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Can't get laptop to use external monitor's max resolution; at

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Cliff's Notes of below post:
- External 24" monitor is capable of 1920x1200 resolution, but in "Settings" menu, slider bar doesn't go higher than 1024x768
- I've tried every single permutation of driver upgrade/rollback/uninstall/reinstall that you could possibly imagine, and nothing has ever changed re: my resolution problem.
- I've DEFINITELY had the monitor displaying at the desired resolution connected to this laptop before, but I can't, for the life of me, get it working again. I've prob rebooted my computer 50+ times past few days. Nothing's worked

I have spent the last 6 hours of my life trying to fix this. Please help me. Ready to jump off bridge.

I have a 24" Acer monitor capable of 1920x1200 max resolution. Only problem is that when I try to use it with my Dell 6400 Laptop running XP, I'm unable to set it to a higher resolution than 1024x768.

I know the monitor is capable of 1920x1200 b/c it runs seamlessly that way when connected to my other laptop. And I know that my laptop is capable of driving 1920x1200 because (and this is the most confusing part), I'm 110% sure that I had it working properly for a few months earlier this year. Unfortunately I had to take my laptop on a business trip, so disconnected it from the external monitor, and when I got back home and re-connected it, that's when it refused to recognize anything higher than 1024 x 768.

I've already done a ton of reading online, and most sources seem to suggest this is a driver problem, so I've done the following troubleshooting tasks:

1) Installed the most recent drivers for my ACER monitor.
2) Updated laptop's BIOS (using download from Dell's website)
3) Updated laptop's video drivers (I only have the standard "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile"...no fancy video card)
4) Updated the drivers for laptop's chipset
5) **Most Importantly** >> I've done every single combination of uninstalling, rolling back, re-installing, all of the above that you could possibly imagine. I think I've probably rebooted my computer at least 50 times in the last few days. NOTHING has got it to recognize any resolution above 1024x768 in the external monitor.

The 'wild card' in all of this, as I wrote, is that I HAD THIS SAME PROBLEM BEFORE, and I eventually got the max resolution displaying properly after a ton of misc monitor disconnecting/reconnecting, etc.
I wish I could tell you exactly what I did to fix it those times, but all I remember was that it when I finally got it to work, I was shocked because I hadn't done anything radical...it just seemed to be some magic 'ordering' of the reboot process/connecting the VGA cable (laptop doesn't have DVI), etc that finally got it to work, and I didn't think to document it cuz I was just happy to have it finally working (note that I got it working before without having to do any driver updating shenanigans).

Here's 2 final pieces of info, although I'm not sure how much help they'll be:

1) The "closest" I've got it to working, is that I can get the 24" monitor to "acknowledge" the 1920x1200 resolution and display everything, although you have to "pan" over and down on the monitor. In other words, I still only see 1024x768 pixels *on screen*, but if I move the mouse pointer onto the monitor and move the mouse near the right-edge or the bottom edge of the screen, it will "pan" over/down, so the entire area I guess is 1920x1200, it's just not all viewable on the screen at once (hope that made sense). So while I'm not actually getting all 1920x1200 pixels on the screen, the monitor's at least 'recognizing' that there are that many pixels to display even if it's not showing them to me all at once.

2) When I right-click on the desktop and choose Settings (which is the menu where I've been doing all my fiddling), there are 2 rectangles displayed, one of which corresponds to my laptop's display (1680x1050), and the other one corresponding to my external monitor. When I highlight the rectangle corresponding to the external monitor and the "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor" radio box is NOT checked (and therefore there's only a display on the laptop's screen, not the monitor), the slider bar corresponding to the external monitor actually DOES go up to 1920x1200 (!). HOWEVER, when I drag it all the way to the right (1920x1200), and then check the "Extend my WIndows desktop onto this monitor" radio box and hit Apply, my desktop gets extended onto the 24" monitor BUT all of a sudden the slider bar changes into one that only goes from 800x600 to 1024x768. If I then uncheck the radio box and hit Apply, poof > it turns back into a slider bar that goes out to 1920x1200 (but of course there's no picture on the monitor). In other words, when I'm telling my computer that I don't want it to extend my desktop onto the monitor, it acts as though it recognizes that the monitor attached to the VGA port is capable of displaying 1920x1200, but as soon as I tell it to extend my desktop onto that monitor, it's like it goes "Hey, just kidding, now I'm only going to recognize the monitor as being capable of 1024x768".

Oh, by the way, my laptop doesn't have any fancy graphics card; just the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile integrated graphics thing, and the Adapter type is listed as "Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset Family", driver version As I wrote above, I've gone through every permutation of driver upgradte/rollback/uninstall/reinstall that you could possibly imagine, and nothing has ever changed re: my resolution problem. (And as I also wrote, the time I got it to work previously, I never fiddled with any driver upgrades or anything...it just spontaneously started working).F
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