Can't get laptop to use external monitor's max resolution

Cliff's Notes of below post:
- External 24" monitor is capable of 1920x1200 resolution, but in "Settings" menu, slider bar doesn't go higher than 1024x768
- I've tried every single permutation of driver upgrade/rollback/uninstall/reinstall that you could possibly imagine, and nothing has ever changed re: my resolution problem.
- I've DEFINITELY had the monitor displaying at the desired resolution connected to this laptop before, but I can't, for the life of me, get it working again. I've prob rebooted my computer 50+ times past few days. Nothing's worked

I have spent the last 6 hours of my life trying to fix this. Please help me. Ready to jump off bridge.

I have a 24" Acer monitor capable of 1920x1200 max resolution. Only problem is that when I try to use it with my Dell 6400 Laptop running XP, I'm unable to set it to a higher resolution than 1024x768.

I know the monitor is capable of 1920x1200 b/c it runs seamlessly that way when connected to my other laptop. And I know that my laptop is capable of driving 1920x1200 because (and this is the most confusing part), I'm 110% sure that I had it working properly for a few months earlier this year. Unfortunately I had to take my laptop on a business trip, so disconnected it from the external monitor, and when I got back home and re-connected it, that's when it refused to recognize anything higher than 1024 x 768.

I've already done a ton of reading online, and most sources seem to suggest this is a driver problem, so I've done the following troubleshooting tasks:

1) Installed the most recent drivers for my ACER monitor.
2) Updated laptop's BIOS (using download from Dell's website)
3) Updated laptop's video drivers (I only have the standard "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile" fancy video card)
4) Updated the drivers for laptop's chipset
5) **Most Importantly** >> I've done every single combination of uninstalling, rolling back, re-installing, all of the above that you could possibly imagine. I think I've probably rebooted my computer at least 50 times in the last few days. NOTHING has got it to recognize any resolution above 1024x768 in the external monitor.

The 'wild card' in all of this, as I wrote, is that I HAD THIS SAME PROBLEM BEFORE, and I eventually got the max resolution displaying properly after a ton of misc monitor disconnecting/reconnecting, etc.
I wish I could tell you exactly what I did to fix it those times, but all I remember was that it when I finally got it to work, I was shocked because I hadn't done anything just seemed to be some magic 'ordering' of the reboot process/connecting the VGA cable (laptop doesn't have DVI), etc that finally got it to work, and I didn't think to document it cuz I was just happy to have it finally working (note that I got it working before without having to do any driver updating shenanigans).

Here's 2 final pieces of info, although I'm not sure how much help they'll be:

1) The "closest" I've got it to working, is that I can get the 24" monitor to "acknowledge" the 1920x1200 resolution and display everything, although you have to "pan" over and down on the monitor. In other words, I still only see 1024x768 pixels *on screen*, but if I move the mouse pointer onto the monitor and move the mouse near the right-edge or the bottom edge of the screen, it will "pan" over/down, so the entire area I guess is 1920x1200, it's just not all viewable on the screen at once (hope that made sense). So while I'm not actually getting all 1920x1200 pixels on the screen, the monitor's at least 'recognizing' that there are that many pixels to display even if it's not showing them to me all at once.

2) When I right-click on the desktop and choose Settings (which is the menu where I've been doing all my fiddling), there are 2 rectangles displayed, one of which corresponds to my laptop's display (1680x1050), and the other one corresponding to my external monitor. When I highlight the rectangle corresponding to the external monitor and the "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor" radio box is NOT checked (and therefore there's only a display on the laptop's screen, not the monitor), the slider bar corresponding to the external monitor actually DOES go up to 1920x1200 (!). HOWEVER, when I drag it all the way to the right (1920x1200), and then check the "Extend my WIndows desktop onto this monitor" radio box and hit Apply, my desktop gets extended onto the 24" monitor BUT all of a sudden the slider bar changes into one that only goes from 800x600 to 1024x768. If I then uncheck the radio box and hit Apply, poof > it turns back into a slider bar that goes out to 1920x1200 (but of course there's no picture on the monitor). In other words, when I'm telling my computer that I don't want it to extend my desktop onto the monitor, it acts as though it recognizes that the monitor attached to the VGA port is capable of displaying 1920x1200, but as soon as I tell it to extend my desktop onto that monitor, it's like it goes "Hey, just kidding, now I'm only going to recognize the monitor as being capable of 1024x768".

Oh, by the way, my laptop doesn't have any fancy graphics card; just the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile integrated graphics thing, and the Adapter type is listed as "Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset Family", driver version As I wrote above, I've gone through every permutation of driver upgradte/rollback/uninstall/reinstall that you could possibly imagine, and nothing has ever changed re: my resolution problem. (And as I also wrote, the time I got it to work previously, I never fiddled with any driver upgrades or just spontaneously started working)
14 answers Last reply
More about laptop external monitor resolution
  1. bump
  2. Same problem here, anybody please?
  3. bump. same here.
  4. Same problem - no solution !

    BR from Sweden
  5. Perhaps this works; go to display properties select external monitor (2). Push advanced button. Select your control center ATI or NVIDIA, a setting dialog screen comes up with a square and arrows. Drag the square to center display on external monitor, click apply. In other words use the control center of your video card, rather than only the display settings resolution field from the control panel.
    Tom from Canada
  6. I had the same problem and came across this Intel link:

    Basically what I ahd to do is switch from clone to single display mode.

    Hope this helps anyone!
  7. I fixed the problem I had with my 1080p maximum accepting 1600x1200. It had nothing to do with my computer. I took the power out on the screen (the cable, don't actually click the button, just rip the cable out, as it'll force a reset, since it's memory that controls the screen can't follow without power). When it restored it automatically chose 1920x1080.
  8. What a simple and neat solution - it worked for me. The only tweak to it that I found is to have your laptop back to the primary display so the external display is not being used. I first tried it while using the external display and when I plugged it back in it was still messed up.
  9. My riend, you guys a GREAT! I can't beleive after all the digging around on the web I did trying to find a freakin latest Win7 video driver (and all the related violent thoughts I had towards MS!) that the WHOLE problem was my monitor needed to be unplugged! GENIUS! THANKS A MMMMMILIION!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!! :hello:
  10. With my new Dell 6400 I found that I had to set the graphics output to Monitor only to get it to go to 1280x1024. On dual output mode it defaulted the monitor back to 1152x864 (even with surfcr8zy's tip) The laptop screen is dark, but it's a small sacrifice.
  11. We had the exact same problem in the original post and here was the solution for us:

    The monitor's refresh rate some how got set to 200 Hz refresh rate.
    We changed the monitors refresh rate back down to 60 Hz and it fixed the problem.

    Before when the monitor's refresh rate was set to 200 Hz, the monitor never went over 1024x768.
    After we set it down to 60 Hz, the monitor correctly went to 1920x1200.

    I'm not sure what caused this issue. The repro steps were:
    1. Undocked laptop.
    2. Used laptop at a meeting for about 2 hours.
    3. Redocked laptop.

    Secondary monitor seemed to be at 1024x768 resolution with a 1920x1200 panning desktop.
  12. My custom 945gm driver. Use it at your own risk.

    I'm using it on dell inspiron 6400.
    I wasn't be able to get over 1024x768 with all the other original 945gm drivers no matter what I do.
    But finally I managed to fix it by making my own gfx driver.
    well, the site is:

    you can download the software to make your own driver or just try the one I'm using at the moment(1st link).

    I didn't test it at all yet, but for the 2nd day its still working: 1920x1080 on LG 22" LED(E2250V).
    You'r gonna be able to use 1 external(vga) monitor and the laptop display, both can be modified seperately.
    NO tv out!
  13. Here's how I fixed the same problem... If you go into screen resolution (right click on the desktop) click on advanced settings and there might be a tab (if you have an ATI graphics controller like my HP G62 laptop) marked ATI Catalyst TM Control Center!
    Whatever..! If you run this wizard using the basic, easy mode it allows you to set up the monitors to dual or single external etc and of course set the resolution. It worked for me and allowed me to turn off my laptop screen too and just use the 23" HD res monitor I added. Btw I first installed the HP monitor drivers from the CD that came with the external screen - before I came up against this issue..
  14. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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