I noticed that in the more recent versions of Windows, the monitor resolution setting has changed from a slider to a dropdown box and an abomination in between.

XP: Slider

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Windows XP has a default slider to set the resolution. The range of the slider is defined by the monitor maximum resolution. The slider only shows the selected value (in the above screenshot 800x600).

Windows 7: This Dropdown/Slider-hybrid

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Windows 7 has an abomination. On first glance, the resolution is a dropdown box. But once opened, a vertical slider is revealed. An unusual widget to be honest that I can't recall to have seen anywhere else. The slider shows the selected value, but also shows some default values at certain points of the slider.

Windows 8 & 10: Dropdown

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Windows 8 & 10 used a default dropdown box. Nothing really special. The downside of this dropdown box is that with the slider, you could see the shape and size of the monitor graphic change, while with the dropdown, you have to select a value before you see the change.

Is there any reason why this has been changed from a slider to a dropdown?

Mac OS doesn't have either and just has a list:

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  • maybe they detect your device and only tell you options that fit the ratio of your screen or something weird like that? Don't think so though. I also don't think they've done it for any particularl UX reason unless they have stopped using sliders altogether? Apple obviously haven't done it for that reason though as there is a brightness slider beneath the resolution one – Chris Dec 14 '15 at 16:34
  • Is there a reason? Surely Microsoft designers didn't do it out of boredom. I guess it is because we are more use to select items in columns. It would be a bit better to ask what are the advantages of choosing data in columns vs. sliders if you have only a few options anyway. – Trilarion Dec 14 '15 at 20:59
  • @DennisW "...Windows 7 has an abomination...an unusual widget...". Well it saves space (slider wastes a lot of space!), it's easy to read (when closed) and you have the only advantage of sliders (dynamic preview while dragging). Personally I'm happy they dropped such design (especially nowadays with LCD displays) but (unfortunately) it's somehow common control in many programs (transparency or color component selectors, used with spin or with editable combo/dropdown). – Adriano Repetti Dec 15 '15 at 12:46

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