Full screen on a laptop might not be full screen

by on September 17, 2009

Q: How come when I download video games off the web and run them on my laptop they only take up the middle part of the screen even though I have checked “Full screen” in the game options?

A: When it comes to most laptops they have a fixed resolution. This means if your laptop screen supports 1440 x 900, for example, and you set the resolution of Windows to 1024 x 768 what will happen is that Windows will only take up a portion of your screen and not the entire screen.

This is different from what we are accustom to with desktop monitors. Normally on a desktop monitor if you change the resolution of your Windows install to run at a lower resolution then Windows still takes up the entire screen. The desktop monitors do have an optimal resolution that you should really run everything at but normally they will run at a number of different resolutions.

The problem in this specific case is that the full screen resolution for the video game is probably 800 x 600 so what the graphics card is doing is it is just rendering the middle 800 x 600 pixels when the game is in full screen mode. This leaves everything else on the screen and the video game thinks it is now in full screen mode and so does the operating system. Unfortunately there is no way around this and is a common problem with video gaming on laptops.

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