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External monitor resolution - HP 6930P notebook/HP LP2465

Posted on 2010-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a client who has an HP 6930P EliteBook, with dock; connected to the VGA port is an HP LP2465 monitor.  He has Windows setup for an extended desktop; he's using WinXP SP3; the normal way he uses it is the laptop lid is open, and the laptop is his primary monitor, with the external LP2465 his second monitor for the extended desktop.

Until recently he had the two monitors setup with different resolutions; I think the 2465 was setup at 1280x768 or 800.  Last week on booting the notebook, the external monitor reset to 1024x768, and when he attempted to reset it, he found 1024 was the max resolution Windows would allow on the Display properties screen.

Attempts to reset it have failed - we've upgraded the monitor driver, and removed all defined monitors to let Windows redetect and reconfigure them.  Any advice is appreciated -
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Question by:RobertAtFox
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by:rfportilla
ID: 33669089
It sounds like 1024x768 is probably the max.  You sound like you are pretty adept already, but here is what I know about it.  WIndows determines what the monitor and video card combination will support and only offers those settings.  If it is an older laptop, it might not support higher resolutions.  I have had some luck with changing out the drivers, but it is REALLY hit or miss.  

Good luck.
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by:jlhuston
ID: 33669156
As rfportilla says, Windows hides resolutions that the monitor and video card say that they cannot support.  Super rare would be the case where the monitor stops reporting its capabilities to the computer.  A bit more common is the INF file that Windows uses to interpret some of the monitor capabilities into selections that a user can choose is missing or corrupt.

I would try getting the monitor INF file from the manufacturer, if possible.  Take a look at http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareIndex.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodNameId=1844962&prodTypeId=382087&prodSeriesId=1844961&swLang=13&taskId=135&swEnvOID=1093.

Also, you can try telling Windows to stop hiding "incompatible" resolutions so that you can try them out.  In Display Properties, click the Advanced button on the page where you set the resolution ("Settings").  On the Monitor tab, you should be able to select the external monitor from the drop down.  You can see if it detects it as an HP monitor (if it doesn't install the INF file from the link above).  There should be a checkbox on that tab that says "Hide modes that this monitor cannot display"; clear that checkbox and see if you can set the resolution properly.
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by:xdomains
ID: 33669362
I agree with both jlhuston & rfportilla.
Just a small piece of advice before you try what jhuston says..

If you set a resolution that the monitor cant display, make sure you revert back by pressing escape, in case the monitor doesnt show anything. In case it gets accepted, it wouldnt change back, and you will have to reboot in Safe mode and set the resolutions correctly.
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Cesar Aracena earned 125 total points
ID: 33676225
Just a thought, change the display cable for the external monitor. I kow it sounds incredible, but there's a pin that "reports" to windows about the monitor display capabilites. I've seen that pin/calbe broken more than once and Windows displaying the most higher native resolution which is 1024 x 768.

This also happens qhen you use a splitter to connect either 2 computers to one monitor/keyboard/mouse combo or 1 computer to more than one monitor and the splitter is not designed to work with digital monitors (missing that pin).
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by:rfportilla
ID: 33688809
@Caracena, that is brilliant.  It may not work, but it is truly brilliant.  ;-)
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by:Cesar Aracena
ID: 33691889
@ rfportilla, thanks. Dunno about brillant but it does happen. The only problem is when you buy those goddamn monitors with the cable fixed into it and no other port available. Then you have to open your monitor and soldering is involved. Luckily for us, there are almost no monitors like that in the market nowdays.
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by:RobertAtFox
ID: 33693939
rfportilla - thanks for the input.  My customer says that at one time he had that monitor on this computer set to something like 1200x800 but I can't confirm one way or another. Both are relatively new devices so I'm assuming that they have the capability.

jlhuston and Caracena - thanks, and I tried the new INF file - no change,  unfortunately.  I'm going to apply what you both suggest - I'm going to delete the existing INF and try a DVI connection, replacing the current VGA connection, to see if that works.

Follow up question for all - as noted the notebook is a HP 6930p, with WinXP - so about a year and a half old; the monitor is also about a year and a half old. Assuming the video adapter and monitor support higher resolutions than 1024x768, is it plausable in WinXP to have it setup where monitor 1/default monitor is the LCD on the notebook, monitor 2 is the external 24", and each is set to a different resolution and extended desktop?

Usually when I setup dual monitors, I do so with two external monitors and the laptop LCD lid is closed - does that make a difference if one monitor is the LCD on the notebook?
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by:Cesar Aracena
ID: 33694164
That laptop comes eiher with an ATI graphics card or an Intel integrated graphics controller. In cas you are dealing with the ATI, you can do so by playing around with the Cathalyst Control Center. Either way, I recommend you take a look at http://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/. I use UltraMon every time I have to deal with more than one monitor on a desktop or laptop. It's great! I actually use it as you describe: Monitor 1 is either the one I have directly in front of me (or the external monitor when using a laptop) and the Windows taskbar is loose and moved to the bottom of the 2nd monitor (I set up UltraMon to not display an extended taskbar). This way I have one full monitor to work in without the taskbar or any other annoying things and the second monitor for apps testing, browsing, etc.

My monitors are on 1680x1050 right now. You can see the attached image how my two monitor look together and Windows 7 options displaying what you need (launched from UltraMon). I think I remember that UltraMon gives you the extra option to set either monitor as number 1 (or default) in Windows XP too.
sshot-2010-09-16--2-.jpg
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by:Cesar Aracena
ID: 33694212
Just in case someone wonders, I didn't took one screenshot of each monitor and the paste them together... Google for WinSnap. It takes screenshots of whatever you want (window, program, full screen, etc.) and stores it automatically for you... no more pasting an image from the clipboard into Paint ;)
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Author Comment

by:RobertAtFox
ID: 33697543
Looks like caracena takes the prize - the monitor in question, on examination, has two DVI inputs; the client's dock was connected to DVI port 1 with a VGA to DVI cable. I switched to a DVI to DVI connection using the DVI port on the dock, and DVI port 2 on the monitor. Immediately, I was able to select and use resolution of up to 1600x1000.

My guess is that the hardware profile or the portion of the registry, or the INF file, that managed and defined the VGA connection for that monitor got corrupted.  Changing to a DVI to DVI connection worked so, we're good, thanks to everyone for your input and knowledge!
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Author Closing Comment

by:RobertAtFox
ID: 33697548
Got all that I needed and some good ideas besides, thanks.
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by:Cesar Aracena
ID: 33697551
Glad to help ;)

Luckily for you (or the client) it wasn't either a monitor or video card break.
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by:rfportilla
ID: 33697934
I think this may have been answered, but yes, you can have different resolutions set for the lcd and external monitor as long as one is set to be a desktop extension.  If both screens are mirroring the same thing, they have to be the same resolution.

@Cacarena: I thought the cable pin idea was inspired because nobody ever thinks to check the cable.  I know about the cable configuration, as many people do not, but I didn't think of it either.  I once had a network printer that showed a link light, but could not communicate on the network no matter what.  It turned out that the network card port on the printer had one pin out of place, probably from someone jamming a cable in the wrong way.  I had to use a paper clip to get the pin in the right place and then it worked.  I only found it b/c I'm persistent...  
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