We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
2,842 Tutorials

How to get a better view of Windows

Make your desktop more accessible for all

Whatever display you use, from time to time you probably find yourself squinting at it. In my case, realising I'm hunching over my desk usually prompts me to increase the onscreen type size or reach for my glasses.

Adjusting your sitting position and where your screen is in relation to the sun may help you view the screen properly. If there's too much glare, a screen filter can help. Adjusting the contrast is yet another option.

But none of this is much use if the fault lies with your eyesight or the hardware limitations of your monitor. Using a larger screen and switching to a lower resolution can help. If you've got a netbook, however, you'll already be using a low setting.

Microsoft's attempts to beautify the Windows interface can result in onscreen information being hard to make out - muted colours that lack contrast aren't ideal if you've got poor eyesight or are feeling tired.

Whatever your reason for needing a better display, we've got a host of tips to improve your viewing experience. Windows XP and Vista have built-in tools to help you overcome visibility issues, and we've uncovered some useful third-party tools. Reflecting the fact that there are useful onscreen tweaks to be made in both XP and Vista, we've provided advice for both versions of Windows.

Windows XP and Vista screen tips

Windows XP and Vista have dedicated menus to improve onscreen setup for impaired vision or use with a screen reader. In XP, go to Start, Control Panel, Accessibility. In Vista, go to Control Panel and click on the blue Ease of Access option.

Vista's menu has four main elements: a magnifier; a narrator (which starts automatically unless you click the Microsoft Narrator option and choose Exit); an onscreen keyboard; and a high-contrast display.

Ease of Access options

If you need help deciding which are most appropriate, ask for recommendations by clicking the option below the four icons.

Windows 7 will add accessibility support by extending its range of touchscreen controls; otherwise, all three versions of Windows cover the same basic options.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: 30 September marked for unveiling

IDG UK Sites

Gateway to your kingdom: why everybody should check and update their broadband router

IDG UK Sites

Netflix whips up 3D VR viewing room for Oculus Rift during company hack day

IDG UK Sites

Best Mac? Complete Apple Mac buyers guide for 2014