The refresh rate is the number of times your monitor refreshes with new images every second. For example, a refresh rate of 60 Hz means that the display is updated 60 times per second. The higher the refresh rate, the better the image.

Why update rates is important

Changing the refresh rate was more important on older CRT monitors, where a low refresh rate would actually cause the display to noticeably flicker when it was refreshed. A higher refresh rate eliminates visual flicker.

On a modern flat LCD monitor, you won’t see flickering with a lower refresh rate. However, a higher refresh rate results in a much smoother picture. That’s why expensive monitors designed for gaming advertise high refresh rates like 144Hz or 240Hz, which is a big step up from the 60Hz refresh rate for a typical PC display. For us, this difference is noticeable even when moving the mouse around the screen.

The maximum refresh rate you can use depends on your monitor. In general, cheaper monitors support lower refresh rates than more expensive monitors. If you have multiple monitors connected to your PC, each one has its own separate refresh rate setting.

When looking for a monitor, a higher refresh rate is generally better, but it’s not always the most important thing to look for. There are other important factors such as response time, color accuracy and monitor viewing angle. But you always want to use the highest refresh rate your monitor supports.

As a general rule, modern PCs should automatically select the best, maximum refresh rate for each connected monitor. But this does not always happen automatically, so sometimes you may need to change the refresh rate manually.

How to change the refresh rate in Windows 10

To change the display refresh rate in Windows 10, right-click on the desktop and select Display Settings.

Scroll down a bit on the right pane and then click on the «Advanced display settings» link to continue.

Click the Display Adapter Properties link below the display you wish to configure here.

Click the «Monitor» tab in the properties window that opens, and then select your desired refresh rate in the «Screen Refresh Rate» field. Click «OK» to continue. Your change will take effect immediately.

How to change the refresh rate in Windows 7

To change the monitor refresh rate in Windows 7, right-click on the desktop and select Screen Resolution.

If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, select the one you want to set up here. Click on the Advanced Settings link to change its settings.

Go to the «Monitor» tab and select the desired refresh rate in the «Screen refresh rate» field. Click «OK» to save your changes. Windows will immediately switch to the new refresh rate.

What does «Hide modes this monitor cannot display» do?

You’ll also see a «Hide modes this monitor cannot display» checkbox under the «Screen refresh rate» option. In many cases this option will not be available and the options presented here are the only ones you can choose from.

In some cases, this option is available, and you can uncheck «Hide modes this monitor cannot display» to see more screen refresh rate options. In other words, this will show options that your monitor claims it cannot support.

These options will most likely not work with your monitor and you may see a blank screen or an error message when you select them. Windows warns that this may even damage your monitor. We don’t recommend fiddling with this setting unless you know what you’re doing.

If you can’t select a refresh rate, you know what your monitor supports.

Windows should automatically show all refresh rates supported by your monitor. If you don’t see the refresh rate supported by your monitor’s advertisers as an option in Windows, you may need to troubleshoot.

For example, you may need to update your graphics drivers to provide faster refresh rates. Or, if you’re using a slow display cable that doesn’t have enough data to display at high resolution at a high refresh rate, you may need a higher quality cable. Here are some more tips for getting the refresh rate your display advertises.

CONNECTED: How to force your 120Hz or 144Hz monitor to use its advertised refresh rate

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