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FantasyAcquiesce

Forcing Screen Resolution on Old Laptop

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Hello!

Today, I am wondering how I can force my old Dell Latitude D600 to display a resolution larger than 1024x768. The standard options won't offer this of course, but does it mean it's not possible? I really love the keyboard of the older laptop models and hope to use that with a good screen resolution. I recall using an application a couple years back on a Thinkpad R60 laptop to force a higher screen resolution, but then everything won't fit on the screen. Is it possible to have a larger resolution completely fit on my laptop's screen?

I am aware that doing this is not very good for performance, but I am hoping to go beyond the regular screen resolution.

Thank you for your time.

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What is the native resolution of the display fitted in the laptop?
Usually, displays only look at their best at their native resolution, so trying to go higher may actually produce poorer looking results.
:)

 

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This Dell forum thread seems to indicate that the maximum resolution is 1024 x 768, and that it's a limitation of the LCD display itself.

However, it looks like that model of laptop had different models of display available. If you're willing to do some hardware hunting and modding, a cursory look into the model revealed that there's a display available for that laptop model which has 1440 x 1050 native resolution. It looks like this store sells the screen you'd need.

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You can't invent pixels out of nowhere. What you are actually seeing is the maximum resolution of your screen, there's no way to increase it as every pixel physically correspond to an object on the screen that is charged electronically and displays a value between 16 and 235 (between 0 and 0.7 Volt) or 0 and 255 if it's full range of RGB which gives you what you see as an image. For instance, if you had a camera that was able to zoom enough you would see that when you are seeing white, each and every pixel is turned on with the maximum voltage available. You can basically see why you can't increase the resolution: there won't be enough pixels on your screen to fit it, so you would end up with a partially represented screen TL;DR parts of the elements of your desktop will fall out of your screen.

 

- trick and attempt 1

If you are really willing to try, you can use the Windows scaling function to scale down desktop icons and text or in Firefox/Chromium to zoom out web pages. This won't give you more resolution, however it will make text and icons smaller and give you the feeling of having a higher resolution.

 

- trick and attempt 2

Just like it's possible to encode images and video with a Frameserver, it must be possible to make a downscale of your desktop live. What I mean by that is that you will set the resolution very high and then you'll downscale the resulting signal down either via software or via hardware to fit the resolution of your screen. There are many resizing kernel like PointResize, Bilinear, Bicubic, Lanczos, Spline based resizers etc. I would personally suggest to use Spline64Resize or Lanczos. They are both very sharp, but spline is prone to create ringing on texts. This way you're definitely gonna make use of the space created by the new pixels, but you won't see them! What you'll see is rather an interpolation of them made by the resizing kernel you selected and it may look aliased or with ringing or even so mis-represented that it's impossible to read!

If you wanna learn more about resizing kernel, check this out (beware, it requires at least a basic knowledge of linear algebra): http://avisynth.nl/index.php/Resampling

 

Source: I'm a broadcast engineer :P you can find me on Doom9 (the international encoding forum) talking about... well... encoding all the time.

 

Edited by FranceBB
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There have been some scenarios where I've been able to put the wrong resolution on a display, and it would "work" but you couldn't see everything. Basically, a "virtual" resolution where the software is using the resolution you picked, but the hardware is using its native resolution. I recall this issue on eeePC. It was a problem because the screen was cut-off. If you had to visualize what I'm talking about, imagine how a windowed RDP session or VM window works.

If that is even a named method, I have only done it by accident. There was no control over where the anchor point was. So in Windows' typical fashion of 0,0 being the top left, that was always the anchor point, so you couldn't see the taskbar (if in the default location) and only half of the Start Menu if opened. It was Windows XP as well... maybe even Starter. There was no option to move the screen around either.

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In Display Properties, tell us what the current monitor is set to and then set it to Super Vga 1600x1200. After a restart, you should now be able to set the resolution up to the maximum the ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 can drive. The screen hardware might resize it to fit the LCD panel, or the driver or hardware might virtualize the mode and allow you to pan the panel viewport around the virtual screen/desktop (using the mouse or arrow keys?).

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If I install the modded Radeon 9000 Omega drivers, I am given an option to display screen resolutions beyond the norm. Problem is none of them will scale to the screen.

But thank you all for this wonderful advice!

I believe laptop will probably display a higher resolution if I hooked up a VGA cable to a monitor.

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No idea if this helps, it's just a pref for "dpi-scaling" Mozilla browsers, not the whole system.And am not sure if there's a difference between normal pagezoom and this dpi-faking. Anyway, perhaps worth a look as long as there's no easy solution for the whole system yet:

https://www.ghacks.net/2013/06/24/firefox-22-0-find-out-what-is-new/
Pref: layout.css.devPixelsPerPx (String)
1.0 = use real resolution (everything looks sharp)
-1 = automatic scaling (drove lots of people crazy when it became default and increased all image sizes, made them all fuzzy)
Value can be smaller or greater as 1, in 0.05 steps, e.g. 0.8 or 1.25 or 1.5 etc.

Since you want a HIGHER resolution, it means you want all elements SMALLER, that probably looks much less "fuzzy" as when increasing the size.

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What you did (enable virtual modes only) if different from what I asked. If you do not follow my instructions, I cannot help you. Please do exactly what I asked and report the results.

> I believe laptop will probably display a higher resolution if I hooked up a VGA cable to a monitor.
Only if the monitor driver loaded for it (such as Super VGA 1600x1200) reports higher resolution capability.

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A LCD monitor has a "native" resolution (number of pixels horizontal x number of pixels vertical).

Any resolution set in the video card different from the native LCD resolution either won't work or will be an interpolated resolution (fuzzy/blurred and usually also slower) or won't show the whole desktop area (as jumper hinted it would behave like a "virtual desktop").

@TrevMUN

That could be a very good idea to evaluate if the display has issues and needs to be replaced anyway, otherwise it seems like a very creative way to waste 120 £ + the time and there are some risks when changing a laptop screen (clearly doable as a DIY but not exactly "easy-peasy" if you are not familiar with the procedure).

jaclaz

 

 

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I changed the screen in my Asus netbook as it was fitted with a highly reflective one which was like looking in a mirror!
The matt finish one I replaced it with is much better. It wasn't too difficult to do, but obviously this varies a lot between different units.
Its native resolution is 1024x600, which means that Windows 8.1 apps will not open as they have to have at least 768 vertical resolution to work.
I used a registry hack to enable me to switch the resolution to 1024x768 to use the apps, but in this mode the display is not only blurry, but also compressed vertically so everything is distorted. That is preferable IMO to the image being the right shape but vertically cropped!
This is tolerable for temporary use to read the mail or news app, but hardly ideal, and is a good example of the undesirability of using any display at anything other than its native resolution.
:)

Edited by Dave-H
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You can use a tool like PowerStrip , Custom Resolution Utility or AsTray Plus to squeeze more pixels into your native display resolution. It will be blurry though, and you may get some flickering.

 

The better method is gonna cost you - replace the display itself for one with a higher resolution. You may need to also replace the display cable and (not likely) the CCFL inverter.

If you decide on upgrading, first find the model of your current display - you can use softMCCS , Aida64, or just disassemble the lappy and look at the sticker on the back of the display.

Then look up the display specs at panelook or a similar site. To change just the display you'll need one with the same Signal Type, Voltage Supply and Backlight specs. You may have to change the cable/inverter if you get a LED display, or one with a different (but similar) LVDS signal. Make sure the voltage stays the same though.

 

Good luck!

 

P.S. ifixit has a display replacement guide.

Edited by RainyShadow
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