Fixing second monitor resolution problems

or how to fix just about any IT problem

As a web designer, I work with two monitors. My graphics card has two video output sockets. One is the modern DVI output and the other is the old fashioned VGA output. This allows me to connect two screens to my PC and by adding some settings to Personlisation in Windows, I am able to stretch my Desktop across two monitors.

My left-hand monitor is the better monitor and is connected by DVI and I use this to hold my web browser when I am creating websites as this gives me the best resolution and colour rendition. I use the second monitor on the right to place my text editor where I can see the code behind the web page. This way, I can find problems on web pages by being able to view both the web page and the code at the same time. This works very well for me.

Resolution detected incorrectly

The other day, however, a problem suddenly reared its head. My monitor on the right looked a little blurry and the objects on it seemed to be distorted and misshapen. So I went into the menu settings of my second monitor and found that the resolution being sent by the computer was being wrong. I was surprised by this since I hadn't changed it recently but nevertheless I went into Windows Personalisation to rectify the problem.

However, the second monitor's resolution was not available in the list of resolutions. This was mystifying. So I went into the NVIDIA control panel to check my graphic card's settings and upon inspection it reported that the second monitor's native resolution was 1024 pixels by 768 pixels. Since I knew the correct resolution was 1440 pixels by 900 pixels I knew now that the root of my problem was that the graphics card was detecting the resolution incorrectly.

Perhaps something had gone wrong in my monitor or with the cable. I decided to use trusty old Google to find the cause. Normally, when you have a problem with your computer, someone has talked about the same problem on the Internet and you can find the solution.

I found many ideas on there and they either did not make sense or if I tried them, simply did not work.

Switch it off then switch it back on

I then remembered an old IT custom. If it isn't working, then switch it off and switch it on again. This is the secret to curing so many computer problems I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before. Sadly, it did not work for me though. So once again I was stuck and I had to return to Google.

In all the hundreds of pages, forum entries and blog entries I read, I suddenly discovered the solution to my problem.

What to do when switching off and switching back on doesn't work:

There is a second IT secret fix that I hadn't thought of. Switch everything off and unplug it for 10 minutes and then switch it all back on again. You see, lots of IT equipment remembers some settings when left plugged in as it keeps capacitors in the system running which allow small amounts of data to be retained. Switching off for at least 30 seconds lets these run out and therefore reset themselves.

I took no chances and waited 10 minutes and then Hey Presto! Everything worked!

So if you have a strange problem with your computer, before you try anything, switch it off and switch it back on. If that fails, then switch it off, unplug it, leave it for 10 minutes and then switch it back on.

And if that fails, it's time to call in the experts!

I sincerely hope this helps many of you out there ready to throw your computers out of the window.

Net Quality