CS2: How to enable black bars & stretched resolutions

Nikhil Bahuguna
A CT and T character holding guns in CS2's release poster

Whether you’re coming into CS2 from the franchise’s previous titles or just love playing with the 4:3 aspect ratio, here’s how you can get black bars or stretch your in-game resolution on your monitor while playing CS2.

CS2 is finally here for everyone to enjoy and Valve have implemented plenty of upgrades in their latest title. From a new game mode and rating system to the reworked maps, CS2’s release has significantly increased Counter-Strike’s active players on Steam.

With the gameplay remaining the same for new and old 5 vs 5 modes, a number of players coming from the previous iterations will look to set up their familiar monitor settings. This includes a large number of CS2 pro players, who want to make use of the slight advantage that comes with using the 4:3 aspect ratio.

With that said, if you’re one of the players looking to turn on the black bars and stretched resolutions in CS2, here are all the steps to do so.

Video settings in CS2
Your video settings will determine how much stress you put on your system.

CS2: How to turn on black bars & stretched resolution settings

Depending on your GPU’s manufacturer, you can turn on black bars and stretched settings for your resolution in CS2.

CS2: How to turn on black bars & stretched for NVIDIA users

  1. Launch Counter-Strike 2 and click on the gear icon for ‘Settings‘ on the top left.
  2. Select the ‘Video‘ tab.
  3. Set your Aspect Ratio to ‘Normal 4:3.’
  4. Choose a Resolution from the drop-down list.
  5. Hit Apply Changes on the bottom right of your screen.
  6. If you get the black bars by default, stop here. Otherwise, right-click on your desktop and openNvidia Control Panel.’
  7. Expand the Display options towards the left, and click on ‘Adjust desktop size and position.’
  8. Select the display and under the scaling modes, choose ‘Aspect ratio.’
  9. Check the box for “Override the scaling mode set by games and programs,’ and hit Apply.
  10. For removing the black bars or stretching your resolution, select ‘Full-screen’ instead of the ‘Aspect ratio’ scaling mode option.

CS2: How to turn on black bars & stretched for AMD users

  1. Follow the first five steps listed above for choosing your resolution in CS2.
  2. Open AMD’s Adrenalin panel.
  3. Click on the ‘Gaming‘ tab.
  4. Under the first tab for ‘Games‘, navigate towards the right corner click on the three dots to open more options, and select ‘Add A Game.’
  5. Navigate to CS2’s executable file (.exe) in the Steam Library folder.
  6. Click on CS2’s icon under the ‘Games’ tab, and head to the Display section.
  7. Click on the drop-down list for ‘Scaling Mode‘ and choose ‘Preserve aspect ratio’ if you wish to keep black bars while playing CS2.
  8. If you want to remove black bars or fully stretch your resolution, select ‘Full panel.’
Nvidia Control Panel settings with Scaling mode options
Make sure to select your primary display before applying the settings.

Which resolution should you use in CS2?

The most common resolutions used by the CS2 pro players are 1024×768 (Black Bars) and 1280×960 (Stretched). But, depending on your PC’s performance, you should use the aspect ratios and resolutions that you’re comfortable with. There’s no perfect resolution when it comes to playing CS2 or any game.

While the stretched 4:3 resolutions make the enemies look a bit bigger on your screen, it also slightly limits your FOV. However, if you wish to copy your favorite player’s settings, like s1mple, it’ll take some time to familiarize yourself with their setup.

Keep in mind that a majority of famous pro players grew up playing on lower-end PCs, so having the 4:3 resolutions was a way of increasing their PC’s performance.

So there you have it! That’s all you need to know to set up black bars or stretch your resolution in CS2. For more on Counter-Strike 2, be sure to give these a look:

How to convert Valorant to CS2 mouse sensitivity | Best CS:GO & CS2 crosshair codes used by pros | Is Counter-Strike 2 on macOS or Linux? | How to show FPS in Counter-Strike 2: Enable & disable commands | Best Counter-Strike 2 PC settings: High FPS, resolution, and more | How to change FOV in CS2 | Can you play CS2 on console? Is there a PlayStation & Xbox version? | Best NVIDIA Reflex settings for CS2

Sign up to Charlie INTEL for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech