How to Restore Desktop Display Settings

by Ricky Gee ; Updated September 28, 2017

It is difficult to properly use your computer if your display settings are not correct. Sometimes these settings can change inadvertently through the use of an application or third-party driver. If you find that your monitor isn't displaying your icons like it used to, or even worse, the display is illegible, there are a few things that you can do to restore it to working condition.

Turn on your computer and boot into Safe Mode. This is commonly done by holding down the "F8" key on startup. If your display is still legible, you may be able to skip this step.

Right-click the desktop and select "Personalize" if your computer is running Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click the "Display Settings" link at the bottom. Set the resolution back to the default setting by using the slider.

Right-click the desktop and select "Settings" if your computer is running Windows XP or an earlier version of Windows. Use the slider to set the resolution back to the default setting.

Click "OK" to exit the display settings control. Restart your computer to ensure the new settings will be applied.


  • When your computer restarts, make sure it is not still in Safe Mode. If your normal desktop background image displays, then you are no longer in Safe Mode.

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About the Author

I hold a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida where I majored in interdisciplinary studies and minored in digital media. My areas of study were computer science and business administration. I run a freelance computer repair business where I perform repairs either in-house or at customer's homes. I also have been writing professionally as a freelancer for three years -- specializing in technical writing.

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