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I am using Microsoft's Live Mesh program to remotely access a PC running Windows 7, running on 2 screens: one with 1920x1080 and the other 1920x1200 resolution.

I am accessing them via an old laptop with 1024x1078 resolution. The result is such tiny icons/commands that it is difficult to try and change the screen resolution from 2 high-res displays to the single low res display.

It would be great if there was a command line way of doing this. Or perhaps there is way through live mesh to do it. Any ideas?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

Use QRes then say,

QRes.exe /x:800 /y:600
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A tiny utility that does exactly what I need. – Bill Rodman Jan 29 '10 at 11:43
I combine this utility with the Windows7 DisplaySwitch.exe command: "C:\Windows\System32\DisplaySwitch.exe /internal" to switch exclusevely to the main monitor. – Bill Rodman Jan 29 '10 at 12:17
+1 for QRes. Brilliant little tool. – tombull89 Jul 8 '11 at 9:02
Displayswitch.exe also has command line parameters that allow you to create a shortcut that will set a specific display mode. /internal /clone /extend /external – JJS Jun 15 '12 at 22:41
Doesn't work with Windows x64. – Fantius Nov 24 '14 at 1:59

The nircmd freeware tool can do this.
To change the display to 1024 x 768 with a 24 bit color depth:

nircmd.exe setdisplay 1024 768 24

nircmd also has other very numerous functions.

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if you're using a laptop like mine that doesn't support 24-bit color. You might have to change the 24 to 32 -- nircmd.exe setdisplay 1024 768 32 – Julian Aug 15 '13 at 22:13

Try Display Changer, which can do this, as well as start a program and change the resolution back when it's stopped running (which you MAY be able to get working with mesh, but YMMV)

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I used a combination of Qres.exe and Sleep.exe (put these in your windows folder) in startup batch files to change resolution among 2 users. The actual script is as follows:

@echo off
sleep 2
QRes.exe /x:1280 /y:960

(Whereas the low-res copy is Qres.exe /x:800 /y:600)


If you want your icons to stay where you want them... read on.
You'll need two more downloads:

(Mind the periods on the URL's, I was only allowed 2 hyperlinks)

-> Startup Delayer:

-> DesktopOK

Install Startup Delayer and place DesktopOK wherever you like, I used my 'user' folder. Organize your desktop, how you want it to be on every reboot.

In DesktopOK go to Options and tick "Restore by Windows Startup", right click on the newly made "Icon Layout" and click "Use this for: Restore at Windows Startup".
At this point you'll need to also check "Start DesktopOK with windows". The later two options will be unchecked automatically by of Startup Delayer later on.

Now locate DesktopOK in Startup Delayer and right-click "Delay" it.

Now there's only one thing left to do, make your startup batch file.

@echo off
sleep 2
QRes.exe /x:1280 /y:960
sleep 1
"C:\Program Files\r2 Studios\Startup Delayer\Startup Launcher.exe" /LaunchApps=Common

Of course you'll need to put it in your startup folder, the reason the process is so extensive with the icons is because DesktopOK can't handle the resolution switch, and wants to move icons while the resolution is being changed, so we needed to delay the registry startup, and this is the only way I found. I don't dare claim this to be the best way, but I do claim it works, I found no other way, and I came up with the process myself. It gets around every aspect of the situation by replacing icons where they belong per-user.

Thanks for being so flexible Microsoft!

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None of the already mentioned tools had all that I needed, so I came up with my own solution: ChangeScreenResolution.exe


Change screen resolution of all monitors to 800x600px

ChangeScreenResolution.exe /w=800 /h=600

Change screen resolution of all monitors to 800x600px with refresh rate of 60Hz and 32bit color depth

ChangeScreenResolution.exe /w=800 /h=600 /f=60 /b=32

Set color depth of display with index 1 to 16bit

ChangeScreenResolution.exe /b=16 /d=1 

Quick overview of the options:

Possible options (you can set OR query)
  Setting options
    /w=<width>      Width in pixel       eg 800
    /h=<height>     Height in pixel      eg 600
    /f=<frequency>  display refresh rate eg 60
    /b=<bpp>        bits per pixel       eg 32

  Querying options
    /l              list all connected display devices
    /m              list all available mode settings

  Filtering options
    /d=<device>     devices to modify/query, separated by comma, eg:
                      all (default)
                      0 (monitor with index 0, see option /l)
                      0,2 (monitors with index 0 and 2)
                      \\.\DISPLAY1 (name of display, see option /l)
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I haven't tested your solution, but +1 for creating your own :) – Thomas Mar 29 at 18:03
Well, I ended up testing it and prefer it above the other options above in terms of simplicity. However, it didn't work for me (a display adapter problem on my end). Still, great little utility! – Thomas Mar 29 at 20:00
@Thomas what was the problem? If you use all devices it has to work for all of them. You should see in the output if an adapter fails. In my cases it was always a virtual one or so. I can see if I can provide a fix for that. – Alexander Taubenkorb Mar 30 at 5:47
I don't want to use these comments as a forum for troubleshooting. But it's definitely an error on our end. The computer is having a black screen on Windows boot but I can access a command line remotely via our RMM agent and I was hoping to force it into VGA mode to get the screen to come back up. No dice. Not a problem with your app, just the computer I was running it on. – Thomas Mar 31 at 17:15

While somebody already mentioned Nirsoft's nircmd, the best tool from Nirsoft for this purpose is MultiMonitorTool.

It supports multi-monitor, saved configurations, 32 and 64 bit, changes in resolution, activation and orientation, etc.

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