Fix: Black bars in games in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
5 minute read

Home » Windows » Fix: Black bars in games in Windows 10

Many Windows 10 users love to relax and enjoy their favorite games, but a few of them reported certain issues while gaming. According to users, it seems that black bars are appearing while they play games on Windows 10. This sounds like an unusual problem, but let’s see how to fix it.

How to fix black bars in Windows 10 games

Table of contents:

  1. Make sure you use the native resolution
  2. Check the in-game settings
  3. Use Ctrl+Alt+F11 shortcut
  4. Check Override application settings in Intel Graphics Control Panel
  5. Run games in windowed fullscreen mode
  6. Check Override the scaling mode in Nvidia Control Panel
  7. Update your graphics card drivers

Fix: Black boarders in games in Windows 10

Solution 1 – Make sure you use the native resolution

Since there are two known formats, standard 4:3 and widescreen 18:6, we advise you to stick to your native resolution and screen format. By doing so, you’ll avoid possible sidebars which commonly occur if you use non-native format or resolution.

Here’s how to confirm that your native resolution is set to some random unfitting value:

  1. Right-click on the Desktop and open Display settings.
  2. Select the recommended resolution and suiting orientation.
  3. Exit Settings and restart your PC.

Once you’re certain that both of those are as they’re supposed to be, the problem should be resolved. However, if the issue is persistent, make sure to continue with the steps below.

Solution 2 – Check the in-game settings

Besides the system screen settings, we advise you to check the in-game graphics settings menu. It seems that this issue appears only with certain games and it doesn’t concern most of them. Counter-Strike is one of those which have issues with black sidebars.

In there you should find the resolution and screen orientation settings. Make sure that they resemble the ones in system settings. Once you’re over that, and the problem is still present, one of the below-presented solutions should help you address it.

Solution 3 – Set scaling to Fullscreen

If you’re having black bars in Windows 10, you should try to set scaling to Fullscreen. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter Control Panel. Choose Control Panel from the list of results.
    search-control-panel
  2. Go to Appearance and Personalization and choose Adjust screen resolution.
    adjust-screen-resolution
  3. Change your resolution to a lower one and click Apply and OK.
  4. Next click on Advanced settings.
    advanced-settings
  5. Go to Intel Graphic and Media Control Panel tab.
  6. Locate the Scaling setting and set it to Scale Fullscreen.
  7. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  8. Change the resolution back to its original value and click Apply and OK to save changes.

This solution applies to owners of Intel integrated graphics, but if you have any other integrated graphics card, you should have similar options.

Solution 4 – Use Ctrl+Alt+F11 shortcut

In order to remove black bars in games, few users suggested using the Ctrl+Alt+F11 shortcut. According to them, you just need to press Ctrl+Alt+F11 while in game and black bars should disappear. We have to point out that using this shortcut will change your desktop resolution, so you’ll have to change it back after you’re done with your game.

Solution 5 – Run games in windowed fullscreen mode

  1. Go to Control Panel and change the display resolution to 4:3 resolution.
  2. Start the game that has issues with black bars.
  3. Go to video options and change the mode to windowed fullscreen.

Although this workaround can help you, you’ll have to change the resolution to the original value once you’re done playing.

Solution 6 – Check Override the scaling mode in Nvidia Control Panel

If you’re seeing black bars while playing games on Windows 10, you might have to change few options in Nvidia Control Panel. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Nvidia Control Panel.
  2. Navigate to Adjust desktop size and position.
  3. Check Override the scaling mode set by games and programs.
    override-the-scalling-mode
  4. Optional: Check Full-screen scaling mode from the list of options.
  5. Click Apply to save changes and check if the problem still persists.

Solution 7 – Update your graphics card drivers

This issue can sometimes be related to your graphics card drivers, and in order to resolve this issue, it’s advised that you update your graphics card drivers. In order to update your drivers, just go to your graphics card manufacturer’s website, find your graphics card model and download the latest drivers for it.

Update drivers automatically

If you don’t want the hassle of updating drivers manually, we strongly suggest to do it automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool. This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it:

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater.driver updater start window
    2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
    3. driver update dignozingUpon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.

driver updater updates finished

Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Black bars in games on Windows 10 can be quite distracting, but we hope our solutions managed to solve your problems.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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