Screen Resolution Reset
Original Publication Date: 1999-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Changing screen resolutions can often be a risky task if it is not known in advance whether certain resolutions will work correctly before selecting and activating them. Changing the screen resolution from standard VGA to a resolution that a particular screen cannot handle, say, 1024x768, 256 colors, True Color (32 bit) may suddenly result in a contorted scrolling screen that is completely unreadable and unusable. Even worse, once the screen is in this state, there is often not a desirable recovery path, because the screen is indiscernible, and therefore unusable. Clearly, the user cannot use the desktop or its graphical user interfaces to change the resolution back to something that works. So, the user is forced to reboot the computer, and make use of bootable media (diskette or cd-rom) that allows a safe screen resolution to be selected. The severity of the "reboot and reselect penalty" often prevents some users from even attempting to change screen resolutions. Unless absolutely necessary, the risk associated with changing the resolution is not worth it, if the result may require rebooting the computer and reselecting screen resolution. The process of changing screen resolution currently involves navigating a desktop-provided graphical user interface. Windows 95*, for instance, provides the "Display Properties" GUI from the Control panel. From there a user can select whatever screen resolution that will work. Should an invalid resolution be selected and enabled, clearly a better solution is needed. Since VGA mode is always a safe mode, the desktop could enable a keyboard sequence that will reset the current screen resolution to VGA mode. So, once a user encounters this problem of selecting an invalid screen resolution, the user could simply hit the keyboard sequence to return the screen resolution to VGA mode. Since this is a safe resolution, which guarantees that the screen is in a usable state, the user could further reset the screen resolution back to the original valid setting. Note that the keyboard sequence should be sufficiently complicated to avoid accidental enablement. Moreover, since the "resolution reset" service is provided by the desktop, the key sequence is desktop specific. So, the key sequence may differ from desktop to desktop. Trademark of Microsoft Corporation.