After you have downloaded an inspirational photo or graphic to your computer and configured it to appear as your desktop wallpaper or screen saver, you may be disappointed to discover the artwork appears too small, fuzzy or skewed out of proportion. You can often adjust properties in your video card to make your favorite art instantly appear sharper and in the proper proportions on your desktop monitor or laptop screen.
1. Click “Start,” “Control Panel” and select “Display” in Windows XP. For Vista/Win7, select “Appearance & Personalization/Display.”
2. Click “Settings.” Examine the current settings for “Color Quality.” Set color quality to the highest “bit” factor choice offered. On a Windows XP/Vista/Win7 machine, this will be “32 bit” or “Highest 32 bit.” Click “Apply” to allow the change to take place. Do not click “OK” yet.
3. Adjust the “Screen Resolution.” Experiment with resolution settings until you find the view that offers the sharpest images and appears to “fit” your monitor screen dimensions best. Generally, higher settings like “1152×864 pixels” produce clearer pictures, but objects will appear smaller. If you are visually challenged you may find these higher resolution settings make labels and icons too small for comfort. Find the compromise setting that is both sharp and clear and yet large enough to be visible without straining your eyes. Click “Apply” and then “OK.”
4. Reopen the “Display” properties section. Tab to “Desktop.” A list of all the graphics that are available for use as wallpaper on the desktop will appear. Click on your favorite wallpaper and preview it. Click on “Position” and experiment with the looks offered for the “Center,” “Stretch” and “Tile” options. The Center position usually provides the crisper view of the artwork but will often not “fill” the screen. The “Stretch” option will make the picture completely fill the screen, but if the original artwork was small in size or was originally created in a low resolution, this “stretching” will produce a blurry picture. You can sometimes improve the quality of a piece of art by editing the file in a photo editor like Photoshop or Picasa. Attempt to make the picture larger in the editor and then set the resolution higher, such as “600 dpi.” Save the edited graphic; saving the picture in the “.gif” format, instead of the “.jpg” format, may improve the display resolution.
5. Return to the Windows Display/Desktop property section, click “Browse” and load the edited graphic into your wallpaper gallery. Experiment again with this artwork to see if the “Center” or “Stretch” views are improved.
6. Adjust any screen saver art in the same manner. Take the edited graphic you may have produced in the previous step and make a copy of the graphic, renaming the extension to “.scr.” Save this scr file to your desktop temporarily.
7. Right mouse click on “Start” and select “Explore.” Drag and drop your new screen saver file from the Desktop onto the C:/Windows/System32 folder. This will load the graphic into the screen saver program.
8. Return to the Display control panel, and tab to “Screen saver.” Find the new screen saver in the menu and select it. Test the new screen saver for acceptable resolution.