I regularly have to access the Windows 7 "Screen resolution" setting on a netbook with many full-screen windows open, often with bogged down CPUs.

These are the usual necessary steps I have to perform:

  • alt-tab to the desktop
  • right-click on the desktop
  • choose "Screen resolution"
  • from the "Multiple displays" dropdown select "Show desktop only on 2"
  • click on OK

Is there a way to access this setting instead from the start menu, the task bar, or a hotkey? Even better is there a way to make the "Show desktop only on 2" action directly from one of those places?


If you just want to change which display you use, rather than each display's resolution, you can cycle between the display options when using multiple monitors with the Win + P hotkey.

Or (if you want to change screen resolution):

You can directly access the Display > Screen Resolution page by typing:


in the Windows search bar, and selecting the top result (should be Adjust screen resolution). You'll still have to disable or enable the screen of your choice though.

I'm sure there's a trick for getting autohotkey to do it as well, but it evades me.


A few quicker versions:

Use Win + D to minimize all windows, then right click, etc.


Right click on desktop, make a new shortcut, location desk.cpl. Call it whatever you want. When you click the icon, the screen resolution dialog show, from which you can select monitor.

Right click on the new shortcut, in the shortcut tab make the shortcut you'd like. If it doesn't work, then it's probably already in use. Try another one.

I'm sure there'll be ways to shortcut to the single monitor, maybe with autohotkey.

  • I think you meant Windows + D. Didn't know about that and it's great thanks. But I'm having no luck with the shortcut. It says "The file desktop.cpl cannot be found." when I enter that under "Type the location of the item:" – hippietrail Apr 8 '11 at 8:08
  • Yes, I meant Windows + D, thanks for catching it. I also meant desk.cpl. Two mistakes in one post? I'm shocked at myself! Edits made. – outsideblasts Apr 8 '11 at 8:33
  • Aha I finally interpreted what you meant by "Right click on the new shortcut, in the shortcut tab make the shortcut you'd like." The second "shortcut" means "shortcut key" which is Windowsese for "hotkey". I also didn't at first get that you meant the shortcut tab of the properties dialog. It would also be nice if I could somehow attach my new shortcut icon to the taskbar... – hippietrail Apr 8 '11 at 8:53
  • desk.cpl shortcut i like it and you can pin this shortcut on taskbar for quick access. – kaykay Apr 8 '11 at 11:15

Right click on desktop > New > Shortcut. As location type in:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl

Give it some name like Screen Resolution.

Icon get from %windir%\System32\Display.dll.


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