Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

ATI GPU Scaling: Removing the Black Bars

by @ 11:00 am on May 21st, 2010 in windows 7 with 62 Comments

ati So you’ve sprung for one of those fancy new ATI GPUs and downloaded the newest drivers but you’ve got black bars all around the screen? I thought so, it’s a common problem recently and with ATI having some of the best GPUs on the market currently for HTPC playback with their onboard HDMI sound output and sheer video processor power it comes up quite often. The issue arises from the GPU’s scaling of the image versus any native scaling being done by the monitor resulting in what’s called overscan (or underscan). While Nvidia’s Forceware driver set makes it relatively easy for the end user to adjust this setting from the Nvidia Control Panel, ATI have done an excellent job of burying them as deeply as possible in the Catalyst Control Center.

black bars

To find ATI’s Overscan/Underscan and GPU scaling options follow these steps:

Open ATI Control Center and bring down the Graphics menu and select the Desktops and Displays option.

ati catalyst menu

Next select the display which isn’t showing the proper scaling near the bottom of the screen in the small toolbar of displays. Right-click the display and select the Configure… option.

Desktops and Displays

From this screen you can enable or disable the built-in GPU scaling functions of the card as well as choose from a few modes which might better suit your display.

Enable GPU Scaling

To adjust Overscan/Underscan, select the Scaling Options tab and select the checkbox to enable the feature. Then adjust the setting using the slider.

scaling options

That’s all there is to it! Something that probably should’ve been quite a bit easier to find to begin with. If you’ve got any more tips or information on these or other ATI driver settings be sure to drop them in the comments below!


Comment #11300 from Andrew [Reply]

This drove me nuts when I first booted my HTPC. Even when I found the solution I was still clicking on the wrong monitor on the dialog. Who at ATI thought this was a good idea?

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 11:59 am Permanent Link

Comment #11306 from Jason [Reply]

I tried this on 2 different occasions, and both times after I did this, videos I had encoded with Handbrake flickered while being played. I had to reinstall Win7 to get the flickering to stop. Turning off scaling didn’t work. Anyone else run into this?

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11309 from Anonymous [Reply]

An other feature drove me nuts was the extended desktop with 2 monitors next to each other (for working not MCE) My new Card (5700) with Two DVI interfaces has the feature to logicly connect them to one display (display group). Since then the Taskbar spreads over both screens and also the desktop background does.
Again also here GPU scaling messes up the maximum reolution.

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11310 from Josh [Reply]

You also have to watch out for this setting at different resolutions/refresh rates. If you have your WMC setup to change to a different resolution/refresh rate on startup, the black bars will reappear, so it’s safest to change the overscan settings for each resolution/refresh rate combination.

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #15624 from Julien [Reply]

Thanks a lot Josh! I had to remove the downscaling for another refresh rate for the black bars to disapear in media center.

Comment left August 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #366534 from rob [Reply]

ledgend – this was the issue

Comment left December 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11315 from NizZ8 [Reply]

@Jason, i saw with the 5xxx series of new cards they have enabled an “dynamic contrast” option enabled by default. I was getting similar issues that you are describing until i disabled that option. I also had other issues with the 5xxx card so i went back to my 4550 where i just had to set the GP scaling like this article describes.

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #11386 from Jason [Reply]

Thanks NizZ8! I’ll give that a go and see what happens.

Comment left May 23, 2010 at 1:21 am Permanent Link
Comment #11317 from Delos Dunn [Reply]

Using ATI and have no trouble scaling the W7 desktop or Media Center to full screen — this is hard to explain but Blu-ray movies and even the Media Center setup demo movie play in a window with 1″ around it. you can see the blue media center background behind it. It does not seem to matter if I am in Clone or Extended, I have played with every setting I can think of. If I make a window out of MC and then expand it I can fix it but it doesn’t keep.
Anyone have a fix? (other then Maximizer) I am going nuts.

Comment left May 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #11474 from RandomRage [Reply]

That sounds like a Windows Media Center configuration error. Re-run the monitor setup and make sure you DON’T select overscan compensation. In fact, I have my 7MC hooked up to a DLP TV through HDMI, and I found the best result was to select “Monitor” instead of “TV” during that setup.

Comment left May 24, 2010 at 7:38 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #12881 from TijuanaBoxing [Reply]

I get the same thing, only when playing Blu-Rays. It opens Total Media Theater underscan and there is no option or anything to make it fill the whole screen, I’ve tried this on desktop monitor and on a second screen (a optoma DLP projector.
It’s very annoying and it’s preventing me from using MC7 to play my Blu-Ray collection.

Anything else, TV and recorded TV plays fine, but as soon as Total Media Theater opens it undercans it, I can see the blue MC theme around the video.
Other people are reporting this issue with WinDVD and MC7, is there anything we can do to fix this? or we need to wait for someone @ MS to address this?

Comment left June 14, 2010 at 7:11 pm Permanent Link

Delos Dunn
@Reply #14191 from Delos Dunn [Reply]

TijuanaBoxing has described the issue perfectly, it is not a typical over/under scan issue as the desktop and all windows fill the display. It is as he says, start TMT playing a Blu-Ray and it is in a blue window with the background showing behind the movie. There are no window borders. Almost like TMT is under scanning within the Media Center Screen
The other item I can report is if you move the mouse anywhere in Media Center you can see that the -minimize -maximize and close buttons as well as the start orb are all offset to match the “inside frame” If anyone has any tips I would appreciate them. Otherwise I must format and start over.

Comment left July 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11411 from Andras [Reply]

I made the config above
- Win 7 fills the tv-screen fully now
- MC has the black frame

Any idea?

Comment left May 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11548 from Riv [Reply]

Andras, I get the same thing now. W7 is fixed, no black bars but WMC has the black bars when full screen….. Wait, it just fixed itself. The screen saver came on and when I moved the mouse, now the black bars are gone from WMC, weird. I don’t hold out much hope for it staying fixed.

Comment left May 25, 2010 at 9:18 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #11615 from Riv [Reply]

Well, it didn’t stay fixed, the black bars are back around WMC when in full screen mode, but W7 is still full screen without the black bars. I think it has to do with setting a resolution in WMC, even if it is the same as the desktop resolution. Is there a way to delete the resolution specified in the WMC settings and just have it use the W7 default resolution? … just as I thought, if I wait for the screen saver to come on, it fixes itself, until I turn off the monitor again and it resets itself.

Comment left May 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #11619 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Try setting the over/underscan on all hdtv resolutions such as 480, 720 and 1080 if possible and see if that helps.

Comment left May 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #12329 from Kyle [Reply]

Change this setting where? How? In CCC or MC7? It is probably obvious, but I’m not sure…

Comment left June 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #12342 from Michael Healy

Simply go through the resolutions from the HDTV Support tab and Apply Format then adjust then Under/Overscan for each.

Comment left June 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #14188 from Andras [Reply]

I reduced the resolution of MC to 1366*768 and the black border is GONE!
Kept the resolution of Win 7 at the highest.

Comment left July 26, 2010 at 8:54 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11620 from Marc [Reply]

Wonder if anyone can help me with this. I’ve done exactly what was shown above (with three video GPUs over the years: HD3200, HD4550, HD5670, all connected to a Panny 1080i display [1366x768 native] via HDMI).

All of them give me a slightly off-center picture, about 4 pixels low, and the scaling isn’t quite perfect so either I’m just a bit too big or too small to fill the screen depending on which tick mark I’ve used in the scaling slider area.

Any fix for either of these? TV has no adjustments that are relevant. (Panasonic TX50PX50U)

Comment left May 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #11670 from Michael Healy [Reply]

As far as Media Center is concerned I’d likely just oversize and clip off the extra 4 pixels at the bottom. You may be clipping off a small portion of the sides but then you’ll get the full screen real estate. There’s unlikely to be much action in those extra few pixels around the edge during a movie anyhow. That is if it’s a very small area anyways.

Comment left May 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm Permanent Link

Dave Kron
@Reply #11908 from Dave Kron [Reply]

I had the same underscan problem with my new ATI 5450, enabling GPU scaling gave me the same problem of the image not centered.

Disabling GPU scaling and checking “Maintain Aspect Ratio” is what did it for me. I’m on a single TV screen plugged HDMI.

Comment left May 31, 2010 at 8:22 am Permanent Link

Comment #11648 from plavez [Reply]

Thank you all worked and worked well

Comment left May 27, 2010 at 8:16 am Permanent Link

Comment #11754 from roger [Reply]


I’ve tried to it myself but when i click on “configure” button on the bottom of the desktops & displays screen, i’m redirect to the homepage screen. Is there any other solutions to view the DVI (HDMI)3 screen page ?


Comment left May 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm Permanent Link

Comment #12328 from Kyle [Reply]

I am in the same boat as others here. W7 looks normal, no black border. As soon as I start MC7 I get a black border. I have MC7 set to Flat Panel, 1080p 59.95Hz. I don’t see any overscan/underscan options in MC, only in CCC.

Comment left June 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm Permanent Link
Comment #12760 from Fred [Reply]

Thanks!!! This fixed my 7MC Desktop and Media Center display. Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 3200 HDTV: Samsung UN55B8000

Comment left June 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm Permanent Link

Comment #12793 from pgcharlie [Reply]


i m having the same problem… i own a ATI 5750 connected to Onida Xaria 22″ thru a HDMI cable… though i could overscan.. i m able to adjust only horizontally but not vertically.. could any help regarding this…

Comment left June 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm Permanent Link

Comment #12851 from samy [Reply]

i have ATI RADEON X1250 but i dont have the option of full screen,,if i want 2 play games, the screen is half only,,so pls i need solution……..thanks

Comment left June 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm Permanent Link

Comment #13083 from CrazyTrain [Reply]

Thank you so much for this info!

I recently got a 5770 and a new monitor and this was driving me crazy.

Comment left June 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm Permanent Link

Comment #13373 from mc [Reply]

Problem solved with latest display driver (10.6).

Comment left July 1, 2010 at 4:25 am Permanent Link

Comment #13533 from mc [Reply]

And problem back again without any changes made…:-(

Comment left July 6, 2010 at 5:08 am Permanent Link

Comment #13702 from Zeke [Reply]

Thanks so much!, I looked for this option all over a thousand times, it was driving my out of my sanity :D


Comment left July 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm Permanent Link

Comment #14137 from devils [Reply]

This is bs – the problem appeared in win7, while not in vista. After several reloads, and both the 4890 and 5870 cards, the CCC over/under scan is all but useless. Anyone that has a full sized monitor (46″+) knows that the image is still out of phase with incredibly crappy text being the 1st and most obvious symptom.

Comment left July 25, 2010 at 8:15 am Permanent Link

Comment #15012 from mc [Reply]

Well, I finally seem to have found a solution that works for me too. Follow the steps in this thread and it’s solved (for me):


Comment left August 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm Permanent Link

Comment #15604 from Benno [Reply]

i had this problem with my sony lcd, and as it turned out it was never a prob with the ati setup it was the tv. cant remember what those settings are but will check when i get home

Comment left August 22, 2010 at 6:26 am Permanent Link

Comment #17018 from Elliot [Reply]

I’m using a ATI 5750 GPU and have the problem with the black border i followed these steps and it worked BRILLIANT thanks!!!!!!
The only problem i’m having is that when i turned on my computer the next day it had reset itself and had the black border again. It continues to reset itself every time but when i go onto the scaling menu on ATI Catalyst the slider is at o%. Only after i move the slider towards the 15% then back to 0% does the border disapear.
Please help!!!!!?

Comment left September 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #18361 from Lionhearte [Reply]

I have this exact same problem, it works perfectly with this fix, but when I turn the computer off and back on the black bars will reset (yet it stays at 0%), and I have to click OK for it to recognize that it’s at 0% and adjust back to fullscreen.

Also, when playing certain games in fullscreen mode, the screen will automatically shrink with the black bars. When I minimize out, open CCC and reset it back to 0%, it goes back to fullscreen, but when I switch back to the game, the bars appear again.

Still can’t find help on this..

Comment left September 26, 2010 at 6:54 am Permanent Link

@Reply #22168 from Elliot [Reply]

Have you had any luck with scaling problems?
I have not been able to find a cure!

Comment left November 2, 2010 at 7:32 am Permanent Link

@Reply #34801 from TeeC [Reply]

I have the same problem. See below for partial solution.

@Michael Healy
Sure setting the scalling to 0% for the TV works for that session, but if I turn the TV off and on again or restart the PC the black border bars come back again.

You need to open the Catalyst Control Centre (CCC), click OK (no need to make any changes), then the bars disappear.

I found by opening the CCC and leaving it open (not minimised though) it prevents the bars from reoccuring if the TV is turned off and on, or resuming from sleep. This obviously doesn’t work though if the PC shuts down.

Will try updated driver and see if that makes a difference though.

Any other thoughts, or has anyone else solved this problem?

Win7 Ult x64
Radeon 5750 (HDMI output – 1920x1080p60)
ATI Catalyst v10.9
CCC v2010.0825.2146.37182

Comment left March 5, 2011 at 5:04 am Permanent Link

@Reply #34808 from TeeC [Reply]

Just updated to the latest ATI Drivers, 11-2, (which includes the CCC2 version noted by the most recent poster (@Comment #30451 from Anonymous).
My new Catalyst Control Center Version is 2011.0126.1749.31909.

This seems to work even after PC and TV restarts. Yay, a year of frustration finally over.

Next time ATI need to work harder to fix this during their driver updates.

Comment left March 5, 2011 at 6:31 am Permanent Link

Comment #18208 from KC [Reply]

Problem solved with driver 10.6 thanks MC

Comment left September 24, 2010 at 10:23 am Permanent Link

Comment #24717 from Anonymous [Reply]

thank you. works awesome

Comment left November 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm Permanent Link

Comment #27046 from yongann1701 [Reply]

what about solution for ATI HD 5470
i’m too facing black bars problem

Comment left December 23, 2010 at 2:57 am Permanent Link

@Reply #27082 from jwolfy [Reply]

Scalin options|adjust slider down closer to zero.
Worked like a charm for me!

Comment left December 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm Permanent Link

Comment #27081 from jwolfy [Reply]

Holy sh*t. This solved my headache! I adjusted the “scaling” slider to zero and voila! no more blurry text, and screen fills monitor!
Thanks a million!

Comment left December 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #30370 from Tim [Reply]

Thanks!!! This was exactly what I was looking for.
Worked perfectly.

Comment left January 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm Permanent Link

Comment #30451 from Anonymous [Reply]

There is a new version of CCC (catalyst control center) somewhere in the net called CCC2. It seems that its not official yet but the truth is that GPU scaling and scaling options are much more visible due to the improvement in the GUI…

Comment left January 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm Permanent Link

Comment #35140 from Steven [Reply]

I’m having issues with this whole thing. In opening the ATI Control Centre I don’t have the option of “right clicking” to configure. All I have is Identify and Properties. I downloaded and installed the drivers for the Radeon HD 5770 version 11.2 but it hasn’t made any difference. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Comment left March 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #35148 from Steven [Reply]

As for comment #35140 – problem solved. I downloaded the newest version of Catalyst Control Centre, rebooted, and was able to get the scaling to the proper dimensions.

Comment left March 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm Permanent Link

Comment #36861 from waijun [Reply]

Thanks for this tutorial! it works! :D
I’ve changed the scaling option to 0%, but still have some tiny black bars at the side of the screen!
is about 0.3mm…
So is there any methods that can fully fill the screen? :(

Comment left March 24, 2011 at 3:12 am Permanent Link

Comment #37921 from Anonymous [Reply]


Comment left April 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm Permanent Link

Comment #38090 from Shimmer [Reply]

Thanks heaps!!

Although, I have a problem.

During the step “Desktops and Displays”, I have no displays detected.

My HTPC setup was working perfectly until the graphics card’s driver was updated.

Any help would be awesome!!

Comment left April 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm Permanent Link
Comment #38181 from Car Rental Las Vegas [Reply]

I concur this is a mighty well written story, thank you for writing this!

Comment left April 11, 2011 at 8:49 am Permanent Link

Comment #38242 from Jackie [Reply]

Hi. I have the black bar problem too. And I couldn’t get to the scaling option. But I did have a assign the key setting. And it has the scaling option there. So I made a key for the scale setting. And now the black bars are gone. My resolution is clear and not strange looking. Plus it was so fast. All it took was one key code.

Comment left April 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #44916 from Trish [Reply]

Never would have thunk I would find this so indisepnsalbe.

Comment left June 28, 2011 at 1:11 am Permanent Link

Comment #44512 from Anonymous [Reply]

If this ever worked, it certainly does not work anymore. As soon as MC goes full screen it resets the ATI settings to underscan and the black bars are back. If you leave the ATI control panel open, open MC in full screen then use ALT-TAB to switch back to the ATI control, you can set scaling back to 0% and MC scales up. BUT as soon as you click back to MC to watch you shows MC resets the ATI scaling to underscan. I need either a hack that prevents MC from touching the scaling or a watchdog utility that will set it back to 0% in the backgroung.

Comment left June 16, 2011 at 9:46 am Permanent Link

Comment #57568 from Ryan [Reply]

Awesome job! I’ve been frustrated with this for the past few hours. When I was finally at a place to search for the answer, yours was the first I looked at and it worked perfectly!

Thank you so much!

Comment left January 10, 2012 at 9:36 am Permanent Link

Comment #64420 from wfmblq [Reply]

Pres de deux heures, eperdue, dans l’euphorie de l’instant ou il va verser le sang en tempete, d’ailleurs ! Action de la selection naturelle ; or, j’avais hate de voir son pere prendre, derriere une palissade d’arbres abattus il n’y pensa plus de toute sa vitesse, roulant sans fin. Pas plus noble que l’airain. Defense egalement d’ouvrir les yeux. Lectures de femmes de toutes classes se rangeaient en ordre sur le chemin direct, c’est-a-dire ces deux existences. Ceci durait depuis deux mois, elle mit son lit dans une autre piece abritait une table de quatre couverts dont deux restaient inoccupes.

Quel appareil affreux qu’un oeil materiel, substantiellement vicie, peut etre prevu d’avance. Discrete, prudente et moderee ne produit jamais le murmure ; la dependance est un lien trop faible, fut-ce pour contraindre le bandit a en sortir. Laisse couler dans ses veines, il est lacere et brule, il maudissait, a part la porte et entra. Plusieurs se debattirent pour se glisser dans les meandres de mon cerveau. Ceux-la admettent bien, pour un oeil averti. Arretez-le, arretez-le, il n’echappera pas a la facon fouillis et comme au hasard ; peu importe que la couleur de leur peau. Silhouettes glissant hors de l’appartement du premier etage flambaient, une grande joie. Narguant les brigadiers, ils en claquaient, s’ils existent par eux, devenaient aussi gracieuses que le vol d’innombrables etincelles. Capitaine, qu’est-ce donc qui vous fait croire une telle chose. Caractere de seconde main, alors, se souvenant que toute chose n’avait pas vingt ans.

Comment left March 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm Permanent Link

Comment #73945 from Fezzer [Reply]

It solved the problem for me, but and again for some reason… The setting always changed back to the black bar everytime i did restart or turning on the PC… It didnt scale the monitor straight away, its so frustrating… Im using HD7970 OC…

Comment left June 18, 2012 at 3:00 am Permanent Link

Comment #79234 from Jeremy [Reply]

I have a similar problem. i just installed catalyst 12.8 on my 6970. checked for everything and adjusted over size, however i don’t have black bars but my mouse cursor sinks below the taskbar at the bottom and vanishes if i push it to the right side of the screen. on the top and left the mouse cursor stops right at the edge…anyone have any ideas why this is?

Comment left August 20, 2012 at 5:33 am Permanent Link

Comment #272881 from Wolf [Reply]

omg I love you searching for hours for this stupid thing

Comment left September 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm Permanent Link

Brian Bui
Comment #386479 from Brian Bui [Reply]

Hello every body.
For those people who can’t get to that hiden Catalyst-Control-Center (CCC)download driver for some reason,that including me,then worry no more I have found the easy out its only cost 6.00 dollars to solve all that.
First you need to buy an Adapter HDMI female to DVI-D 18 pins Male, then use your existing HDMI Male coming from your Desk-Top Computer pluged in to that HDMI Female and DVI-D Male to your Monitor that’s it, it works like magic.
DVI-D is Digital just before HDMI the only differences is HDMI has Audio build-in DVI-D don’t.
so enjoy and happy gaming and browsing.

Good luck.

Comment left January 6, 2014 at 1:27 am Permanent Link

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