Quick problem, no rush.

I recently installed the most recent PCLinuxOS boot (my first introduction to linux), and I am loving it. just recently I booted it up, and found that a good 20% of my desktop space is not being used by the panels at the top and bottom of the screen. I can click and drag the panels around the desktop and they go right to the edges of my screen, but when I maximize windows, it only takes up that portion of the screen. I can see my background in this empty space that is not being used otherwise, but I can't get the panels and windows to enter that space.

Is this a monitor resolution problem, a panel problem, or some other problem I am unaware of, and how can I fix this?

Thanks in advance.