|The resolutions you can choose depends on the video drivers you have loaded, and whether or not you have loaded the specific drivers for the monitor.|
If Windows automatically loaded drivers for the laptop's video adapter newer video drivers available from the laptop maker's web site, or from the main chipset maker's web site, may have more resolution choices available.
When you load Plug and Play Monitor drivers, you may have more choices of resolutions, but that's not a good choice for a modern LCD monitor or laptop display because the Plug and Play Monitor drivers haven't changed since XP first came out, they're primarily for CRT monitors, and you can damage the LCD monitor if you select certain settings Plug and Play Monitor drivers provides.
When you load the specific drivers for the monitor, if available they're on the CD that came with the monitor or can be downloaded from the maker's web site, Windows then shows you by default only the settings both the video drivers and the monitor can support without damaging the monitor.
All LCD displays have a "native" or "optimal" resolution at which they look best set to. That resolution is stated in the specs for the monitor model, or in the specs for the laptop. If you choose other than the "native" or "optimal" resolution, the display won't look as good - the most noticable thing is the text doesn't look as clear. If the monitor is good quality, the display at other resolutions is still quite good, but with lesser quality monitors it may look worse.
e.g. Samsung models still look quite good in other resolutions, they have specific monitor drivers, Acer models do not look as good in other resolutions, and they often have no specific monitor drivers.
Turn on Clear Type in Windows XP or Vista - makes type/fonts on LCD screens look clearer.
Most recent LCD monitors and LCD displays on laptops are widescreen format. You can choose both standard 4:3 (1.33 to 1) and widescreen resolutions (e.g. 16:9 - 1.77 to 1) in the video settings. The proportions of things will look the best on a widescreen monitor if you use the "native" or "optimal" resolution, or another widescreen resolution that has the same or a very similar ratio of width to height.