When I first used my Raspberry Pi, I wondered why the full 1920×1080 resolution of my monitor was not taken advantage of. In the preferences of the Pi, the resolution was set to the largest available (not 1080p), but after some research I found you can change a few settings in a configuration file that will remove the black bars (‘overscan’) and enjoy your Raspberry Pi fullscreen.

To change the settings, we need to change a few things in /boot/config.txt. From the Linux command line interface (without going into the GUI desktop), enter:

[ecko_code_highlight language=”shell”]sudo nano /boot/config.txt[/ecko_code_highlight]

This will bring up the contents of the config.txt file, where you are free to edit it. As the instructions say, find the line which says #disable_overscan=1 and uncomment it (i.e. remove the #). Normally this should be enough, but if you used NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) then there are a few more things you need to change.

As you look down the page, there may be another section with overscan and borders, and yet another disable_overscan=0. All of these override our disable_overscan=1 above. Therefore, you’ll need to comment (i.e. add a # before each line) that mentions overscan (there are four), and lastly change disable_overscan=0 at the bottom to disable_overscan=1. Additionally ensure that this final line isn’t commented out. Here is that last block of code as it should look after our changes (note your overscan number values may be different):

[ecko_code_highlight language=”shell”]#overscan_left=24

Saving the changes

Once we’re done, press ^X (or Ctrl+X) and follow the instructions on screen (i.e. typing Y to save) to save your changes. You may need to reboot your Pi for the changes to take effect. If you have any troubles or can’t get this to work, leave a comment below.

Found this tip useful? Take a look at how to format a 64 gigabyte SD card for your Raspberry Pi.

  • The above information pertains to a public library in which I am the IT Mgr. I am having problems with the resolution on a Raspberry pi.
    I have seven raspberry Pi’s three of which are sitting on my work bench. and one of these does not fill the screen on a monitor with 1024 x 768 resolution. I have tried the changes recommended in /boot/config.txt with out success and I wonder if you or anyone else has any suggestions.

    All of the SD cards have NOOBS installed and without making any changes at all two of them fill the screen and the third one doesn’t. The initial configurations in /boot/config.txt are initially unchanged on all of them

    • James Duquenoy

      Hi Walter,

      I’m not sure of an immediate fix. Have you tried going into the desktop (type startx from the terminal) and setting the resolution there?

      Also, sometimes unplugging the display with the Raspberry Pi turned on, plugging the display in again, then restarting the Pi can force the resolution to update.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you’re still having trouble!

      • rickhenderson

        I’m running the graphical desktop. How can I change the resolution using the GUI?

    • matt

      It wont let me save the document

    • Colby

      Walter Smith-
      Do the files on the two that work differ from the one that doesn’t ? If so i would say you should copy the file code of the first two into the third.

  • Thom Stevens

    One can also run raspi-config (as root user, so “sudo raspi-config” if using raspian), under the Advanced Options (8), select Overscan (A1) and disable. After which one will be promoted to reboot, do so and when the system is back up, notice the full screen is used.

    • Andre Naree

      This worked for me using the GUI, Thank you so much.

  • Kumstar

    Thanks Dude It Worked!

  • James Ward

    Worked perfectly thank you

  • David

    I followed above instructions and am stuck in 720p, any ideas how to get 1080p? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • i-Vidi

    This worked using a “TBS2206 Chipset HDMI Male to VGA Female Video Cable Cord Converter” and had some issues with the resolution but was able to resolve it with this post and with two additional changes to the config.txt file.

    #HDMI mode (this will force VGA)

  • zoor

    please the resolution is too poor and the fonts are tiny, i cant see anything to even make changes, please what do i do? please help

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  • Raphael Medina

    Thanks! Works perfectly for me!

  • Will ?

    Worked perfectly thanks!

  • Laszlo Lebrun

    Not everybody feels comfortable with nano.
    Sudo Leafpad is a bit easier.

  • Laszlo Lebrun

    P.S. dont forget to remove the corrsponding “overscan” lines from NOOBS at the bottom of the file!

  • jarek

    I was stuck with 640×480 and spent a lot of time playing with config.txt with no result. Unpluging hdmi and plugging again helped as smbd mentioned above.

  • trevor

    Anyway to make this work if i’m remoting in?

  • Colby

    This really helped, I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time, Thanks!

  • ABOUT: Very new to Raspberry Pi (and Linux). Just installed Raspbian-Jessie.

    NOTES: A very weird thing is happening to me. Well, two things, actually. The first is that when I make the update to the config.txt file, the file isn’t saving properly for some reason. Per your instructions, after the change I’m closing the tab by pressing Ctrl+X, and then pressing “y” to save (followed by enter to confirm the name), and everything looks fine. I then go to reboot, but for some reason it’s running into a snag. I then pull the plug, and power it back on. It then boots up as it should, but when I re-open the config.txt file, it’s back to the way it is. Any suggestions here?

    Also, there are options presented during the file name option, such as Append, etc.. with the function “M-A”. What is that function, and how are those commands done on the keyboard?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Alex Rojas

    It work for me!
    thank you a lot!

    RB Pi Model B+ w/ Raspbian


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  • andrealed

    Thank you, I tried editing the SD card removing it form Raspberry and editing in my linux box. All went well!

  • Jeff Beck

    I followed the instructions saved the config.txt file as instructed. I verified that the changes were saved by re-executing sudo nano /boot/config.txt and confirmed the changes. However when I re-booted with a power cycle, the low screen resolution mode came up again. After the re-boot, when I executed sudo nano /boot/config.txt, I found that the file was restored to it’s original without any of the changes I made! Is it not really saving the modified file?
    The most puzzling thing about this problem is that it has progressively gotten worse over time. When I first got the PI, it booted up in high resolution every time. Then the problem was intermittant,and now it never boots up in high resolution.
    I have Raspberry PI B+.