How to Fix: Force Screen Refresh Rate Windows 10

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Infopackets Reader Michael O. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have a strange problem. Every few reboots, my laptop screen refresh rate will automatically change to 59Hz, even though I've repeatedly set it to 60Hz. On my particular laptop model (Lenovo T460), whenever the screen refresh rate is at 59Hz and the screen brightness is relatively low, the screen starts to flicker. The screen flickering is hard to see unless it's on a white background, but it is definitely noticeable and enough to make me want to pull my hair out. When I change it back to 60Hz, the screen flickering stops. The problem is that after a few reboots, the 59Hz refresh rate comes back again (even though I didn't make the change), and the screen flickering comes back again. Do you know if it's possible to force screen refresh rate in Windows 10 to 60Hz permanently? "

My response:

I asked Michael if he'd like me to look into this issue using my remote desktop support service, and he agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

How to Fix: Force Screen Refresh Rate Windows 10

Setting the screen refresh rate in Windows 10 should stick in normal circumstances, but sometimes it does not - as in Michael's case. After much research into this, there isn't a single registry hack or Windows setting that will force a screen refresh rate and retain its settings, especially if it continually reverts on its own.

That said, there is a way to get around this issue using a third party command line utility called 'Qres'.

There are two ways to achieve this:

  1. Automated: Using Qres + Task Scheduler on reboot / user login, or
     
  2. Manual: Using Qres + Batch File via desktop icon.

Option #1: Force Screen Refresh Rate in Windows 10 on Reboot (Automated)

Qres is a program that will set a screen resolution as well as a refresh rate using the administrative command line. Task Manager is built into Windows and allows you to specify when to execute a certain task or program with optional parameters. When you combine the two, you get an elegant solution that will set the screen resolution and refresh rate on each reboot.

To do so:

  1. Download Qres from MajorGeeks and unzip the package. Note that Qres does not require installation since it runs via command line. Also note that there are many versions of Qres floating around the Internet made by different authors; please use the link I've provided or the instructions won't work.
     
  2. Make a directory called C:\Program Files\Qres, and copy the contents of the Qres zip package over to that folder.
     
  3. Click Start, then type in "task scheduler" (no quotes); wait for Task Scheduler to appear in the list, then click it.
     
  4. The Task Scheduler window will appear. Right click "Task Scheduler Library" and select "Create Task".
     
  5. The "Create Task" window will appear. Next to the "Name:" field, type in "Qres" as the name of the task. Under the "General" tab, click "Run with highest privileges".
     
  6. Next, click the "Triggers" tab, then click the "New" button. Next to the "Begin the task:" pull down menu, select "At log on (any user)", and click "OK".
     
  7. Click the "Actions" tab, then click the "New" button". Under the heading "Settings / Program Script", click "Browse", then navigate to C:\Program Files\Qres" and select "Qres.exe", then click "OK". In the "Add additional arguments", input the following to force 1920 x 1080 resolution with 60hz:

    /x:1920 /y:1080 /r:60

    ... then click OK. Note that if you want a different resolution and refresh rate, input your changes accordingly.
     
  8. You will now be taken back to the Task Scheduler main window. It's now time to test the changes to see if it will work; temporarily change your screen resolution to something else (example: 1280 x 720) via Display Settings. Go back to the Task Scheduler window; you should see a task called "Qres" listed. Right click it and select "Run" to test your newly scheduled task. If your screen resolution and refresh rate changes back to what you specified in Step #7, then it's working.
     
  9. Now it's time for the final test: change your screen resolution to a temporary setting (example: 1280 x 720), then log off and log back into Windows. To do so: click Start, then click the cog wheel, then log off. When you log back in, your screen resolution and refresh rate should change to what you specified in Step #7.

Option #2: Force Screen Refresh Rate in Windows 10 via Desktop Icon (Manual)

If you want a quick option to force screen refresh rate in Windows 10 and don't want to wade through a bunch of menus to get the job done - then a batch file is an excellent solution. This option will create a small icon on the desktop that you can double click to change the resolution and refresh rate whenever you want to.

To do so:

  1. Download Qres from MajorGeeks and unzip the package. Note that Qres does not require installation since it runs via command line. Also note that there are many versions of Qres floating around the Internet made by different authors; please use the link I've provided or the instructions won't work.
     
  2. Make a directory called C:\Program Files\Qres, and copy the contents of the Qres zip package over to that folder.
     
  3. Click Start, then type in "notepad" (no quotes); wait for Notepad to appear and click it.
     
  4. Use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    c:\program files\qres\qres.exe /x:1920 /y:1080 /r:60
    echo this is a dummy line
     
  5. Right click the above text, and select "Copy" from the dialogue menu.
     
  6. Go to Notepad and right click in the middle of the window, then select "Paste". The text you copied in Step #4 should output to the window.
     
  7. Click "File -> Save As" in Notepad. Save the file to the desktop; name it "Qres 1920 x 1080.bat" (for example). Note that you must include .bat as the extension or it won't work.
     
  8. Now it's time to test the changes. Set your screen resolution to 1280x720 (for example), then double click the file called "Qres 1920 x 1080" on the desktop. Your screen resolution should change to the specified parameters in Step #4 if you did it correctly.

I hope that helps.

About the author: Dennis Faas

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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