Tutorial Thursday

Have you ever wanted to change the resolution of your computer in a single click? There are various reasons that you may want to do that, such as playing a game that requires a certain resolution or developing a program that needs to be tested in various conditions. Today we’re going to show you how to create a simple shortcut that can be used to switch between multiple resolutions.

This trick is going to require a third-party application called Resolution Changer, but it requires absolutely no installation and will eat up a mere 150KB of your hard drive. With it you’ll be able to adjust the resolution, color depth, and refresh rate with the shortcuts you create. It even has support for multiple monitors!


Setting up a shortcut to use Resolution Changer is a quick process, but there are a ton of different options that you can configure. Be sure to checkout a list of some other options available at the end of this article.

  1. Download Resolution Changer (the console version), and put it in a location you’ll know how to access from the command line. The easiest spot for it would probably be at the root of the C:\ drive, which is where I’ve placed it on my system.
  2. Now we need to create the shortcut to the application. Right-click on your Desktop and choose New -> Shortcut. You’ll need to enter in the location of the shortcut followed by the width and height that you want the resolution set to. Here’s my example where I’m changing the resolution of the screen to 800×600:

    C:\reschangecon.exe -width=800 -height=600

    In Vista it should look something like this (Click to Enlarge):
    Resolution Changer Shortcut

  3. Now specify a name for the shortcut, and finish the wizard. Double-clicking on the new shortcut will set the resolution to whatever value you specified.

–Other Options Available–

There is a lot more that you can do with Resolution Changer, and if you’re feeling ambitious you might want to tinker with some of the other settings:

  • Multiple Monitor Support
    This does support multiple monitors, and more information on that can be found here. To sum it up you can change the resolution of a specific monitor by providing the monitor number in this format:

    reschangecon.exe -monitor="\\.\DISPLAY1" -width=800 -height=600

  • Launch an Application
    After the resolution has been changed you can have an application or document opened immediately afterwards:

    reschangecon.exe -width=800 -height=600 "c:\test.exe"

    What’s cool about that is after the program or document is closed the resolution will revert back to what it was like before it was executed.

  • Adjust the Color Depth and Refresh Rate
    There are two other options that can be used to adjust the color depth and refresh rate of the monitor. Accepted values for the color depth are: “4” = 16 colors, “8” = 8-bit, “16” = 16-bit, “24” = 24-bit, and “32” = 32-bit. Here’s how you can adjust the depth and/or refresh rate:

    reschangecon.exe -width=640 -height=480 -depth=8 -refresh=72

–Extra Credit–

You can also assign an icon to the shortcut that you just created and/or establish a keyboard hotkey for quickly switching between resolutions. Just right-click on the shortcut and choose the Properties option. From there you can configure the shortcut key or change the icon:

Resolution Changer Shortcut Icon

I’m sure this is going to spark some discussion about alternative ways to changing resolutions on your computer, and there are all kinds of apps that run in the System Tray doing the same kind of thing. The reason why I prefer this shortcut method is that the program only runs when I need it to, which saves on both processing and memory. It’s just my personal preference, but I like to minimize the number of applications I have running at a time.