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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Solution for Stucked with Low Resolution Screen in Windows Vista / Windows 7

This is a record for myself and also whoever that face the same problem, a solution that I've been searching for almost 3 years and finally I cracked it! If you notice my computer gear listed at the right side of the blog, I'm running the following hardware:

Mainboard: ASUS P5K-PL
Graphic Card: XFX GF 9600GT (650MHz) 512MB DDR3 256bit
Monitor: 22" Samsung 2232BW 2ms 3000:1 (Analogue + Digital)

Nothing wrong with the combination and some techie might ask why I use a cheapskate mainboard? Well, it serve the minimum requiremnets that I need and I don't hack the mainboard for more juice, so no different to me. Problem is with the monitor. Samsung 2232BW display is very vivid and sharp but unfortunately that Samsung is only famous in the world of television, and not personal computer. Samsung never update their monitor driver and it's daunting in the world of technology that move in light speed.

I'm running Windows XP when I assembled the unit and I'm still stucked with it for almost 3 years till yesterday, because I couldn't get the monitor to display the optimum 1680x1050 resolution in Windows Vista or Windows 7. Last week I got a bit bored so decided to play with it again trying to complete my long quest to solve the problem. Finally I manage the find the culprit of the whole problem. If you have problem with resolution stucked in low range in Windows Vista or newer, then read on as 99% of the people out there have the same problem.

Ugly stucked at 1024x768 =(

Reveal of culprit, EDID. EDID stands for Extended Display Identification Data that eventually what Windows Vista has been start using that change how the communication between the monitor and Windows works. For those people that stucked with lousy-no-update monitor manufacturer (like Samsung), they are most likely to have this problem. With the old driver, it doesn't transmit EDID information to Windows and it get treated as an old monitor that's running 1024x768. There is no way to change it, no matter what you do to the graphic card or mainboard driver, as Windows cannot talk to the monitor. There are two solutions.

1. Modify the connection on the monitor to break the EDID communication between Monitor & Windows. It's hardware modification and I don't have the plan to damage any of my expensive stuff.

2. Hack the EDID and give a fake communication to Windows. It works by manually writting the EDID information on the monitor driver to tell the Windows what we want the Windows to recognise.

I'm doing no.2 solution here, as I prefer soft solution rather than breaking hardware. You will need 2 programs, first is Phoenix and second is MonInfo. Both link is available as highlighted, so download it. Install the latest driver for your monitor and run the Phoenix. In Phoenix, click registry toolbar and select your monitor driver. If your monitor driver doesnt show up then you are using wrong driver, try other driver and start over. Once recognised, then click on the pencil toolbar for changes to the information. Go to standard timings tab and change the Timing ID #1 to your monitor optimum resolution.

Example for mine of 1680x1050 @ 60Hz, I set H.Active pixels to 1680, 60Hz refresh rate and 16:10 aspect ratio.

Disabled the rest of the Timing ID if you wish to avoid confusion and dont touch the rest. Press file and save the EDID. Then run the MonInfo and open the EDID file that you just saved. If MonInfo doesn't recognise the EDID file then you are doing something wrong. Re-do everything to be sure. Once opened, go to file and click create INF and save it. Go to your computer hardware control panel and choose to update the monitor driver manually and choose this file. Once installed, restart the computer and you should see the new resolution is available for you to choose. Kau tim!

My beautiful 1680x1050@60Hz running Windows 7.

The above solved my problem with VGA cable, and I havent' try the digital HDMI cable yet. If your HDMI cable doesnt work with this, then stick to VGA cable. Better than none. Cheers!

PS: for those that's adventurous, this method can be use to hack the display, but do at own risk ok. As it might "smoke" your monitor, hehe ...

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