We're testing an on-premise Windows Server 2012 (Datacenter) server. It has been installed with the GUI because it's internal, test only - we don't care about the attack surface until we're ready.

Problem: When locally/physically logging into the server (no Remote Desktop etc), the default display resolution is quite poor (4:3 on a 20:9 display). The devices detected are:

  • Monitor:
    • Detected: Generic non-PnP monitor
    • Actual: Asus 24" monitor
  • Display Adaptor:
    • Detected: Microsoft Basic Display Adaptor
    • Actual: ATI Radeon 5770

The Hyper-V role is also installed and everything under the "User Interfaces and infrastructure" is installed (i.e. Graphical Mgmt Tools and Infrastructure, Desktop experience as well as Server Graphical Shell)

Booting the same machine into Windows 8 yields working and recognized monitor as well as as display adaptor. On a related note, even the sound card is not recognized (HD audio codec by VIA) in Server 2012 while it is (out of the box) in Windows 8. I'm wondering if Windows Server 2012 is itself running on top of the Hyper-V hypervisor (like Xen's dom0 OS), which is excluding all audio/video devices from being natively recognized. Anyway ...


  • How can I get the display adaptor recognized and working in Server 2012? Without it the entire feature GUI feature is quite an eyesore
  • Given the shared lineage, I assumed the non-Metro GUI experience would be fairly similar to Windows 8. Is that a valid assumption?
  • Server 2012 boots to the Desktop by default, but there is no start button; you still have to deal with Metro. – Michael Hampton Sep 6 '12 at 23:20
  • @MichaelHampton: I get that and although I dislike Metro, that isn't the problem right now. The problem is poor video/monitor performance for the GUI (Metro or non-Metro alike). Thanks! – DeepSpace101 Sep 6 '12 at 23:40

The Microsoft Basic Display Adapter, as the name implies, is meant to be basic. This means you are locked to a resolution of 1024x768 and have minimal desktop eye candy.

enter image description here

To resolve this issue, install display drivers provided by the video card manufacturer. AMD's Catalyst 12.8 or later "for Windows 8" has been working perfectly for me on Server 2012.

Or, you can just ignore the issue. If you're going to install Server Core into production (eventually) anyway, then it doesn't really matter much whether you have display drivers or not.

(I don't know about your audio; mine works fine...)

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  • Awesome! Display drivers inside catalyst 12.8 work great (didn't install the extra stuff, just display drivers). That also fixed the monitor not detected problem AND the audio device not being detected. Downloaded the actual driver via AMD's/ATI's "AMD Driver Autodetect" utility. – DeepSpace101 Sep 7 '12 at 0:43
  • And so begins the downfall of a once great Linux admin... :p – HopelessN00b Sep 7 '12 at 18:41

I guess I'm a little amazed when I see questions about why legacy hardware isn't recognized on a new OS. Any hardware manufactured before the release of Windows Server 2012, which is not on the HCL and for which the manufacturer doesn't have a driver is legacy hardware. Furthermore, Windows Server 2012 != Windows 8. AMD does not have a Windows Server 2012 driver for your video card and what's more the video card is not on the Windows Server 2012 HCL, so why would you expect it to be recognized?

Question: How can I get the display adaptor recognized and working in Server 2012?

Answer: Wait until AMD releases a Windows Server 2012 driver or purchase a supported video card.

One final thing, a problem is defined as "something that should work, but doesn't". In your case you have "something that shouldn't work, and doesn't". So I'd say things are actually working (as in not working) as I would expect.

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  • 1
    "Windows Server 2012 != Windows 8": Yes, as is logically "Windows Server 2012 != a frog". However, I'm focusing on the shared core subsystems than the differences. My expectations are based on PC hardware availability, shipment volumes and behavior of related OS's out of the box experience. There is no need to step on a soapbox. – DeepSpace101 Sep 7 '12 at 0:33
  • Sid, I'm not on a soapbox. I'm just saying that you can't assume or expect that something that works under Windows 8 will work under Windows Server 2012. They are in fact different operating systems, regardless of any "shared core subsystems". – joeqwerty Sep 7 '12 at 0:44
  • Alright. Though your method of expression distracts from the informational content of your response. Perhaps you had something frustrating you (we are on serverfault!), so ... lets move on! cheers! – DeepSpace101 Sep 7 '12 at 2:38
  • Fair enough. My apologies for any offense. Carry on. :) – joeqwerty Sep 7 '12 at 3:21

I know this is old but maybe it will be useful to others. I have countered the same problem with ATI Radeon HD 5650, after some errors, multiple system failures and time consumption. I found an easy solution! note: you should update your windows first

First step: computer management > services (Force start the following services)

  • Application information
  • Device Install service
  • Device Setup Manager
  • Windows Installer (important)

Second step: Download or use the CD for the drivers (you can download the drivers from ATI)

  • right click on the installation should be (.EXE or .msi)
  • click on troubleshoot compatibility
  • continue the steps to use the recommended settings

After Troubleshooting is done click on test run the program. the installation will start and you will be able to install with no errors.

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  • After activating the services from the first step Windows Server 2016 Essentials (Version 1607) did accept the settings 2560x1600 for an AMD Radeon HD 6800 with an old 30" Dell 3007WFP – surfmuggle Mar 20 '18 at 3:57

There is yet another answer to this thread.

As cited by michael-hampton the specific version of Microsoft Basic Display Driver which is finally installed in your system has 100% hard-coded the resolution you are getting (in my case 640x480). Since this is not configuration, so there is no possibility to modify that.

However there are some users which have manually edited their .SYS display assembly in order to change these values (BASIC_DISPLAY_DRIVER::GoToHeadless function).

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