I am very sensitive to refresh rates below 70Hz, at least so far as most CRT monitors are concerned. When setting up a fresh Windows system from install media (in this case Windows Server 2008), the installator goes to a graphical interface which invariably refreshes around 60Hz. This is physically painful for me to look at for more than a few seconds, which makes installing Windows way more of an ordeal than it should be.

After a full install, with appropriate video drivers applied, it's easy enough for me to get into the display options and set it to 85Hz or something otherwise workable. But depending on the size of the install and how many systems I have to work on at any given time, this can still leave hours of me squinting at the screen with constant headache breaks.

Since I'm rarely lucky enough to be able to use an LCD monitor on any given installation, is there any way to run the installator such that it can use a higher refresh rate? Or, alternatively, bypass the graphical interface entirely and do the base install via some sort of text-mode or command line?


Try QRes from: http://aksoftware.ne1.net/

I used it just the other day to set the resolution and refresh rate after an install was done.

qres.exe /r:0   Changes the refresh rate to Adapter Default.*
qres.exe /r:-1  Changes the refresh rate to Optimal.*
qres.exe /r:80  Changes the refresh rate to 80 Hz.

Setting the refresh rate during the install is a bit of a different story, you could monkey with the inf files that set the screen, here is a diff patch from just such an install I adjusted for Windows 2003 x64 (It kept installing in 640x480 and that was bugging me)

svga.inf#2 110,111c110,111
< HKR, , DefaultSettings.XResolution, %REG_DWORD%, 640
< HKR, , DefaultSettings.YResolution, %REG_DWORD%, 480
> HKR, , DefaultSettings.XResolution, %REG_DWORD%, 1024
> HKR, , DefaultSettings.YResolution, %REG_DWORD%, 768

Alternately you could treat this as a way to get management to switch to LCDs in the datacenter (I'm assuming that where you are installing). LCDs only take 1U of rackspace vs. 10U or so for a CRT. I could put 9 more servers in that spot!

You might have to take it to HR but if you are the only one doing these installs and it's affecting your health and eyesight then there is a problem that needs fixing and can potentially be easily fixed with just a little money... Cheaper than a doctors bill!

  • Alternatively look at IP/remote KVM's to let you install from your desk. – LapTop006 Dec 31 '09 at 4:36
  • Yes, that's a good suggestion. I typically start my installs in the datacenter and then monitor them via IP KVM from my desktop. – Ausmith1 Dec 31 '09 at 7:10

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