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Changing Screen Resolution Automatically

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Edward Falzon

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Posted: 9 Aug 2000

Current version: ZENworks 2

A little while ago we published this Q&A, and our newest Board of Review member, Edward Falzon (of ZENith fame) had some additional thoughts. Here's what was posted in the original Q&A:

Q: Kevin J. wrote: I am running ZENworks for Desktops v2.0 in a school corporation. One of the problems is that some of the applications require a different screen size and resolution than what the computers are set to. Is there a way to have ZENworks change the screen resolution when the application launches?

A: Not unless the application stores its screen size in a local configuration file like an INI file or the registry.

Edward's Solution

The application's ini files are not relevant. If you want to change the resolution of the PC, have the user change the registry setting "HKCC\Display\Settings\Resolution" to any of "1024,768" or "800,600" or "640,480" etc., and force reboot. Configure the AO to run a post-termination script to reset the resolution and run a reboot.exe program.

The following Cool readers sent their own solution to this problem.

Ard Blenke

This a suggestion for changing the screen resolution. You can use this tool:

It can run in a login script and you can add the resolution on the command line or with a shortcut.

Danny J. Wall

Another solution for changing screen resolution. I have an application that requires a ridiculous 1280X1024 resolution. This is certainly nice for graphics, but Office, GroupWise and almost any of the other 600 applications our organization uses, are best at 800X600.

Since we lock our users down tight, (video as well), this creates a problem. My solution is to use a shareware app like b or VidRes. I distribute the program (usually one exe) to the hard drive along with my other application. Then I use a command line similar to the following:


under Environment/Command Line Perameters:

c=8 x=1280 y=1024 /r /d f=75 C:\Program Files\ncdsoft\pcxware\XNCD.EXE

This will set your resolution to 8 bit color depth, 1280X1024, 75Hz refresh and then run the app. This works great considering I can control all aspects of the resolution to account for different hardware capabilities. After the app closes, the screen is returned to normal size, color, refresh; All on the fly. Hope this helps and let me know if you have questions.

If you have any questions you may contact Danny at

Geoff Taylor

An answer for Kevin J's question on how to change the screen resolution using ZEN when an application launches. We use the capabilities of "quickres" built-in to Win95/98. The trick is to employ a small front-end application called Qres available as a free download from

Qres is run as an app with command line parameters that set the screen depth and resolution as well as the program to run. For example, Qres c=16 x=640 /R myprogram would change the screen to 16 colour, 640x480, run myprogram, then restore the screen to its previous state on completion. This is done without re-booting.

We have used this method for coping with those programs that simply must use 16 colour 640x480 screens.

Charles Hucks

I am currently using a freeware utility called Qres which allows changing screen resolution "on the fly". By using this app in a pre-launch script, I am able to run those annoying apps that require specific resolutions without requiring a reboot. In the post-launch script, I again use Qres to return the computer's resolution to its original settings.

Kevin Jaberg

I saw you posted my question and a response regarding re-sizing screen resolutions for applications. I just wanted to let you know that we found a utility called MultiRes which is a 32-bit command line utility that will change the screen resolution. We put the statement in the Pre/post launch script to change the resolution and the number of collors to whatever the application requires and then change it back in the post launch script. We found this utility at

James Fraser

I had been struggling with this issue for months when I discovered a very handy little app called MultiRes from Entech It allows you to change the screen resolution without a reboot, and from the command line. I placed the exe on the local HD hidden away in the system folder and call the program up to change the resolution from a NAL icon. We have specific icons to change the res. to predefined settings so we don't have to give our students access to the Display settings. I would think that you could use the same command line variables in a distribution or launch script.

Marcus Williamson NEW

Your article says that you can't change your screen resolution automatically. Using the utility ChangeRes, you can do this. I've been using this with ZENworks customers for the last two years in several ways:

  1. As NAL icons providing "640x480", "800x600" and "1024x768" NAL applications on the desktop, allowing the user to change to any of these resolutions.
  2. As a "force run" for visually impaired users to switch the resolution to 640x480 for easier visibility.
  3. As a program run before an application to force it to a certain resolution. This can be run from within NAL or from a batch file.

See here for the software:

If you have any questions you may contact Marcus at

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