How to Fix: Windows 10 Black Border (Shrinking Screen)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Tim G. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Thanks for your article yesterday on 'How to Fix: Windows 10 Display Shifted; Screen Fuzzy'. I have somewhat of a related problem; after I upgraded to Windows 10, my screen has shrunk with a black border all around the edges of the display. I use 1280x720 resolution, though my monitor can handle 1920x1080 (I prefer 1280x720 because it's bigger and easier on my eyes). It's the 1280x720 resolution that shrank, and there aren't any video card updates. I am using the ATI Radeon 4250 which is integrated with my motherboard. I use to have an option in Catalyst Control Center (CCC) that allowed me to use an overscan option but that feature is no longer present, so now I have a big black border around my screen, whereas before it fit the entire screen just fine. Do you have any ideas on how to fix a shrinking screen in Windows 10? "

My response:

I had this exact same problem with my server computer, which I also use as a media center, which also happens to be shared on two different televisions. The Catalyst Control Center (CCC) as you mentioned used to have an option for overscan / underscan, or "Scaling Options" which allowed me to adjust the black border on my screen for certain resolutions -- including the 1280x720 resolution you mention.

I searched high and low for the solution to the shrinking screen in Windows 10 problem, and finally stumbled across an old registry fix that did the trick -- and without the need to upgrade the video card driver. Normally the preferred method to resolving this issue is to update the video card driver, but I'm not even sure if ATI will release an update to the Radeon 4250 because their upgrade paths for Windows 10 appear to be only for ATI Radeon 5000 series and above, which leaves my graphics card (and yours) currently unsupported.

At any rate, I'll explain how to fix the Windows 10 black border problem below.

How to Fix Windows 10 Black Border (Shrinking Screen)

If you are running Windows 10 and have an older ATI video card, and the latest Windows 10 graphics video driver doesn't present the scaling options for overscan / underscan, then you can make a Windows Registry tweak to resolve the issue.

Please note: the steps below on how to fix the Black Borders / Shrinking Screen problem are for older AMD / ATI video cards and will not work on Nvidia cards. If you have an Nvidia (geforce) card, click here to read this article instead. If you do not see the "DALR" registry attributes described below, it indicates that you are not using an older AMD / ATI video card. In that case, you may want to read this updated article with regard to adjusting display frequency settings (Hz) using Windows 10 Anniversary Edition.

Here are the steps:

  1. Click Start and type in "regedit" (no quotes) and press Enter.
     
  2. The Windows Registry Editor will appear; the next thing you need to do is make a backup of the registry before continuing with any changes. Once you make a change to the registry, the changes are 'live' and cannot be undone, which is why it's critical to make a backup before proceeding. To do so: click File -> Export. The "Save As" window will appear; save the filename as "registry backup [date]" (where [date] is today's date), and store it in your documents folder. IMPORTANT: under the filename, select "All" for the Export Range, so that everything gets backed up, and then click the Save button.
     
  3. In the main Registry window, click the "Computer" icon above HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. Next, collapse all registry sub folders (if any are open) so that the display is clean and easy to navigate. You should only see the following folders (without any sub folders shown): HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, HKEY_USERS, HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG.
     
  4. Now we're ready to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video. Click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to expand it, then go to the SYSTEM and expand that, then to CurrentControlSet, Control, and finally, the Video folder.
     
  5. In the Video folder, you will see a bunch of other folders similar to {978CD144-4DF2-4999-A633-26A2612D9607}; there should be approximately 5 or 6 folders like this. Expand each folder so you see its contents and look for sub folders with 0000 and possibly 0001 and 0002.
     
  6. Whichever registry folder has the 0000 and possibly 0001 and 0002, left click once on the 0000 folder so that it is highlighted. Once highlighted, there should be a bunch of registry keys listed on the right side of the screen. Use the mouse to scroll down until you see a registry entry called "DALR6 DFPI ... (etc)" and look for your target resolution. For example, if you have a big black border on the 1280x720 resolution, then look for "DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x59" and "DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x60" (or similar). Note the bold numbers I have highlighted - that is how you read the resolution. The first number isn't important, then the resolution is listed, followed by another number, followed by the frequency in Hz (hertz).

    If you do not see the "DALR" registry attributes described below, it indicates that you are not using an older AMD / ATI video card. In that case, you may want to read this updated article with regard to adjusting display frequency settings (Hz) using Windows 10 Anniversary Edition.
     
  7. Now it's time to make the changes. Double click on the registry entry with your target resolution (example: DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x59 for 1280x720 resolution at 59hz); this will bring up the "Edit Binary Value" window with a bunch of 00's. Look for the first double digit non-zero entry (in my case, it was the first '08' entry), and double click on it so that the number is highlighted. Now, type in "00" (no quotes) to overwrite the number. Click OK and then minimize the Windows Registry.
     
  8. Now it's time to test the change you just made. Click Start and type in "adjust screen resolution" (no quotes) and then select it when it appears in the start menu. If your target resolution is 1280x720 and you are currently on 1280x720, select another resolution (such as 1920x1080), then click the Apply button. IMPORTANT: When it asks you "Do you want to keep this resolution?", select Yes. Then, change the resolution back to 1280x720 and see if your black border has disappeared.
     
  9. If the black border has not disappeared, go back into the registry where you were last, and change the next double digit non-zero entry to "00" as outlined in Step 7. Then, test your change again as outlined in Step 8.
     
  10. If you've modified all the double digit non-zero entries and you still have a black border, move onto the next target resolution with a different frequency. For example, if your target resolution is 1280x720 and you modified the "DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x59" registry folder, then try modifying "DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x60", as this would be 1280x720 at 60hz instead of 59hz. Repeat steps Step #7 and #8 above to test your changes.

In my case, the first non-zero entry '08' in the registry folder "DALR6 DFPI 21280x720x0x59" was the one that made my black border disappear.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

stevereader_5911's picture

Absolutely brilliant!! Been trying to sort this for days!! This method worked first time
Many thanks

david_5936's picture

Worked on the 1920x1080x59 key for me.

Now why hasn't MS sorted this out?!

martinwlr100_5968's picture

Thanks so much for this fix. Until I read your fix I was very frustrated that MS has taken away the simple means to correct this problem. The fix worked on the 1920x1080x59 key on the second attempt.

ml_hotz_6840's picture

Well done...this solution definitely worked for me. I have had this black border issue with my laptop since I purchased a 24" monitor and my HDMI cable. None of the solutions I found online mentioned tweaking one's registry. Some would suggest using applications that never came with my computer, purchasing software, or switching to a VGA cable.

Using a VGA cable actually did work for me; however, it also started giving me grief as shortly thereafter I started experiencing Windows 10 BSOD, and sudden shut-downs. At least with this solution I don't have to buy anything, or track down other applications that can be costly.

Thank you...MUCH appreciated.

isitcomputing_maybe_not's picture

You my friend are are fecking genius, there are several other pages that are poorly written and I could not understand what the details were at one point, they were all identical and obviously from the same source, being in IT for some time I felt maybe I was loosing it, but reading your article I saw where they missed detail and made me feel insecure so that I stopped and made no registry changes, your adhesion to good detail is to be commended, keep up the excellent work! a word of advise, perhaps always add the idea of backing up the registry or imaging the system before making registry changes.

tx_mark_7164's picture

I signed up just to say THANK YOU for sharing your expertise! I downloaded Windows 10 and like it, however the screen on my monitor wasn't fitting and was just about to roll back to Windows 7 and ran across this fix. It worked perfectly! Windows 10 should pay you for your knowledge! There's allot of people having issues with Windows 10. Thank you again and I'm definitely going to keep this site in my favorites!

ferthelet's picture

I registered here just to say a big thank you Dennis!!!! I wandered a lot before arriving to this blessed place... my graphic card is an ATI 4300 and this black border was killing me for about a month! I've tried a windows/manufacturer driver, before, during and after windows installation with no luck. So many dissappointing how-to's, how many hours lost installing and re-installing windows and drivers... and the fix was just a registry key !!
Thank you thank you

BFarmer1980's picture

The Anniversary Update prevents the registry key from being changed, thus rendering this fix ineffective.

Edit: Apparently, either restarting or running regedit as administrator solved the issue.

k.suraj.jain88_7796's picture

I do not see a registry with the name DALR. Please help.

Mine is a Dell Inspiron 15 5558 with Windows 10.

charlesgoh01_8020's picture

This solution worked for me. Thank you Infopackets.

I installed the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10 and wound up with a Black Border on my 1920 X 1080 desktop monitor when using the HDMI input. However, the display worked correctly with VGA but the picture quality had some "ghosting."

I changed the 08, in Line 0020, in the fifth column, to 00.

And it worked!. There were still some other non-zero entries in that registry entry but I didn't need to change them. Making 08 into 00 seems to be the fix.

Thanks again.

nyouakim_8063's picture

I have located the Reg Edit key corresponding to the process. I've also determined that 0000 is for my primary monitor, and 0001 was for my secondary (which is the one I'm having issues with. The black border remains.

My issue is that every time I change the 08 to 00, I press ok. Then I change the resolution and return it doesn't work. But also the 08 has returned to the Binary.

PLEASE HELP!!! This is driving me nuts.

Dennis Faas's picture

Uninstall catalyst control center (CCC) - I.E: remove any downloaded AMD drivers and use only Microsoft Drivers. When complete, reboot, then apply the registry changes I mentioned, then change the resolution to another resolution, then back to the one you want and it should work. I have had people email me in the past saying that the AMD driver was interfering with this fix, so if you use the Microsoft supplied video driver and your video card follows the criteria I mentioned in the post, it SHOULD work.

Hrochnick's picture

I've used this guide in the past and it's worked brilliantly, but following a large windows update yesterday it no longer seems to stick. The same as the poster above, the changes I make in the registry don't remain after changing the resolution and back again, but the black borders do. I tried uninstalling the AMD drivers and rebooting as you recommended but windows at first didn't have a 1920x1080 option for me to try and then auto re-installed the AMD drivers...

Any further suggestions? This is really annoying!

Dennis Faas's picture

As stated in the article, you can't use the AMD drivers or it won't work. If it is installing AMD drivers, try rolling back to stock drivers. If that doesn't produce proper resolution for you then consider purchasing a new video card that supports Direct X 12. My suggestion would be an Nvidia Geforce GT 1030 if you're on a budget as it runs Direct X 12 and uses very low power consumption, plus it will have supported and proper drivers for Windows 10. If you can spend a bit more and want to future proof / want to game, then get a GTX 1050 TI or higher. I have the EVGA GTX 1050 TI SC2 with 4 GB of GPU RAM and it runs Doom 4 at 60+ frames per second, requires NO external power and it's a half length card. It's amazing! It will run just about any game at 1080P with high / ultra settings.

Hrochnick's picture

Hi Dennis, thanks for your reply. I deleted all trace of AMD software and drivers from the system but windows 'cleverly' reinstalled the driver all on it's own.

So, it seems we've come to the same conclusion - the GT 1030 is the exact card I identified yesterday as an ideal intermediary upgrade for this machine, my HTPC (which, let's face it, is using pretty old hardware). Low power, silent and cheap. I'll eventually upgrade the rest, but this should do for now as a quick fix. Thanks again for your help.

Beozonte's picture

Thank you so much for helping me solve the problem of the black borders on my screen; however, I have two screens and this solution only solved the problem with one of them, the other still with the black border. Any suggestions?

Tks,
JM

protocoloh's picture

I encountered this exact issue, doing a fresh install of Windows 10 on an HP desktop with a new SSD and a Radeon HD 4300. I found that there were two entries in my registry, "DALR6 DFPI 21920x1080x0x59" and "DALR6 DFPI 51920x1080x0x59" (note the different digit after DFPI). I just applied the fix to both of those registry entries (changing 08 to 00), one at a time, and it worked like a champ. If you have a dual monitor, I suspect that you should be able to find two separate registry entries like I did.

guusbok's picture

To be honest it was a bit scary for me to use the registry, but it worked perferctly and fast. I signed up to thank you for this.

Corby's picture

Thank you so, so much for this. That black border was driving me insane.