Apr 5, 2012

Getting Rid of Large Black Monitor Borders

I recently purchased a large Samsung monitor and wanted to drive it off the HDMI port on my Dell laptop. It worked, but the monitor had large black borders around all the sides effectively making it a much smaller monitor. Figuring out how to fix this, using the byzantine user interface horror known as the ATI Catalyst Control Center, was anything but straightforward. And you, in the back with the NVidia graphics card, stop that giggling.

The biggest problem is when you launch the control panel and go to the Advanced mode, it starts at a panel other than the Home panel. It's possible that a couple of years ago when I first launched and used it, it remembered the last location I used, but still it's strange to hide the most useful starting place. It would also appear that the critical Configuration view is only accessible from a context menu on the Home screen. Why anyone would think this is a good user interface design is beyond me. Below is an image-based navigation aid. You can Start by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting Screen Resolution. Once the Screen Resolution control panel is launched select your monitor of interest and then do the steps shown by the big black numbers in the images below:

  1. Click on the Advanced Settings  link in the screen resolution control panel.
  2. Select the Catalyst Tab in the modal dialog that appears
  3. Click the ATI Catalyst Control Center Button
  4. Click on the Home button
  5. Right click the monitor of interest as shown (the big monitor icons in the middle don't have the context menu)
  6. Select Configure…
  7. In the configure view (see 2nd image) click the Scaling Options
  8. Slide the Scan slider until the full monitor is used.

Now save all the changes and enjoy the extra screen real estate. Now if I could just figure out how to force the SyncMaster S27A350H into 1920X1200. I did it once by configuring a separate monitor and then swapping the cable, but at the next computer restart it reverted to 1920 x 1080. I know the aspect ratio would be off, but the extra 120 pixels are nice to have. There's probably a path through the Catalyst Control Center maze that I just haven't found yet. 

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About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.