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Change Desktop Resolution With a Keyboard Shortcut

Do you find yourself changing your monitor resolution several times a day?  If so, you might like this handy way to set a keyboard shortcut for your most-used resolutions.

Most users rarely have to change their screen resolution often, as LCD monitors usually only look best at their native resolution.  But netbooks present a unique situation, as their native resolution is usually only 1024×600.  Some newer netbooks offer higher resolutions which may not looks as crisp as the native resolution but can be handy for using a program that expects a higher resolution.  This is the perfect situation for a keyboard shortcut to help you change the resolution without having to hassle with dialogs and menus each time, and HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer makes it easy to do.

Create Keyboard Shortcuts

Download the HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer (link below), unzip, and then run HRC.exe in the folder.

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This will start a tray icon, and will not automatically open the HRC window.  You don’t have to install HRC.  Double-click the tray icon to open it. 

Note: Windows 7 automatically hides new tray icons, so if you can’t see it, click the arrow to see the hidden tray icons.

cnange res - sshot-467

By default, HRC will show two entries with your default resolutions, color depth, and refresh rate.

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Add a keyboard shortcut by clicking the Change button over the resolution.  Press the keyboard shortcut you want to press to switch to that resolution; we entered Ctrl+Alt+1 for our default resolution.  Make sure not to use a keyboard shortcut you use in another application, as this will override it.  Click Set when you’ve entered the hotkey(s) you want.

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Now, on the second entry, select the resolution you want for your alternate resolution.  The drop-down list will only show your monitor’s supported resolutions, so you don’t have to worry about choosing an incorrect resolution.  You can also set a different color depth or refresh rate for this resolution.  Now add a keyboard shortcut for this resolution as well.

change res - sshot-463

You can set keyboard shortcuts for up to 9 different resolutions with HRC.  Click the Select number of HotKeys button on the left, and choose the number of resolutions you want to set.  Here we have unique keyboard shortcuts for our three most-used resolutions on our netbook.

sshot-468

HRC must be kept running to use the keyboard shortcuts, so click the Minimize to tray icon which is the second icon to the right.  This will keep it running in the tray.

change res - sshot-464

If you want to be able to change your resolution anytime, you’ll want HRC to automatically start with Windows.  Create a shortcut to HRC, and paste it into your Windows startup folder.  You can easily open this folder by entering the following in the Run command or in the address bar in Explorer:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

change res - sshot-466 

Conclusion

HRC- HotKey Resolution Changer gives you a great way to quickly change your screen resolution with a keyboard shortcut.  Whether or not you love keyboard shortcuts, this is still a much easier way to switch between your most commonly used resolutions.

Download HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 05/20/10

Comments (11)

  1. Matthew

    Q: Do you find yourself changing your monitor resolution several times a day?

    A: No.

  2. Matthew Lucas

    Is there a command line argument?
    Might be useful for scripting different resolutions for different users during the logon process

  3. Matthew Guay

    @Matthew Lucas – I’ve heard of a command line utility for changing resolution called Qres, but I’ve never tried it out.

  4. Jeffrey Paul Zacher

    @Matthew This is valuable if you are a web designer an look at pages in 3 or 4 resolutions on several browsers before you publish.

    I just played with this and it didn’t work too well with my laptop. But I have an Intel Video driver (Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family) and its a bugger to get it to work with Linux (e.g., I can’t use Google Earth on Sabayon). But in theory I need something like this…

  5. vtzete0

    @Matthew – I do change my monitor resolution several times a day when I conduct WebEx meetings online.

  6. Computer Support Kingston

    thanks, nice screenshots as well.

  7. Zippy

    I’d like to find a similar tool that also reconfigures multiple monitor setups, so I could enable/disable my second monitor quickly.

  8. David

    Is this going to help with the difference in display when I switch from laptop to Monitor or are there internal settings I should be making? I find when I switch to Monitor everything is too big but I don’t want to screw up the settings for the laptop. any thoughts/advice?

  9. Matthew Guay

    @Zippy – I’m not aware of a tool for that. This tool only works on one monitor, so it wouldn’t help that situation. Sorry!

  10. Craig

    @Zippy

    Give AutoHotKey a try. It’s a little more confusing, but you can record your mouse and set up a macro pretty easily to do it for you.

  11. simon

    This is great, but for such a small app it takes over 8 megs of memory.

    I miss QUICKRES, a Win95 powertool which worked with W98SE too.
    It added a simple tray icon which gave a list of allowed screen resolutions. Just pick one…

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