Why does Windows XP reset the monitor resolution to 640×480 and 8-bit colors?

Tim August 12, 2011

My wife’s computer runs Windows XP (SP3 I think) and all of a sudden the other day when it booted up, the resolution was set to 640×480 and 8-bit colors. Every time I change it, it resets. Tried reinstalling drivers in safe mode to no avail. Any ideas?

  1. Tina
    August 14, 2011 at 10:31 am


    did the suggestions above help you to resolve the issue? Please let us know. Thanks!

    • timmyjohnboy
      August 16, 2011 at 2:06 am

      When I wasn't looking, my father-in-law restored windows to a previous point and it seems to have fixed it so far. Part of me wished he hadn't so I could've figured out what was up.

      That being said, if it happens again, I will certainly revisit this thread. Some of these solutions look very promising. I thank all who have taken the time to leave a reply.

      • Tina
        August 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        Thanks for the update, Tim! :)

  2. Anonymous
    August 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Boot to Safe Mode (Enable VGA), this uses the defined driver but

    at a minimum resolution & refresh rate. Once XP is running you can
    setup your preferred viewing params.
    Safe mode boots XP using a generic VGA driver, not the graphics driver you have loaded; this allows you to recover from video-drivers-gone-wrong type problemsHit F8 twice right after the computer boots. You'll see more options than you'll typically find in the normal F8 boot menu.One of the options is VGA mode; select that option. XP will boot like normal, except it'll force the video card to boot at 640x480 with 4 colors @ 60hz. From there you can change the display settings however you want. You won't even need to reboot to get out of it.XP User Display Settings http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_userdisplay.htmDisplay changerhttp://www.12noon.com/displaychanger.htm

  3. Jeffery Fabish
    August 13, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Start -> Run: devmgmt.msc

    Do you see any drivers listed with an exclamation or question mark? This would indicate a fault in a driver, or no driver at all.