No, honest, this one really IS a hardware problem

Pilot fish has been pulled into a project team to help out in a long-delayed operating system upgrade for this organization -- which, naturally, is now an emergency.

"Even though this work should have been done years ago, there has been a lot of resistance to the change," fish says. "We're now at the point where the changeover is critical and management has decreed that it will happen by a deadline, no matter what.

"However, it's become a great opportunity for many of the IT support teams to divest themselves of work they don't want to deal with. If a computer has had its operating system replaced, then any fault can be blamed on that."

So it's not a surprise when a trouble ticket comes through complaining that a user is unable to change the screen resolution on his PC after the upgrade. He used to have that access, he says, but now the computer won't keep changes he has selected and it continues to automatically revert to the previous settings.

The support team has investigated, but even after using their Administrative privileges, they can't get the new setting to stick either. They can only change the system to selected resolutions such as 1440X900.

But the user requires the 1600X1200 screen resolution he had before the operating system change.

Fish's task: Investigate and correct the operating system configuration so the user can select the resolution he desires.

Knowing that the operating system image doesn't have any security restrictions controlling screen resolution settings, fish starts by looking at the screen shot that's been sent with the trouble ticket. It conveniently shows the model number for the monitor the support team had supplied with the operating system upgrade.

"A quick Internet search reveals it to be a 22-inch widescreen monitor with a native resolution of 1680x1050 -- a resolution that the screenshot shows is an available choice, and one that is smaller than they have decided they want it to run," sighs fish.

"But that's OK, I guess I should be able to find a way to make the operating system overcome the physical limits of the hardware, right?"

Don't tell Sharky you haven't sent your story because the new OS ate it. Just send me your true tale of IT life at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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