High pixel density displays are now common on new Windows PCs, just as they are on smartphones, tablets, and Macs. But be careful what you wish for—many desktop apps still have problems on high-DPI displays.
Windows has offered DPI scaling support for long time, but many Windows desktop applications never took advantage of it. Microsoft is working on the problem, however, and so are many app developers. In the meantime here are some settings you can change to make applications look better.
Upgrade to Windows 10
Windows 7 is still perfectly fine for many things, but it’s not fine on high-DPI displays. Windows 7 was never built for these super high resolution displays, and using them with Windows 7 will be a struggle. Microsoft dramatically improved high-DPI support with Windows 8, and Windows 10 is even better. Microsoft hasn’t stood still since releasing Windows 10, either. Updates like Windows 10’s Creators Update continue to add improvements to high-DPI scaling.
If you’re trying to use a high-DPI display with Windows 7, we highly recommend you upgrade to Windows 10. There are still ways to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, if you’re eligible.
Adjust Your Display Scaling Settings
If your laptop, convertible, or tablet came with a high-density display, Windows 10 will automatically choose an appropriate display scaling setting for it. However, you may want to adjust this setting yourself to make items appear larger and more readable, or make elements appear smaller so you have more screen real estate.
To change this setting on Windows 10, head to Settings > System > Display. Change the option under “Scale and layout” to your preferred setting. If you have multiple displays connected to your PC, you can select them at the top of this page and configure separate scaling levels for each. The ideal setting will depend on your the display and your eyes, so feel free to experiment. You can also click “Custom scaling” and set a custom percentage value between 100% and 500% from here, but Microsoft recommends you choose one of the default options in the list for maximum compatibility with applications.
NOTE: if you have trouble adjusting these settings, you may…
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