Can I emulate a higher resolution on my monitor?
April 21, 2008 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Can I get my second monitor to emulate a higher resolution? I have an ATI Radeon video card using two monitors. The second monitor only goes up to 800X600 (an old LCD). However, Microsoft Flight Simulator X only allows the resolution of a display to be set to as low as 1024X768. I'd like the second monitor to think it is at that resolution and display a portion of the 1024X768 on its available area of 800X600. i don't care if the rest is not visible. Any ideas? Thanks!
posted by spacefire to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Almost certainly not - you can try changing the display set-up to allow you to choose resolutions that the monitor will not support, but the most likely result is complete garbage on the screen. Make sure you are working from the primary screen before you do this, or it can be difficult to change it back (picture yourself trying to change the resolution using mouse clicks and commands from memory).
posted by dg at 7:50 PM on April 21, 2008

(picture yourself trying to change the resolution using mouse clicks and commands from memory)

I once accidentally set a monitor (and the only one on the computer, none the less!) to 49 Hz, which obviously resulted in a blank screen. After a moment of freaking out I turned the computer off, unplugged the monitor, turned it on, then off again, then plugged the monitor in and turned it back on. This effectively made the computer re-detect the monitor and it picked the best settings for it, which worked.

So if that situation ever happens to you, just unplug the monitor and plug it back in. That will definitely work.
posted by DMan at 8:27 PM on April 21, 2008

You can do this easily in many operating systems, but in Windows, while it's possible, a whole lot of programming has often gone into making it really hard. That's because a viewport that is smaller than a virtual window can result in all the user "controls" being off-screen, simultaneously. When that happens, 95% of Windows users will bail. They're not going to remember or try any complicated keystroke combinations, and they won't even remember that the right click menu can contain options for restoring the desktop to "normal." So, Windows programmers are reminded to check the hardware, and never open application windows, or permit application windows to be manipulated in such a way that user controls disappear from the screen.

I don't know how many times I've gotten support calls from Windows users using nVidia display cards with nView, who've invoked a virtual desktop larger than their viewport, or panned all their interface controls out of their current viewport, calling me to complain how stupid the programmers were to make software like that. So, as a means of keeping support costs down, it's not a feature regularly discussed or much used on current video drivers for Windows.

Here's some advice for older ATI Radeon cards, and HydraVision, that might get you into a stable virtual desktop larger than your screen hardware, even if ATI no longer claims to support such. (Hint: turning off D.C.C. is key to keeping software from controlling your screens). And if that gives you no joy, you could always move to an OS that would :-)
posted by paulsc at 8:49 PM on April 21, 2008

I'm not sure if this will help, but I had a laptop where this was the default behaviour... Basically, if you set it to a higher resolution than it supported, then it would put the first 800x600 pixels on the screen and you'd have to scroll down (by putting the mouse at the bottom of the screen) to find the start menu! It was a Toshiba laptop, but I can't tell you what the graphics card was (and the laptop has since hit the dustbin).

However, with this in mind, have you tried telling the PC that the monitor is a "Default Plug-n-Play" and then setting the res of the monitor to 1024x768 and seeing what happens? It's a second monitor, so if it doesn't work, you can always change it back!
posted by ranglin at 9:17 PM on April 21, 2008

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