RefreshForce Screenshot (164KiB)

Or you can download it from MajorGeeks here.

RefreshForce was an incredibly popular program initially released in 2002, at the same time as early versions of Windows XP. It was intended to replace RefreshLock, however did not run as a background process.

Many people, including me, chose not to upgrade to Windows XP because of this problem when playing games. RefreshForce solved the problem and so many users worldwide finally upgraded to the first NT-based system designed for home use.

Its objective was to fix the fact that Windows NT-based systems used a display refresh rate by default of 60Hz. On CRT monitors, often when combined with the lighting of the room (which would operate at an independent frequency), the result was fatigue and eyestrain over prolonged periods of use. 85Hz or above was recommended for most users.

The reason early CRT TVs (which ran at 50Hz in the UK and 60Hz in the USA) did not have this problem was because the timing on the TV was directly linked to the electricity supply, thus the timing was in sync with surrounding lighting and so there was little obvious flicker to the human eye. PC monitors were not locked to the mains and were timed independently.

On modern LCDs, the backlights do not exhibit visible flicker, so RefreshForce is being kept for archival purposes only.

RefreshForce used an inventive way of finding out which display frequencies the monitor could support, and then backed up and adjusted the drivers in real-time. It did this completely automatically — only asking the user to confirm the changes. RefreshForce was the only solution that worked with nearly everyone worldwide, and so became the ‘standard’ — it was in many magazines around the world and got several million users in total through many websites.

The main difference between this program and the others was that RefreshForce worked on almost every configuration. You did not need an nVidia or ATI card specifically, or any particular driver version.