59 Hertz Refresh Rate and Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 28, 2010
Updated • Sep 14, 2016
Windows, Windows 7

My HP w2408w computer monitor was displaying a refresh rate of 59 Hertz ever since it was connected to a computer system running Windows 7. The 60 Hertz option was available in the adapter's display settings but it was never saved when I selected the option there as the value would always return to 59 Hertz instead.

If you search on the Internet for the 59 Hertz problem, you come upon many users and websites that report the same problem.

As it turns out, it is not a problem at all. But let us start at the beginning to see how the refresh rate is changed in Windows 7.

Right-click the desktop of the PC and select Screen Resolution from the menu. When the menu opens, click on the Advanced Settings link near the right bottom of the window.

This opens a new window. Switch to the Monitor tab. It should look similar to the one below.

Update: In newer versions of Windows, you need to select display settings and on the page that opens advanced display settings. Click on Display Adapter Properties, and then switch to the Monitor tab to get to the same menu.

59 Hertz is the reported screen refresh rate of the computer monitor. A click on the pulldown menu reveals the 60 Hertz setting. This refresh rate can be selected but it will not stick. Applying the changes and going back to the menu reveals that the screen refresh rate is still stuck at 59 Hertz.

The problem is not a problem as pointed out by Microsoft points on the company's knowledgebase.

Certain monitors report a TV-compatibility timing of 59.94Hz. Therefore, Windows 7 exposes two frequencies, 59Hz and 60Hz, for every resolution that is supported at that timing. The 59Hz setting makes sure that a TV-compatible timing is always available for an application such as Windows Media Center. The 60Hz setting maintains compatibility for applications that expect 60Hz.

In Windows 7, when a user selects 60Hz, the OS stores a value of 59.94Hz. However, 59Hz is shown in the Screen refresh rate in Control Panel, even though the user selected 60Hz.

It basically means that Windows will always use a refresh rate of 59.94Hz regardless of the value that is shown in the screen refresh rate settings.

This affects other monitor refresh rates as well, specifically:

* 23.976Hz, but not 24Hz
* 29.970Hz, but not 30Hz
* 47.952Hz, but not 48Hz
* 71.928Hz, but not 72Hz
* 119.880Hz, but not 120Hz

To conclude: Windows displays either 59 Hertz or 60 Hertz as the refresh rate depending on the monitor in question. Windows on the other hand uses a refresh rate of 59.94Hz regardless of what the monitor reports but will use 60Hz for applications that expect the frequency.

59 Hertz Refresh Rate and Windows
Article Name
59 Hertz Refresh Rate and Windows
Find out why the Windows operating system may report a refresh rate of 59 Hertz instead of 60 Hertz when you check the display refresh rate on a computer.
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  1. Ari Taipale said on January 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Yes, well, hmm… i have blinking problem with all kind of popup menus in Firefox which persists as long as i switch my monitors refresh rate to 60Hz. Everytime after reboot, i have to switch it back to 60Hz to get things working.
    I’m using Windows 7 Pro with Fujitsu Siemens 26″ (high quality) (here menus working properly) & BenQ 24″ (medium quality) (this one has the problem) lcd monitors.

  2. Sammy said on April 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I have the same monitor and was wondering about this….Thanks

  3. Taomyn said on April 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

    The Dell Alienware M17x suffers from this issue as well and it’s nice to have it finally explained. However, does anyone know if this effects the performance of any games for example? I’m not seeing it myself, but then I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to getting my gaming settings just right unlike many others I’ve come across.

    1. Martin said on April 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

      Taomyn, no it does not affect performance as Windows always uses the 58,94Hz regardless of the monitor’s reporting of 60Hz or 59,94Hz (which is shown as 59Hz)

  4. Chocobito said on April 29, 2010 at 1:07 am

    In my 4 years old Laptop, this always work in 61Hz, the video properties say 60Hz but when really work a 61.5Hz, in Windows, in Linux this work a 75hz, really weird a a little stubborn when I want to see really smooth playback.

  5. Brett said on April 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Interesting except, my Windows 7 Pro always shows 60 Hertz

    Win7 32 bit Pro

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