What Does "Frequency Out of Range" Mean on a Monitor?

By Jason Artman

If your computer's monitor displays a "Frequency out of range" error, it means that the operating system is attempting to use a display resolution or refresh rate setting that the monitor does not support. You can resolve this issue by selecting a new display setting, but doing so may require effort if the monitor is stuck in an unsupported mode.

Changing Display Settings

If you see a "Frequency out of range" error after using the display settings in Windows to change your monitor's resolution or refresh rate, you can generally resolve the issue by waiting 10 seconds for Windows to revert to the previous setting automatically. When you attempt to use a new display setting for the first time, Windows prompts you to click a button confirming you can still see the screen. If you do not click the button, Windows reverts the setting.

Safe Mode

If your computer is stuck in an unsupported display mode and you are unable to clear the "Frequency out of range" error, you can start Windows in Safe Mode and select a new display setting. After restarting the computer, tap the "F8" key until the "Advanced Boot Options" screen appears. Press the down-arrow key to highlight "Enable low-resolution video (640x480) and then press "Enter."

Individual Applications

You may occasionally find an individual application that triggers a "Frequency out of range" error when you run it. This is particularly common with games. If you are unable to find a solution at the game publisher's website, check the game's folder on the Start menu for an item such as "Options" or "Settings." You may also find a file with the extension ".INI" in the game's folder on your hard drive. With some games, you can open this file in Notepad and manually select a new display resolution.

Device Driver

You can prevent Windows from allowing you to select display settings that your monitor does not support by installing the monitor's device driver. Because Windows includes generic drivers that work with most monitors, many people neglect to install the specific drivers for their monitors. When you install the driver, Windows removes all resolutions and refresh rates that would result in a "Frequency out of range" error. Search the monitor manufacturer's website for the device driver.

Standby Mode

If you shut down your computer while the monitor is on, your monitor may briefly display a "Frequency out of range" error before entering Standby Mode. This is normal; after the monitor detects no signal from the computer for several seconds, it enters a low-power state until you turn the computer back on. If the message bothers you, turn the monitor off before shutting down the computer.