Screen resolution refers to the clarity of the text and images displayed on your screen. At higher resolutions, such as 1600 x 1200 pixels, items appear sharper. They also appear smaller so more items can fit on the screen. At lower resolutions, such as 800 x 600 pixels, fewer items fit on the screen, but they appear larger.
The resolution you can use depends on the resolutions your monitor supports. CRT monitors generally display a resolution of 800 × 600 or 1024 × 768 pixels and can work well at different resolutions. LCD monitors, also called flat-panel displays, and laptop screens often support higher resolutions and work best at a specific resolution.
The larger the monitor, usually the higher the resolution it supports. Whether you can increase your screen resolution depends on the size and capability of your monitor and the type of video card you have.
LCD monitors, including laptop screens, typically run best at their native resolution. You don't have to set your monitor to run at this resolution, but it's usually recommended in order to ensure you see the sharpest text and images possible. LCD monitors generally come in two shapes: a standard proportion of width to height of 4:3, or a widescreen ratio of 16:9 or 16:10. A widescreen monitor has both a wider shape and resolution than a standard ratio monitor.
If you're unsure of your monitor's native resolution, check the product manual or go to the manufacturer's website. Here are typical resolutions for some popular screen sizes:
When you change the screen resolution, it affects all users who log on to the computer.
When you set your monitor to a screen resolution that it can't support, the screen will go black for a few seconds while the monitor reverts back to the original resolution.
Article ID: 14108 - Last Review: Apr 27, 2016 - Revision: 11