Change Screen Resolution with One Keyboard Shortcut

Do you find that you need to frequently change your screen resoltion?  I do several times a day and some reasons are when: doing demos, showing my laptop screen to serveral people at once, switching between monitors, recording/capturing the screen, connecting to projectors, etc.  It is a bit of a pain to go to the display properties each time or use the free little system tray icon utility provided by ATI.

So here's my solution.  I can now very quickly switch between modes (800x600, 1024x768, 1600x1200, etc) with one keyboard shortcut per resolution at anytime.  Here's how...

  1. Download WinKey
    A small freeware app that lets you assign apps and folders to Windows-Key combinations.  See my blog post on WinKey for more info.  Add it to your Startup menu.
  2. Download QRes
    A small (4k) freeware command line app to change screen resolution.
  3. Set WinKey to run QRes
    Here are my assignments.  Make sure your screen supports the resolution setting first.
    If you put QRes under "C:\Program Files\QRes\QRes.exe", you can use this Windows Registry file to import these settings below into WinKey.
    -- Win-Ctrl-8 to run "QRes.exe /x:800 /y:600" for 800x600          (presenting on small TV)
    -- Win-Ctrl-1 to run "QRes.exe /x:1024 /y:768" for 1024x768      (presenting on large TV)
    -- Win-Ctrl-2 to run "QRes.exe /x:1280 /y:1024" for 1280x1024  (presenting on projector)
    -- Win-Ctrl-4 to run "QRes.exe /x:1400 /y:1050" for 1400x1050  (laptop's LCD's native)
    -- Win-Ctrl-6 to run "QRes.exe /x:1600 /y:1200" for 1600x1200  (laptop when docked)
Update on 2/22/07  --  Self Installation Now Avalible!
I've packaged this all up into a nice & easy little self installer. It does the steps above for you.


Vista Users: You must run Setup.exe (not the .msi file) in the zip and reboot to start the app.
Comments (43)

  1. Stephanie Saad says:

    Noah, this is so cool. I’m using it now and it’s quite useful. No more properties-settings when trying to set my screen res for demos. 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    Fantastic Noah!!!  I am a teacher and currently use a tablet pc connected to a digital projector all the time but I have just received a new tablet PC with a widescreen which looked nasty on the projector.  This has solved the problem!! I cannot thank you enough!  Best regards, M.

  3. Christian Rasch says:

    This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much!

  4. Thanks very much! Extremely useful. I was fedup of having to enter display properties everytime I had to change display resolution!

  5. Matt says:

    Thank you so much! I was constantly having to change my resolution on my laptop and this is a lifesaver!

  6. Erik says:

    Cool, but useless for me. The main screen resolution change I make is from a 2 screen environment with each screen showing something else to a 2 screen environment with both screens showing the same thing and this doesn’t help.

  7. Edward says:

    Thanks for a great program! Exactly what was needed for my work.

    Thanks Again Noah.

  8. Danny says:

    Super! This makes life so much easier. Thanks!!!

  9. jesse lewis says:

    did what it said on the tin (vista premium)

  10. Ed says:

    Doesn’t seem to load on Win XP64. Any suggestions? Would be a super program.


  11. Joe says:

    I only wish to change screen 2.  How can I make this work for that?

  12. Andrew says:

    This is just what I was looking for. I have a 19" widescreen attached to my smartboard (800×600) is best. Thanks for the shortcut!

  13. ron2 says:

    thanks for the instructions

    i already had QRes but needed to remember how to use it

  14. justin deguire says:

    i’ve been using this for a few weeks and seems to work great – however i just now tried to switch by hitting the ctrl-win-2 combo and it sent my machine into restart mode and when it came back up i got a web page from microsoft error reporting:

    here is the info that was on the page:

    Problem caused by Device Driver

    You received this message because a device driver installed on your computer caused the Windows operating system to stop unexpectedly. This type of error is referred to as a "stop error." A stop error requires you to restart your computer.

    More information

    Problem report summary

    Problem type

    Windows stop error (a message appears on a blue screen with error code information)

    Solution available?


    What does this problem mean?

    Windows has encountered a problem it cannot recover from and it needs to be restarted



    Computer symptoms

    A message appears on a blue screen with error code information (for example: 0x0000001E, KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED)

    Additional steps for you to take

    Please continue to send problem reports so analysts at Microsoft can study and try to correct the problem as quickly as possible

  15. Woodzter says:

    Is there anyway that this can be deployed through GPO silently. I have tried the /quiet switch also the /qb switch and also the /silent switch but they all dispaly the IE page and the Winkey window at the end.

    Can this be stoppped?

    I intend to deply a reg file with the appropriate settings.

  16. my monitor current resolution 800*600

    i wanted to increase that 1024*768

    but i change that manualy that automaticaly come on 800*600

    please help me

  17. Ganesh says:

    This is so useful. I had to switch resolutions first thing daily at work, manually.

    Thank you.

  18. marc says:

    Hey, works good however i have a dual screen and require to change my second monitors res. Or change both monitors to the same res. Any ideas?????

  19. mystic says:

    this app is terrific!  i regularly use a bunch of different display resolutions (1920 x 1440 for music production, 16×12 when surfing the web, 800×600 for web tv) and clicking into display properties 5 times a day was getting annoying.

    this seemingly simply lil app is making me that much more productive at my pc.  a million thanks.

  20. Dmteezy says:

    Great app! I’m a webdesigner, so I need to switch all the time when testing pages – why did I wait so long before actually going ahead and Googling ‘shortcut change resolution’..???

  21. locos says:

    Great app. Thanks!

    In addition: I surely would like if I hit the win-ctrl-1 that besides switching to 1024 res also the nvidia setup changes from 1 screen (which is my monitor 1280×1024) to clone view (which should be TV+monitor in 1024×768) and win-ctrl-2 would be 1 screen + 1280×1024.

    Is that a possibllity?

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Fantastic! Why is it that the little pieces of software are always the most useful. Thanks!

  23. Jonas says:

    Been searching for so long for this sort of program. Perfect for LCD+computer and the wireless keyboard in the sofa 🙂

    Thanks Alot!

  24. J. Harvey says:

    I was having problems with a "A referral was returned from the server" error. The forum post by Jimmy Brush was helpful in correcting the issue



    If your application does not have a digital signature and has uiAccess=true in its manifest, it will fail with "A referral was returned from the server."

    Applications that request uiAccess=true must have a valid, trusted digital signature to execute.

    Also, applications by default must reside in a trusted location on the hard drive (such as windows or program files) to receive the uiAccess privilege. They will still run if they are not in one of these locations, but they will not receive the privilege. You can disable this security feature through the local security policy mmc snap-in.

    If you want to create a trusted "test" certificate to sign your application with so that you can use your application on your current machine, here’s how:

    NOTE: These instructions assume you have visual studio installed and are using a command prompt that has all the environment variables set to find SDK utilities such as makecert and signtool. If not, you will need to find these tools on your hard drive before running them.


    1) Open an elevated command prompt

    – Click start

    – Find Cmd Shell or command prompt

    – Right-click, click Run As Administrator

    2) Create a trusted root certificate

    – Browse to the folder that you wish to contain a copy of the certificate

    – In the command shell, execute the following commands:

       makecert -r -pe -n "CN=Test Certificate – For Internal Use Only" -ss PrivateCertStore testcert.cer

       certmgr.exe -add testcert.cer -s -r localMachine root

    3) Sign your file

    – In the command shell, browse to the location of your exe

    – In the command shell, type:

    SignTool sign /v /s PrivateCertStore /n "Test Certificate – For Internal Use Only" /t APP.exe

    Where APP.exe is your application.


    – JB

     Microsoft MVP – Windows Shell


  25. Naveed Lodhi says:

    Man……..u rock the world…….its a great software.. Thnx

  26. michael k says:

    It looked great at first blush, but it goes through reinstall every time PC is restarted. I do not see a setting to change this. It will be uninstalled until I hear about a workaround.

  27. Joe says:

    Sweet app, saves me 5 clicks of the mouse every time!

  28. Justin says:

    Thanks a lot! This is exactly what I needed. I use a video monitor switch box that shoots the data to the user selected display. Unfortunately, the large monitor display is not hooked up to the Power Backup System and when the power goes out, I could no longer change the display because I couldn’t see the monitor to do it from the control panel. This hot key literally saved me 67$  plus shipping on another UPS.

    This thank you is literally worth 67$ plus applicable shipping charges. 🙂


  29. vince says:

    Hi this is exactly what I need but it does not support Vista x64!

    Is there any solution to make it work on Vista x64!

    Please help!

    Thanks allot

  30. awshidahak says:

    Thank you so much.  I have a laptop with a crappy screen that every now and then will randomly turn completely grey and will stay like that until a reboot or when the screen resolution is changed.  When I use linux this isn’t an issue because I can switch to a virtual terminal and back to X with the keyboard but in windows, since windows doesn’t have virtual terminals, this is impossible due to the fact that one must use the mouse to change screen resolutions.  Of course, now I don’t have to thanks to you.

  31. noahc says:

    I now use AutoHotKey instead of WinKey since it supports any Windows OS (including x64) and MUCH more.   Just combine using QRes.exe here with AutoHotKey.  Let me know here if that works for anyone.

  32. Frankie says:

    It’s really usefull for me.. thanks alot~

  33. Cesar says:

    I got here by mistake but let me tell you, your application is great! Acer is running a command line at startup that prevent the resolution to change so you will get a command prompt in every reboot. I am still looking for a reason for this. I was searching around and I found your blog. Instead of going to the MSCONFIG and disable the command, I wanted to know why ACER is not letting Windows to autoconfig the display modes. This winkey combinations are extremly useful when going from playing any game to fix a picture with Photoshop for example. I’ll keep searching for an answer to my question. Keep up the good work Noah man!

  34. Rodrigo Azueta says:

    Thanks Noah!!! This is the utility I was looking for!, I have a customer using an Acer Aspire One, and max. resolution is 1024×600. He need to run a CCTV app and only supports 1024×768.

    Thanks a lot!

  35. Ralph says:

    Hey Noah!!

    May i know the source code for this application.

    send it to



  36. lisa says:

    help, i have pressed a combination of keys and the size of my screen has changed, anybody got any ideas how i can reverse this. please

  37. Richard says:

    Wanna Change Monitor Resolution for any of the Dual Monitors connected to your pc? google Resolution controller or navigate to

  38. Ed says:

    Couldn't get it to work on Vista, so used this alternative instead:…/download-pick-resswitch-change.html

    Just an annoying security message to click on, and can't seem to make that not appear in future. But works fine and a lot simpler than the Windows way :0)

  39. Mike D. says:

    Thanks, Noah!  I use this all the time to custom-size the resolutions on my HTPCs, and also for (made by Electronic Arts, I consider it like WoW for older people!).  Pogo runs on Java, but has never run actual game windows any larger than about 50% of total screen size, so constant resizing is necessary to really enjoy it.

    I'm also glad I read your later post on using AutoHotKey for x64 OSs–it's next for me, one of my own HTPCs is 64-bit Vista.

  40. Peter says:

    I really appreciate your efforts, this is a wonderful application.

  41. Shab says:

    Thyankzzzz….. Can't believe How To Tell How Useful It Was !

  42. Noah Coad says:

    === UPDATE ===

    I'm no longer able to edit my own post here, so see the updated post here with new tool that works better and with Windows 7+:…/hotkey-to-change-screen-resolutions

  43. Li Wei Wei says:

    I'm a chinese .  I think ,this pro is very hi~hi~ .

    Can you share this Resource ?  thanks ~


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