When I go to adjust the screen resolution in the control panel in Windows 7 their resolution is set at the absolute max. Yet, the resolution is very poor: things look short, stocky, squat, fat, ugly, and rather unclear. In Windows Vista, at the same (highest) resolution setting things looked proportional, slim, clear, distinct, and sharp. Is there any way of tweaking the resolution yet further in Windows 7?

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You can try doing it through the graphics cards' software.
Is this on the same pc/monitor?

What is the graphic cards' software (is it something I can download)?
I'm using a different computer/monitor from the one I used with Win Vista.

The monitor may be the problem here. Do you know the correct (default) resolution for that monitor? If so, you need to set it up correctly. What monitor is it?
Depending on if you have nVidia or ATI/AMD cards, you can download the driver/software to suit. You need to know what is driving your graphics though and if you have a discrete card.

It's a Generic PnP Monitor on Standard VGA Graphics Adapter. Because of the monitor's size (13 in. wide)it seems the recommended resolution would be either 1280 x 1024 or 1400 x 1050 (the sharper the better, in my opinion). But my current driver doesn't seem to allow me to change the settings to sharpen the resolution. The highest its scale of adjustment will support is 1024 x 768. I've looked on Dell's website (it's a Dell Inspiron 1521 laptop) to see if I can get a video driver update, but they don't allow for Windows 7 to run on this model (they only allow for Win XP and Vista). Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!!

I have had a bit of a Google and it looks like you are not alone. Only way I can see this working is if you use a monitor with the same resolution as the laptops.
I may be wrong though, so hopefully somebody here will chime in :).
You can also try here http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDSupportHub.aspx and download the utility that will automatically detect what you need. Fingers crossed :).

WOW!! That link you sent me to did indeed have a helpful detector device one could download (which I did)--and then one could choose between various versions of "catalyst drivers" which, when the computer was rebooted, utterly transformed the resolution of the screen. It's astounding. Thank you so, so much for your invaluable help!! :-)

No worries :). You can add some rep for me if you like :D

commented: Out of thousands of drivers online crunchie found the catalyst driver that would enable my OS to communicate with my monitor in such a way as to produce far better screen resolution +2

No worries :). You can add some rep for me if you like :D

Hey, I'd love to! I'm ashamed to say I can't figure out how to do that. Can you help? :-)

The up or down arrow at the right of screen next to each post. Has 'Permalink' right above them.
I wasn't really serious though :)

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