How to rotate a laptop or PC screen: flip your screen sideways

Most laptop or PC applications work fine in landscape mode. But sometimes screen position can hamper your productivity, especially if you want to work with information in a tall, thin window.

In these situations – assuming you have a monitor that you can rotate into portrait mode – it might be worth rotating your work window around 180 degrees. This quick guide will show you how to turn your desk sideways so you can work productively.

Sometimes it helps to flip screens around to help employees remember to lock them when they walk away. Whatever the reason – even if you're the recipient of an office gag performed by an unfriendly colleague – rotating your screen 90° is an easy task, and here we've covered several ways to do it.

How to Rotate a Laptop or PC Screen Using Your Keyboard

If you're using Windows 7, 8, or 10, you can quickly rotate your screen 90°, 180°, or 270° at any time by pressing three keys.

  1. Just hold down Control + Alt then select the arrow key which way you want your laptop or PC screen to be oriented.
  2. Your monitor will then turn off briefly and within seconds return to facing a different orientation. To restore the original settings, press Ctrl + Alt + up arrow.

This keyboard combination will rotate your entire screen and all apps open on it.

This feature is only available on devices that support it, you can check your Intel Graphics Settings to check if your device does.

How to Check Intel Graphics Settings on Windows

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and select Intel Graphics Settings.

2. You will want to select Options and Support.

3. Then select Keyboard shortcut manager.

4. Looking for screen rotation shortcuts, if not present your device does not support them.

If that doesn't work, you'll need to use one of the methods below.

How to Rotate a Laptop or PC Screen Through the Control Panel

You can access the control panel to flip your screen, but beware, it will be extremely difficult to flip it back because not only will the appearance be flipped, but so will the mouse movements.

  1. Another way to rotate your screen is to right-click on the Windows desktop and select Display settings in the drop-down menu that appears. Changing the screen orientation through the Control Panel is just as easy. Press the Windows key and type "Screen resolution" then press Enter.

Alternatively, if you are using Windows 7, you can click Start > Control Panel > Display > Screen Resolution.

2. From there, select the monitor you want to rotate from the Display drop-down list, then select Portrait ou Landscape in the Orientation field.

3. You can also access these settings using the Win + I keyboard shortcut and then clicking System. From here you can choose the orientation of your display.

How to Rotate a Laptop or PC Screen Using the Intel Graphics and Media Control Panel

You can also rotate a display using your graphics card's control panel. (Note that there are too many different software suites to list individually, so consider this a general guide.)

  1. A shortcut to your graphical control panel can be found in a few places. Right-clicking on the desktop and selecting the appropriate option will take you to the Intel, Nvidia, or AMD graphics card control panels, but graphics drivers and software often add icons to the system tray on the side right on your taskbar. Double-clicking on these icons, or right-clicking on them, will normally give access to the Control Panel, and also often to a wide range of other options. Practically, some also allow you to right-click on their respective icons and select screen rotation from a drop-down menu.
  2. Once the appropriate control panels are open, you will need to browse through the "display" or "desktop" menus to find the rotation option for your monitor. The exact location varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so a quick search will quickly locate the option you need.

Lock your screen

You can lock your screen so that it doesn't rotate. If you've been given too many pranks in the office or just want to prevent a new end user from accidentally flipping their screen, just lock the screen rotation.

To do this:

  1. Click it Action center icon.

You can also click on the Windows + A keys to open the Action Center.

2. Then click on Rotation lock.

Once you have done this, the same steps should be followed to unlock the screen rotation features.

Screen orientation is stuck

Several users reported that their screen gets stuck in one orientation. Hotkeys don't work to fix it and often user can't even enter their password to access their PC. Let's walk through some options if your screen is stuck in one orientation and the above methods don't work for you.

In addition to shutting down your PC (which probably won't work because your system will remember its last orientation), you can try unplugging your peripherals, waiting a few minutes, then plugging them back in. This may force the system to reboot with the correct orientation.

  1. If screen rotation is not working, you can access your system registry using the Win + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Then type 'regedit' in the box and press Enter to open a new window.
  3. From there, follow the path: 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/AutoRotation'.

4. Double click LastOrientation and enter 0 in the value area. This should help reset your screen orientation. This process is incredibly difficult to follow if your screen is upside down or even sideways. If nothing else works, physically rotate your monitor to make it easier to follow these steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to your most frequently asked questions:

Will the screen rotate backwards if I turn off my computer?

No, in most cases it will restart with the same orientation you last used. The only way to rotate it back would be to use one of the above methods.

My screen is frozen and won't rotate after the latest updates. What can I do?

If your screen no longer rotates after the update, first check that the rotation function is not locked. If not, follow the steps above using the Intel Control Panel.

My screen still does not rotate, what else can I do?

If the rotation lock feature is disabled and you have tried the control panel, you should restart your device to see if the problem fixes itself. If not, try disconnecting your devices and reconnecting them.

Finally, use Microsoft's built-in troubleshooting software to check your sensors. If your computer has a driver problem, your computer's screen orientation may stop working correctly. You can change the driver yourself, check a manufacturer's warranty, or contact a repair shop for assistance.

What if I have two screens and only one of them is reversed?

In most cases, you can click on the screen that needs adjustment and use the keyboard to fix the problem for that screen. The alternative would be to head to the control panel, select the screen to rotate, and choose the orientation.

If the problem is not corrected immediately, try unplugging the peripherals and plugging the monitor back into your computer.

The Ctrl+Alt+Arrow key does not work, why?

If the keyboard shortcuts mentioned above don't work for you, it's probably because your PC's graphics card doesn't support the function. You can check the functions by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+F12 and selecting "Options and support". Next, click on the keyboard shortcut manager and find your keyboard shortcut.

Rotate your screen

As you have now seen, the method to rotate the screen of your PC or laptop depends on the operating system and the graphics card you are using. If you rotate your screen a lot, it's useful to learn the shortcut keys used to do so.

Were you able to rotate your screen? Is your screen locked and you have tried all the suggestions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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