Computer resolution compatiblility

John January 30, 2009 at 06:51:22
Specs: Windows XP
I connected an older monitor made by Packard Bell to it. However, when I turned it on
the image was all distorted. I tried restarting the computer in safe mode and adjusting the
properties. I tried changing the pixel setting, but the only one that doesn't distort is
640x480 and 16 colors. But the icons don't fit on the screen and it won't let me use my
kids' CD-ROMS because they need to have 256 colors. I used to have the computer set at
800x600. Is there a way to make this monitor work with this computer?

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January 30, 2009 at 07:35:52
If you're from the US, Pack-Bell hasn't been around for a LONG time, so the monitor must be very old. See if there's a tag/label on the back of the monitor that shows the manufacture date.

You *may* have to install a monitor driver. Try googling the model number & see what you come up with.

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February 1, 2009 at 19:41:08
Lots of older VGA monitors would only do 640x480, so it'd be a good guess that yours is the same. But it should still allow 256 (or better) colors. Depending on the output of your video card, you may have to adjust the scan frequency to get it to do 640x480x256+

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February 2, 2009 at 09:58:27
Older monitors are not plug and play - or sometimes they are but that wasn't done properly - if Windows gets no plug and play info from the monitor, it has no idea what settings to use for the video, and usually in that case by default it loads Default drivers rather than Plug and Play drivers, or if the monitor is plug and play but that wasn't done properly sometimes Windows loads Plug and Play drivers for a monitor it should load lesser drivers for. Default drivers are limited to very basic settings to avoid possibly damaging the monitor . If Windows loaded Plug and Play drivers for the monitor when it shouldn't have for that model, you can select resolutions and numbers of colors the monitor cannot actually support.

If you're in the US or Canada, they stopped supplying Packard Bell systems and monitors here in about 2000 or at most 2001 - the monitor would be at least that old. If the screen diagonal is a little under 14" or less, it may have an interlaced display, and if it's old enough, the display may not even fill the screen at 640 x 480.

If you can't find drivers you could try the Standard ones, available if you choose change drivers in Display - Settings - Advanced - Monitor, click on choose drivers from a list, click on show all hardware, scroll to the top of the list, choose something.
Even if you can't find drivers for it on the web you can often find what it's maximum specs are and choose some standard driver setting that should work.

If the display will not fill the screen, or if it cannot display enough colors (it should be capable of at least 256 colors in any case) there are plenty of used crt monitors that are being discarded these days that you could grab or buy cheaply, such as at the local dump or a recycling place, a place that repairs computers or sells used computers and has used monitors, a flea market, garage or yard or rummage sales, Sally Ann thrift stores, ads in your local paper, etc.

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