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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

How-to: Get 1024x768 back on an Eeepc 1005HA after a Windows 7 upgrade

I love netbooks. They're like the USS Voyager - small, portable, and useful, and able to go to places where a full-sized notebook will be overkill. I can totally see why folks are buying the iPad in such huge numbers, but I don't think that tablets will ever completely replace the netbook; netbooks are just too useful. I think that both tablets and netbooks have a useful niche in the gizmonic hierarchy.

I got an Asus Eeepc 1005HA last fall, and I love it. It was a dramatic upgrade over my first netbook, a Dell Inspiron 910 with a tiny little 4GB solid-state drive, and I've grown to really love the small form factor, the extended battery life, and the nearly full-sized keyboard. I routinely take my 1005HA on trips where I can expect a four or more hours on an airplane instead of my larger notebook. Last week, I added another GB of RAM (bringing the total to 2 GB) and upgraded the OS to be Windows 7. I had held off upgrading from the OEM Windows XP because I was afraid that Windows 7 would be too much of a resource hog and cut into the battery life on my 1005HA, which running XP is a phenomenal 10+ hours. However, I really like Windows 7 and wanted to get all of my PCs running the latest and greatest version of the world's easiest to use and stable operating system, so I took the plunge. My fears were totally unjustified - the upgrade to Windows 7 on my 1005HA worked fantastically well, and is snappy and responsive, and the battery life seems to be basically the same.

I give Asustek gets a lot of credit for having outstanding Windows 7 support for their systems. I also upgraded my Dell XPS 1530 laptop to Windows 7 recently, and I have to say, Asus's Windows 7 support is much, much better. Dell never upgraded the wireless card drivers in the XPS 1500 line for Windows 7, so now my XPS laptop gets absolutely terrible wireless reception. On the other hand, Asus fully supports Windows 7 on the 1005HA and so the Windows 7 upgrade went incredibly smoothly. The one hiccup: The Windows XP video drivers for my Eeepc allowed you to select the 1024x768 screen resolution setting needed by such games as Galactic Civilization II, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and Civilization III. All of those games ran really well on the 1005HA...until I upgraded to Windows 7. The default Win7 video drivers for the 1005HA actually improve the video performance quite a bit for video playback and gaming, but they only allow either 800x600 or 1024x600 resolutions. Without that critical 1024x768 option, GalCiv2 won't even start, SMAC truncates the bottom 200 pixels, and CivIII does this annoying scrolling thing.

After some googling, I found some handy instructions for getting the higher resolution settings back. To my surprise, it turns out to be really easy to get the 1024x768 screen resolution back on the 1005HA after a Windows 7 upgrade. Here's how to do it*:

*(generic disclaimer: As with any "How-to's" on this blog, this info is provided as a general public service, and we aren't responsible for anything you do to your own computer. We do not endorse anything on websites linked from this blog, and anything you download from those sites, you do at your own risk. Also please note that this fix isn't guaranteed to work on all systems, and we're not experts on this sort of thing to begin with, so don't blame us if your computer goes **poof** because you followed any of the procedures you see here.)

1) Run the Windows Registry Editor (Run > regedit)
2) Back up your registry
3) Search for all values that match "Display1_DownScalingSupported" and change their values from "0" to "1". There were two matches for that variable in my system's registry - change them both.
4) Restart the system.

That ought to do it! You should have two new resolutions, 1024x768 and 1152x864. Now you can play GalCiv2, SMAC, and CivIII! They might be a little squished, but they'll run.

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