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Some desktop applications may appear blurred on high-DPI displays

Symptoms
When you use a Windows 8-based or Windows 8.1-based computer that has a display that features many dots per inch (that is, a high-DPI display), some desktop applications may appear somewhat blurry when you compare them with other applications on the screen. Alternately, display problems may exist such as truncated text. This behavior occurs in such programs as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Windows Photo Viewer, Windows Media Player, Windows Firewall, the Windows 8 Calendar app, and Windows Journal.
Cause
In order to provide an optimal experience on high-DPI displays, desktop applications have to detect the DPI of the display that is being used and then scale their graphical elements, text, and screen layout appropriately. Some applications do not implement this. Therefore, they may not look as sharp. Other applications may attempt to implement this, but may not implement it correctly, causing problems such as truncated text or incorrectly sized graphical elements.
Resolution
In some cases, the application vendor may be able to provide an updated software version that better supports high-DPI displays.

If there is no updated DPI-aware version of the application available, you may be able to alter the appearance of the application by using one of the following methods. Be aware that this may result in less desirable results, depending on the application.

  • Disable DPI virtualization for the application. To do this, right-click the application’s shortcut and then click Properties. On the Compatibility tab, select Disable Display Scaling On High DPI Settings, and then click OK. This causes the text in the application to appear clearer. However, if the application does not correctly handle high DPI settings, this procedure may have adverse side effects such as truncated text and incorrectly sized graphical elements.
  • Lower the overall Windows DPI setting. To do this, open the Display item in Control Panel (or search for "dpiscaling" from the Start screen), and then adjust the slider under Change the size of all items. You may have to click to select the check box for Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays and then change the scale to 100 percent.

    Be aware that on very high-DPI displays, this may make screen elements very small, and some text may become difficult to read.

More information
High-DPI displays have a larger number of pixels in the same physical screen area compared to traditional computer monitors. This enables the display to produce crisper text and graphics. However, it also requires applications to display their output at a higher resolution in order to provide an optimal experience.

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 introduce additional support for high-DPI displays. This includes the ability to use independent scaling levels for multiple displays when more than one display is connected.

Some specific Windows components that may experience this issue are as follows:
  • Windows Fax & Scan
  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC) components, such as the following:
    • Device Manager
    • Event Viewer
    • Disk Management
    • Computer Management
For applications that do not scale correctly for use on high-DPI displays, Windows enables a feature that is known as DPI Virtualization. This enables the application to run as if it were on a lower-DPI display. Windows will then scale up the application's graphical display appropriately so that it is shown at the appropriate visual size for the high-DPI display. However, this has the side effect that the application's text and graphics will not be as crisp and clear as an application that is natively rendering its output for use on a high-DPI display.

For software developers, there is more information about how to write high-DPI applications on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN).
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.
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Article ID: 2900023 - Last Review: 08/14/2015 07:18:00 - Revision: 6.0

Windows 10 Pro, released in July 2015, Windows 10 Enterprise, released in July 2015, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Enterprise N, Windows 8.1 N, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Pro N, Windows 8.1 Pro RTM, Windows 8.1 RTM, Windows 8, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8 Enterprise N, Windows 8 N, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Pro N, Windows 8.1 Pro for EDU, Windows 8.1 Pro N/K for EDU, Windows 8.1 N/K with Bing, Windows 8.1 with Bing

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