The visual appearance of your computer's display can be influenced by several factors. The monitor you use and its settings, how Windows is configured, and how you use your computer can all have an effect on display quality.

To ensure your monitor is calibrated correctly, refer to the instructions that came with your monitor. To learn how to configure Windows display settings, see Getting the best display on your monitor.

Trying to run too many programs at the same time can cause display problems such as jittery or choppy video. If you notice erratic or reduced visual performance on your computer, try one or more of the actions described below.

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Reduce the number of open programs or windows

The more programs you have open on your desktop, the more system resources Windows needs. Try closing programs that you are not currently using, or reducing the window size.

Avoid running too many graphics-intensive programs at the same time

Even if you have only a few programs running, some programs (such as video-editing programs) and features (such as high-definition television) use a lot of system resources. Running too many of these programs at the same time puts strain on system resources and might degrade display quality or make video appear jittery or disconnected.

Reduce your monitor's resolution

On some computers, very high resolutions require a lot of system resources to display properly. If you notice problems at high resolutions, try lowering the resolution until the problems disappear.

  1. Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, clicking Personalization, and then clicking Display Settings.

  2. Under Resolution, move the slider to the resolution you want, and then click Apply.

For more information, see Change screen resolution.

Change color scheme

If you see poor display quality using the default desktop color scheme, try changing to another color scheme, such as Windows Vista Basic, to see if performance improves.

  1. Open Appearance Settings by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, clicking Personalization, and then clicking Window Color and Appearance. If the Appearance Settings dialog box is not displayed, at the bottom of the page, click Open classic appearance properties.

  2. In the Color scheme list, select another color scheme, and then click OK.

For more information, see Troubleshoot problems with Windows‌ Aero.

Turn off automatic resizing in programs that aren't designed for high–DPI display

If you set the DPI higher than 96, and you are running Windows‌ Aero (the premium visual experience of Windows Vista), the text and other items on the screen might appear blurry in some programs that are not designed for high–DPI display in this version of Windows. You can avoid this issue by using Windows XP style DPI scaling for these programs.

To make text and on-screen items clearer in programs that aren't designed for high DPI

  1. Open Personalization by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Personalization.

  2. In the left pane, click Adjust font size (DPI). Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. In the DPI Scaling dialog box, click Custom DPI.

  4. Select the Use Windows XP style DPI scaling check box, and then click OK.

For more information, see Make the text on your screen larger or smaller.

Upgrade to a more powerful video card

A computer's video card contains dedicated memory that it uses to display graphics. The more memory the card has, the better the quality. If your card does not display the way you would like it to, consider upgrading to a faster video card. For more information, see Video cards: frequently asked questions.