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ChangeDisplaySettingsEx function

The ChangeDisplaySettingsEx function changes the settings of the specified display device to the specified graphics mode.

Note  Apps that you design to target Windows 8 and later can no longer query or set display modes that are less than 32 bits per pixel (bpp); these operations will fail. These apps have a compatibility manifest that targets Windows 8. Windows 8 still supports 8-bit and 16-bit color modes for desktop apps that were built without a Windows 8 manifest; Windows 8 emulates these modes but still runs in 32-bit color mode.


LONG ChangeDisplaySettingsEx(
  _In_ LPCTSTR lpszDeviceName,
  _In_ DEVMODE *lpDevMode,
       HWND    hwnd,
  _In_ DWORD   dwflags,
  _In_ LPVOID  lParam


lpszDeviceName [in]

A pointer to a null-terminated string that specifies the display device whose graphics mode will change. Only display device names as returned by EnumDisplayDevices are valid. See EnumDisplayDevices for further information on the names associated with these display devices.

The lpszDeviceName parameter can be NULL. A NULL value specifies the default display device. The default device can be determined by calling EnumDisplayDevices and checking for the DISPLAY_DEVICE_PRIMARY_DEVICE flag.

lpDevMode [in]

A pointer to a DEVMODE structure that describes the new graphics mode. If lpDevMode is NULL, all the values currently in the registry will be used for the display setting. Passing NULL for the lpDevMode parameter and 0 for the dwFlags parameter is the easiest way to return to the default mode after a dynamic mode change.

The dmSize member must be initialized to the size, in bytes, of the DEVMODE structure. The dmDriverExtra member must be initialized to indicate the number of bytes of private driver data following the DEVMODE structure. In addition, you can use any of the following members of the DEVMODE structure.

dmBitsPerPelBits per pixel
dmPelsWidthPixel width
dmPelsHeightPixel height
dmDisplayFlagsMode flags
dmDisplayFrequencyMode frequency
dmPositionPosition of the device in a multi-monitor configuration.


In addition to using one or more of the preceding DEVMODE members, you must also set one or more of the following values in the dmFields member to change the display settings.

DM_BITSPERPELUse the dmBitsPerPel value.
DM_PELSWIDTHUse the dmPelsWidth value.
DM_PELSHEIGHTUse the dmPelsHeight value.
DM_DISPLAYFLAGSUse the dmDisplayFlags value.
DM_DISPLAYFREQUENCYUse the dmDisplayFrequency value.
DM_POSITIONUse the dmPosition value.



Reserved; must be NULL.

dwflags [in]

Indicates how the graphics mode should be changed. This parameter can be one of the following values.


The graphics mode for the current screen will be changed dynamically.


The mode is temporary in nature.

If you change to and from another desktop, this mode will not be reset.


The settings will be saved in the global settings area so that they will affect all users on the machine. Otherwise, only the settings for the user are modified. This flag is only valid when specified with the CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY flag.


The settings will be saved in the registry, but will not take effect. This flag is only valid when specified with the CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY flag.


The settings should be changed, even if the requested settings are the same as the current settings.


This device will become the primary device.


The system tests if the requested graphics mode could be set.


The graphics mode for the current screen will be changed dynamically and the graphics mode will be updated in the registry. The mode information is stored in the USER profile.


When set, the lParam parameter is a pointer to a VIDEOPARAMETERS structure.


Enables settings changes to unsafe graphics modes.


Disables settings changes to unsafe graphics modes.


Specifying CDS_TEST allows an application to determine which graphics modes are actually valid, without causing the system to change to them.

If CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY is specified and it is possible to change the graphics mode dynamically, the information is stored in the registry and DISP_CHANGE_SUCCESSFUL is returned. If it is not possible to change the graphics mode dynamically, the information is stored in the registry and DISP_CHANGE_RESTART is returned.

If CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY is specified and the information could not be stored in the registry, the graphics mode is not changed and DISP_CHANGE_NOTUPDATED is returned.

lParam [in]

If dwFlags is CDS_VIDEOPARAMETERS, lParam is a pointer to a VIDEOPARAMETERS structure. Otherwise lParam must be NULL.

Return value

The ChangeDisplaySettingsEx function returns one of the following values.

Return codeDescription

The settings change was successful.


The settings change was unsuccessful because the system is DualView capable.


An invalid set of flags was passed in.


The graphics mode is not supported.


An invalid parameter was passed in. This can include an invalid flag or combination of flags.


The display driver failed the specified graphics mode.


Unable to write settings to the registry.


The computer must be restarted for the graphics mode to work.



To ensure that the DEVMODE structure passed to ChangeDisplaySettingsEx is valid and contains only values supported by the display driver, use the DEVMODE returned by the EnumDisplaySettings function.

When adding a display monitor to a multiple-monitor system programmatically, set DEVMODE.dmFields to DM_POSITION and specify a position (in DEVMODE.dmPosition) for the monitor you are adding that is adjacent to at least one pixel of the display area of an existing monitor. To detach the monitor, set DEVMODE.dmFields to DM_POSITION but set DEVMODE.dmPelsWidth and DEVMODE.dmPelsHeight to zero. For more information, see Multiple Display Monitors.

When the display mode is changed dynamically, the WM_DISPLAYCHANGE message is sent to all running applications with the following message parameters.

wParamNew bits per pixel
LOWORD(lParam)New pixel width
HIWORD(lParam)New pixel height


To change the settings for more than one display at the same time, first call ChangeDisplaySettingsEx for each device individually to update the registry without applying the changes. Then call ChangeDisplaySettingsEx once more, with a NULL device, to apply the changes. For example, to change the settings for two displays, do the following:

ChangeDisplaySettingsEx (lpszDeviceName1, lpDevMode1, NULL, (CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY | CDS_NORESET), NULL);
ChangeDisplaySettingsEx (lpszDeviceName2, lpDevMode2, NULL, (CDS_UPDATEREGISTRY | CDS_NORESET), NULL);
ChangeDisplaySettingsEx (NULL, NULL, NULL, 0, NULL);


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]


Winuser.h (include Windows.h)





Unicode and ANSI names

ChangeDisplaySettingsExW (Unicode) and ChangeDisplaySettingsExA (ANSI)

See also

Device Contexts Overview
Device Context Functions