RapidResRapidRes Screen Resolution Manager Utility- FREE

Computer monitors can operate in many different video modes. In most cases, the decision about how many pixels and colors to display is yours—but not always. You may, for example, want to run some particularly picky programs (games mostly) that require your system to be set to a particular resolution and color capability.

RapidRes: Figure 1
Click to enlarge

The standard way to change the video mode in Windows is rather clumsy. Before you can set the desired resolution and color depth, you have to open the Display Properties dialog box—the same dialog box you use to change your wallpaper and screen saver (Figure 1). To do so, you must either go through Control Panel or right-click on the Desktop and select Properties from the pop-up menu. Whichever you choose, the process is unnecessarily awkward.

Note: StormPredator Prefers 1024x768 resolution at 24 or 32 bits to show all menu features. Some systems running 800x600 may hide some menu buttons off screen.


RapidRes: Figure 2
Click to enlarge

RapidRes lets you make video-mode switches with much less fuss. The RapidRes icon sits in your taskbar tray. Simply moving the mouse pointer to the RapidRes icon shows you the current video settings. Just click on the icon with either the left or right mouse button, and you invoke a menu that lets you change the resolution, color depth, or refresh rate settings individually or switch to a complete setting combination in one shot (Figure 2). Double-clicking the RapidRes icon brings up the Display Properties dialog, allowing you to change the system-font size and other settings.

RapidRes runs under Microsoft Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP. It doesn't run under Windows 95, because Windows 95 doesn't report the current refresh frequency.


The RapidRes Menu

The top three items on the RapidRes menu are Resolution, Color depth, and Refresh rate. (The Refresh Rate item will not display if the video display adapter has only one refresh rate.) These three menu items display submenus that let you change each video display setting without affecting the other two.

Settings that are not compatible with the current video mode are disabled. For example, when the color depth is 32 bits per pixel and the refresh rate is 75 Hz, items on the Resolution menu that are not compatible with those settings will be disabled.

RapidRes: Figure 3
Click to enlarge


If you want to switch to a setting that is disabled in the current configuration, use the Complete setting submenu. This lists all compatible combinations of settings in a series of cascading menus. (When only one refresh rate is associated with a particular combination of resolution and color depth, the refresh rate is not displayed.)

You can save particular video-setting combinations using the Save current setting menu item. This is handy when, for example, you have a frequently used application that requires certain video parameters. Any settings you save in this way are stored in the file RapidRes.ini and appear on the RapidRes menu the next time you display it (Figure 3).

RapidRes: Figure 4
Click to enlarge


Some computer monitors can't handle particular video-mode settings. For this reason, RapidRes gives you a panic button (Figure 4) similar to the one that Display Properties provides. Click on Yes to keep the new settings. If the new settings make the screen unreadable, you can revert to the previous video mode by pressing the Esc key or by waiting for the dialog box to complete its countdown. If you want more time to think about it—perhaps you want to fiddle with your monitor to see if the new video mode is feasible—click on the Pause button to temporarily halt the countdown.

A particular video-mode setting combination consists of a resolution, a color depth, and a refresh rate. There is no mix of settings that is optimal for all applications. Trade-offs may make one combination right for one application and another good for something else.

The resolution—or more correctly, the screen size—of a display is given in terms of the number of pixels horizontally and vertically. Increasing the screen size (which doesn't increase the monitor's physical display area, of course) squeezes more pixels into the same amount of display space, so although more items fit on screen, each one becomes smaller. Most users pick the highest legible resolution.

At very high resolutions, reading normal text can become difficult, so you may decide to change your system font size. RapidRes can't help you with this job, though. You'll need to invoke the Display Properties dialog box, choose the Settings tab, click on the Advanced button, and select a new system font size. Reboot to make the new choice effective.

RapidRes shows all resolutions the video board can produce, so you'll probably see a few—such as 320-by-200—that aren't really suitable with Windows. Windows needs a resolution of at least 640-by-480 to run well, and many applications assume that the resolution is at least 640-by-480.

LCD displays have a fixed number of pixels and generally display only one resolution sharply. If you go lower than that resolution, the display may seem blurred. If you go higher, part of the Windows display may not be visible.