By now you may know that I'm a huge proponent of multiple monitors as a productivity booster. But sometimes you may need to use the Windows Screen Resolution window to get everything working right.
You can reach this tool in the Windows 7 Control Panel by right-clicking the desktop and clicking Screen Resolution from the context menu. But actually getting to the desktop under a pile of open application windows can be the hardest part.
What if you could open the Screen Resolution window with one click from the Windows Taskbar? Here's how.
Time Required: Three minutes
Right-click anywhere on your Windows 7 desktop and click New > Shortcut. You will see the Create Shortcut dialog box. In the Type the location of the item: text box, enter the following:
C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl
Note that if your Windows directory is on a drive letter other than C:, you'll need to use that letter in the address I've specified above. Click Next when you are done.
In the dialog box that appears, enter a name for your shortcut. Something like Screen Resolution will do nicely. Click Finish.
A blank shortcut icon bearing the name you just provided should appear on the Windows desktop. To change the appearance of the shortcut menu to something less bland, right-click the shortcut you created on the desktop and click Properties. In the Properties dialog box click the Shortcut tab and click the Change Icon... button. In the text box, type the following text: C:\Windows\System32\Display.dll and click OK.
Select the display icon in the preview box and click OK. In the Screen Resolutions Properties box you should see the new icon displayed. Click OK. The desktop icon now updates to look like the Display icon you selected.
Now add this shortcut to you Taskbar by right clicking the icon and clicking Pin to Taskbar. The icon will now always be visible and accessible no matter how cluttered your Windows 7 desktop becomes. One click, and you'll be taken right to the Windows Control Panel's Screen Resolution window.
- In Step 3, I described how you assign a display icon image to the shortcut, by directing the shortcut to C:\Windows\System32\Display.dll for the image. If you want to choose from a selection of icon images, replace this file information with this: C:\Windows\system32\SHELL32.dll. You'll now see a window with literally hundreds of images in it. Click the one you want, click OK, and you'll have a custom icon image for your Screen Resolution shortcut.