Are you experiencing a screen issue where your monitor screens are being automatically stretched to an incompatible 4:3 aspect ratio to fit on a 16:9 ratio screen. This problem appears to be prevalent on newly installed Windows 11 PCs.

You might notice that some pixels appear dead, and fonts, images or videos appear stretched, vertically or horizontally, causing the entire screen contents to appear distorted to fit the screen, making it difficult to read the desktop contents.

The stretched display issue can arise from an incorrect screen resolution setting, accidental keystrokes, or the use of outdated or buggy graphics drivers. In this article, we'll present you with several straightforward and effective solutions to fix this issue.

Change the Display Resolution on Windows 11

Setting the display to the recommended pixel resolution can help correct the stretched screen problem in Windows 11. Here's how you can fix the stretched screen issue by changing the display settings.

  1. First launch the 'Settings' app and then go to the 'Display' settings in the 'System' section. Alternatively, right-click on any empty space on the desktop and click 'Display settings'.
  1. In the Display settings page, scroll down to the 'Scale & layout' section, and click the dropdown next to 'Display resolution'.
  1. Then, select the default screen resolution usually marked as 'Recommended'. Depending on your monitor's size, Windows will recommend the optimal display resolution built into your monitor. This resolution typically provides the sharpest and most comfortable viewing experience. For most modern monitors, this recommended resolution is 1920x1080.
  1. Click the 'Keep changes' button in the prompt box.

By adjusting your screen resolution, you are optimizing the visual quality and DPI (dots per inch), which should resolve the stretched screen issue.

If you're using an external monitor, you can adjust the resolution by pressing a button on the monitor, usually located on the bottom left. The optimal resolution will vary depending on the monitor's size and capabilities.

Tip: If you're not sure of your monitor's default resolution, check the product manual, the manufacturer's website, or the product page. You can also find this information on the OEM's support site.

Finding Resolutions Supported by Your Monitor

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the same 'Display' settings page and click the 'Advanced display' tile.
  1. Next, select 'Display adapter properties for Display N' where 'N' corresponds to the number assigned to your current display if you're using multiple monitors.
  1. In the dialog window that opens, click the 'List All Modes' button.
  1. This will show you a list of compatible resolutions, colors, and refresh rates for your monitor. Select the resolution that matches your monitor's native resolution. It is usually the highest resolution in the list. Then, click 'OK'.
  1. Then, click 'Apply' and then 'OK' to apply the changes.

Now, your screen should be properly adjusted to match your monitor's default resolution.

Update or Reinstall the Graphics Card Driver

Sometimes, an outdated or incompatible graphics card driver can cause display issues, such as a stretched screen. Updating or uninstalling the graphics card driver can be an effective solution to fix this problem.

  1. Open the Run window by pressing the Windows key + R. Then, type devmgmt.msc into the Run window and press Enter to open the Device Manager.
  1. In the Device Manager, expand the 'Display adapters' category to see the graphics card listed.
  1. Right-click on the graphics card and select 'Update driver'.
  1. In the Update Drivers window, click on the 'Browse my computer for drivers' option.
  1. Next, select the 'Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer' option.
  1. After that, check the box for 'Show compatible hardware' and choose an older version of the driver from the list in the Model field. Then, click 'Next'.
  1. Once you've completed the driver updates, close the Device Manager window and restart your PC. After restarting, you should see a normal screen instead of the stretched display on your Windows 11 PC.

If your computer has both integrated and dedicated graphics cards, consider updating the integrated graphics driver first. Unless your computer is used for graphics-intensive tasks like gaming or video editing, it typically uses integrated graphics for everyday tasks like web browsing or video watching. Or, you can just update both graphics drivers.

If that doesn't fix your screen, you can try downloading the driver from the website of your graphics card manufacturer or your laptop manufacturer site:

Rollback the Graphics Driver

Sometimes, updating your graphics processing unit (GPU) driver to the latest version can lead to compatibility issues or bugs that disrupt the communication between Windows and your GPU. This can result in screen stretching on your monitor.

If you encounter problems like screen stretching or resolution issues, especially after installing a new GPU driver, rolling back the GPU drivers can be a helpful troubleshooting method.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select 'Device Manager' from the context menu.
  2. In Device Manager, locate your GPU under the 'Display adapters' section. Right-click on your GPU's name and choose 'Properties' from the options.
  1. In the Properties window, switch to the 'Driver' tab. If the 'Roll Back Driver' button is available (it will only appear if you've recently updated the driver), click on it.
  1. In the confirmation box, provide a reason for rolling back the driver and click 'Yes' to proceed.
  1. Once the rollback process is complete, restart your PC.

Reinstall the GPU Drivers

If updating and rolling back the graphics drivers don't resolve the issue, you can try completely reinstalling the GPU drivers.

  1. Launch Device Manager and expand the 'Display adapters' section. Right-click on your GPU driver and select 'Uninstall device' from the menu.
  1. In the prompt box, check the option to 'Attempt to remove the driver for this device' and click 'Uninstall' to proceed.
  1. Once the driver is uninstalled, restart your PC.
  2. After restarting, Windows will automatically detect and reinstall the appropriate GPU drivers.

You can either use Device Manager or a specialized software called Display Driver Uninstaller for this purpose.

Using Display Driver Uninstaller to uninstall drivers ensures thorough removal of the driver and its associated registry files, eliminating any potential leftover files that might cause issues.

Use a Different Monitor to Fix Streched Screen

If the stretched screen issue persists after trying the above method, consider using a different monitor to remove the possibility of hardware problems with either your PC or the current monitor.

If you don't have a second monitor, you can temporarily connect your computer to your TV using an HDMI cable.

Keep in mind that most TVs need you to adjust the resolution and scaling settings to properly fit the screen. If you can successfully connect to your TV/second monitor and make these adjustments, it's likely that your original monitor is experiencing hardware problems.

Try Using a Different Port or Cable to Fix Streched Screen

If you're still dealing with the stretched screen problem, consider swapping out the cable that connects your PC to the monitor. If your current cable isn't compatible with your PC, it can lead to scaling and resolution issues, preventing you from adjusting settings on your PC. Switching to a different cable can help rule out cable incompatibility as the root cause of the problem.

You can also try using a different display port on your PC. Sometimes, compatibility issues with your monitor's features could be causing the problem. Switching ports can help you identify and fix this issue.

Depending on what ports you've got, you could connect to another HDMI port or switch to a Display or VGA port. If your screen returns to normal resolution after the port switch, it could be a sign of a faulty display port on your PC. In such cases, contact your hardware manufacturer or remove and install a new port in its place.