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Get A Bigger Monitor For Nothing


by John S. Krill 

Just The Facts And Nothing But The Facts

You’ve just bought a new computer, with a 15" monitor, connected to the Internet, and there seems to be very little space for viewing Web pages. You think you should have purchased a 17" monitor.

I’m here to tell you that you can get a whole bunch of added space on that 15" monitor without spending a dime. We will first fix Windows and then make some changes to Internet Explorer. And finally if you have the desire we will look at some advanced methods to get more space on that 15" monitor.

Fix Windows

At the bottom of your monitor screen Microsoft but a thing called the Taskbar. That’s the thing that has the Start button. Currently it is probably always there and always viewable. We are going to make it disappear until you need it.

Go to the Start button menu and select Settings. Then select Taskbar and Start Menu. A new pane will appear on the screen titled: Taskbar Properties. There are four check boxes. The first two: Always On Top and Auto Hide should be checked. If they are not then put your mouse pointer in each check box and click your mouse. Now move your mouse pointer to the Apply button and click your mouse button. You should see the Taskbar disappear. Now click the OK button.

To get the Taskbar back just move your mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen and the Taskbar will appear. Even if you have Internet Explorer or another application at Full Screen when you move the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen you will have the Taskbar appear. Now the Taskbar appears only when you need it.

You can also get to the Taskbar Properties pane by putting your mouse pointer somewhere on an empty area of the Taskbar. Now press that button on the mouse that you have never used before. It will be the right button if you are right handed, the default, and the left button if you are left handed. There should be a pop-up menu on the screen. The bottom of the menu is the command Properties. Put your mouse pointer over the Properties command and click once.

Note: You can move the Taskbar to any side (top, bottom, left, right) of the screen by putting your mouse pointer on the Taskbar and holding the mouse clicker down and dragging the Taskbar to the desired side. I always have my Taskbar at the top of the monitor screen though in this position it can get in the way of an application’s menu bar when the application is full screen.

Fix Internet Explorer

Improving the viewable space with Internet Explorer involves modifying all the Toolbars. First we will eliminate the text from the Toolbar buttons. We will also reduce the size of the Toolbar buttons. And finally we will rearrange and add/remove Toolbars.

Eliminate text from Toolbars: From the Menubar select View. From the View menu select Toolbars. From the Toolbars menu select Customize. From the customize Toolbar pane change the item Text Options to No Text Labels. Click the Close button.

To change to size of the Toolbar buttons go to the same Customize Toolbars pane as above and change the item Icon Options to Small Icons. Click the close button.

Eliminating the text and reducing the size of icons will greatly increase the amount of viewable space in Internet Explorer. The last change to be made is arranging the Toolbars to further increase viewable space. By dragging a Toolbar with your mouse you can put Toolbars side by side. You can even put Toolbars up on the Menubar. I have been able to put the Links Toolbar up on the Menubar and put the Address ToolBar and the Standard Buttons Toolbar next to each other.

One last suggestion is the removable of some or all the Internet Explorer Toolbars. They are not required and from the View >> Toolbars menu you can remove or add Toolbars.

20 Percent Increase In Floor Space

You probably can get 20% to 25% increase in Screen space by trying some or all of the above techniques. Take your time and try one at a time. You may find that reducing the size of Icons or removing the text from Internet Explorer Toolbars makes them difficult to use.

Advanced Techniques

Sellers of computers generally set the default screen resolution to 800X600 pixels. You can increase this to 1024x768 pixels or greater depending on the monitor and the graphics card installed in your computer. You can’t damage anything. Windows will not allow you to go beyond the capabilities of the monitor and the graphics card.

There are recommended resolutions for different size monitors. Forget those numbers. You should set your monitor to a resolution that is good for you. You may find that the higher resolutions are to hard on your eyes. Experiment.

Note: There is an another number that works side-by-side with resolution - that is the color depth. This is because the higher the color depth the more graphics memory is used. And the higher the screen resolution the more graphics memory is used. This means in some cases you can’t use the highest color depth with the highest screen resolution because you do not have enough graphics memory. Again Windows will not let you make errors when setting your resolution. If your primary use for the computer is the Internet and some productivity tools then set the color depth to 16 bit color. If you play a lot of games then you may need to use 24 bit color. Again, experiment.

Change Your Screen Resolution

To change your monitors resolution go to the Taskbar >> Start Button >> Settings >> Control Panel. Double-click on Display. From the Display Properties pane click on the Setting tab at the top-left. At the bottom of this pane is a sliding bar for adjusting the screen resolution and a pull-down menu for changing the color depth. The current color depth and screen resolution will be displayed when you open the Settings pane. Use your mouse pointer to change your screen resolution. Go up one step in resolution and try it for a while. Keep increasing your screen resolution until it is to difficult to view the screen and then reduce your screen resolution one step.

Note: Another method to get to the Display Properties pane is to right-click on the Windows desktop and select Properties. You can also double-click on the My Computer icon on your desktop >> Control Panel >> Display icon

That’s It

Go slow and make one change at a time. Test it. Go on to the next modification.

PS: the Big Kahuna

This trick is the big kahuna of getting more from IE 4.0 and IE 5.0. In either of those browsers you can enlarge the browser to almost the entire screen. Press F11 to view Full Screen and then you can also Auto-Hide the menu by clicking the alternate mouse button with the pointer somewhere on the IE menu bar. One of the options is Auto-Hide. Click it. Now the IE menu bar will disappear until you bring the mouse pointer over the area wher the menu bar normally resides. To take IE out of Full Screen just click F11.

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