tweak may conflict with some graphics cards and may cause a blue screen of death (BSOD) error. Make a backup of the registry just in case something goes wrong. If it does, restore the registry file to undo the changes.

Make sure you need to make this change to the registry before doing it. 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 Netbook, in addition to any previous resolutions.

Changing the default screen resolution on your Netbook may make it look stretched out. To fix this, go to the advanced display properties for the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (if your Netbook has an 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, navigate through the registry and go to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Class > {4D36E968-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} > 0000

    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-A329-88A1A7C4860A\0000

    OR

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video\(154229D9-2695-4849-A329-88A1A7C4860A)\0000
  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-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0001
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current Control Set\Control\Class\{4D36E968-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002
  6. Restart the computer.

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