Whenever I am home in Hingham, I usually help out my parents with their computer. This time it had to do with their monitor, as they recently purchased a new machine, and they also bought a Dell LCD monitor.

I noticed that it was a wide format screen, with a 16x9 aspect ratio, which is good for watching some DVDs. My dad had changed the settings of the monitor to be 4x3, because he was concerned that the wider format would distort his digital pictures. I assured him it wouldn’t, proceeded to restore the 16x9 aspect ratio, and then set the monitor to its native resolution: 1600x1050.

After making these changes, the display looked great, but the resolution was too high, and my dad couldn’t read the text. Windows XP comes with two methods of increasing the text display size, but in the end it wasn’t just the text in Windows, it was also the text in Adobe Photoshop CS4, as well as the icons in there.

We switched it back to the 4x3 aspect ratio, and reduced the resolution to 1280x1024. It doesn’t look great, but at least its not too out of scale, and its usable.

I don’t really understand why Windows doesn’t have better ways to manage resolution now that so many displays are LCD, which come with one native resolution set. That’s too bad.