Windows Too Large For Screen

Dear Computer Lady,

I use and work on a lot of different units. One of which is an old Dell Latitude C400 running Windows XP Pro SP3.

The main issue I have with this unit is that all the windows and icons extend far beyond the screen. And the only menu offers at the to left corner is “Move or Close”. I cannot resize anything since all the settings, like DPI and monitor will not allow me to change anything, as the settings are all shaded out, even in Safe Mode. There was one time that everything went down in size, and that was re-installing the video driver, but then the moment the unit was rebooted, all the windows and icons are way too large again. The screen is 12″, yet it displays everything like it should be a 22″ monitor, if not larger. And with the windows so overblown out of proportion to the screen, I cannot access all of the windows, especially when there is no scroll bar and the movement stops when I run out of screen.

I sincerely hope you can help me get things straightened away on this unit, as I cannot access anything until I can see what I am doing. Thanks in advance for your help and looking forward to hearing from you soon..

Sincerely, Renee

Dear Renee,

It sounds like you might be able to fix this problem using the settings on your monitor instead of the settings in Windows.

What you need to do, is find the adjustment buttons on the monitor itself. Most monitors have an “Auto” or “Auto Adjust” button. Press that and the monitor will sense the signal coming in and adjust itself so that the picture is centered on the screen and sized correctly.

If that doesn’t work, use the other buttons on the monitor to manually adjust the size of the image on your screen. I can’t tell you exactly how to do this since it is different for each model of monitor, but look for the button that brings up a menu on the screen, and then use the adjustment buttons to navigate through that menu, select the settings you want to change, and then make the adjustments.

If you get stuck, try to find the manual that came with the monitor, or look up the model of the monitor online, and you can usually find a PDF version of the manual on the manufacturers website.

I hope this helps, Elizabeth


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • GABubba
    • August 29, 2017

    More importantly, my question is: unless you are just using old programs and not connected to the Internet, why are you still using Windows XP after Microsoft stopped supporting it years ago and it is subject to major hacking and viruses, since it has not been getting security fixes it needs? If you still have it connected to the Internet, disconnect it and just use it as a reference tool with existing programs.

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