I've installed Windows XP SP2 on a computer (there was not SP at all). Now the display settings are set back to 640x480 and 4 bits colors. And I can't change it, it is the only option in Settings tab of the Display dialog of Windows.

The screen look awful now, how can I solve this problem?

UPDATE: Seems to be a problem with the video driver (thanks @Karan and @Hennes). I did run Speccy (PC-Wizard freezes the computer) and this is a part of the log file:

    Operating System
        Microsoft Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP3
        Intel Celeron
        Willamette 0.18um Technology
        512 MB DDR @ 133MHz (2.5-3-3-6)
        COMPAQ 0838h (FC-478)
        Standard Monitor (640x480@1Hz)
    Hard Drives
        19.0GB Maxtor 2B020H1 (PATA)
    Optical Drives
        No optical disk drives detected
        No audio card detected


        Name    Standard Monitor on
        Current Resolution  640x480 pixels
        Work Resolution 640x450 pixels
        State   enabled, primary
        Monitor Width   640
        Monitor Height  480
        Monitor BPP 4 bits per pixel
        Monitor Frequency   1 Hz
        Device  \\.\DISPLAY1
        Version 1.1.0
        Vendor  Microsoft Corporation
        Renderer    GDI Generic
        GLU Version Microsoft Corporation
                GL_MAX_LIGHTS   8
                GL_MAX_TEXTURE_SIZE 1024
                GL_MAX_TEXTURE_STACK_DEPTH  10
            GL Extensions


I also did run GPU-Z:

Screenshot GPU-Z

It doesn't tell me anything. Can anybody please help?

UPDATE(3): I did run winmsd (System Information/msinfo32), it gives me this (all in Dutch because of a Dutch Windows version):



Message means "driver for this device not installed".


"Beeldscherm" (Dutch) means "monitor".


Thanks to @Hennes I finally got the solution! Looks fine now:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Update driver of videocard? – Maximus Sep 23 '12 at 11:21
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The build in video driver for windows XP is 640x480 at 16 colours. This one gets used until you install a working driver specifically for your video card.

If it worked before then check which driver is installed, download a newer version of it, deinstall the old driver, reboot and install the new driver. After yet another reboot you should be able to select higher resolutions.

  • Thanks a lot. Yes, it worked before. How can I check which driver is installed? Also I've no internet connection on this computer, so I have to download it manually (as I did with the SP) – waanders Sep 23 '12 at 11:39
  • If there is an old driver (and there must be if it worked before), check via [start] [setting] [control panel] [Add/remove software]. (e.. intel 910 video driver, or AMD catalyst drivers, or ...). -- Alternatively check which card is installed by 1) Check the hardware the device manager, or 2) Checking the hardware visually (aka open the computer and look at what is written on the card) or 3) Look at bill from when you bought the computer. – Hennes Sep 23 '12 at 11:47
  • Thanks. Option 3 is no option. I tried option 2 but inside the computer everything is full packed, I can't find it. And the Control Panel don't tell me anything about video card/driver. But I tried the options of @Karan. See update question – waanders Sep 29 '12 at 6:56
  • I just noticed that your motherboard is a COMPAQ 0838h (FC-478). This board is build around the Intel 845GL chipset. This chipset has build in graphics. The driver you are looking for might be named 'chipset drivers' rather than the expected graphic driver. – Hennes Oct 6 '12 at 19:23
  • So, can I install an updated driver for this chipset? See also UPDATE (3) in my question – waanders Oct 7 '12 at 17:39

You can use something like GPU-Z or Speccy or PC-Wizard to find out which graphics card/chipset you have, then you can download the latest drivers for it.

Also, why SP2 and not SP3? When you're installing such an old OS, might as well install the latest Service Pack at least.

  • I did run Speccy (see update of my question) but I doesn't give me much information. Any suggestions? – waanders Sep 25 '12 at 15:04
  • I tried to install SP3 but I needs SP1 or SP2 to be installed before so I did install SP2. The problem already happened after installing SP2 so I did mention SP2. I've now installed SP3. But still the same problem. – waanders Sep 25 '12 at 15:06

I understand that this computer is far from new, therefore a hardware problem must be seriously considered.

Hardware is also indicated by the fact that GPU-Z cannot identify the video card. The most likely problem is that the card's firmware is damaged or there is a problem with its connectors to the motherboard.

If the video card is not on-board, the most one can do is take the card out, clean well all connectors and reseat firmly. If the computer is old then the repair-shop might cost too much.

For software, if you know the make of the video card, you could download the driver from the manufacturer's website, install and reboot. If you know the make but have difficulties finding the driver, please let us know.

As far as software goes, this is about the most you can do besides reinstalling XP.

  • 1
    But as said the computer worked fine before I installed SP2. I first want to try to update the driver of the video card but I have to know the brand and type. How? – waanders Oct 6 '12 at 13:45
  • The easiest way is to call the msinfo32 utility and look under Components / Display. Look for "Name", "PNP Device ID" and "Adapter type". – harrymc Oct 6 '12 at 17:13
  • 1
    I did, see UPDATE(3) – waanders Oct 7 '12 at 17:38
  • With the monitor not recognized by Windows, no wonder that it uses the generic vga driver. You could identify the card by the computer exact model (which is what?). The other option is to open the computer case to identify the card, which might not be practical for some laptop models. – harrymc Oct 7 '12 at 18:16

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