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Windows High DPI (Retina)

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#1 Jeezy4

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:21

When will support applications for screens with high densities. With a macbook pro Retina I find myself with applications with a font blur or appropriate.
For example, in resolution (200 DPI) GUI some applications are not well suited. (For example: Nvidia Control Panel)
Metro mode is successful.
What is the maximum resolution supported by Windows 8 for a better rendering?
I hope that the next Windows (9 or Blue) will support this type of screen!


#2 Dot Matrix

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:25

That's up to the developer of the application. Microsoft doesn't control third party apps. Many still suffer from poor and outdated coding practices.

#3 Dashel

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:29

The problem with 'retina' is that Apple uses pixel doubling (no increase in information) and MS does not. Both have pros/cons but you aren't going to see a fix in future versions as MS doesn't utilize the scaling tricks Apple does.

As far as apps go, anything over 150% is a outside MS's guidelines anyway. (Default for retina is 144dpi - try using the 'WinXP scaling' option so bitmaps aren't so stretched)

#4 Aergan

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:41

Up to who wrote it and what standards they decided to follow or make up I'm afraid. Lots of applications that support high DPI and many that really should by now that don't. Heck, even Windows NT 6.X doesn't scale all that well when it comes to the system tray icons.

#5 AJerman

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:43

If you're waiting for Windows to manage DPI scaling properly, you're gonna be waiting a while it seems like. As screens get higher and higher resolution, and applications like HTPC become more prevalent, I kept thinking they'd take care of it one day, but to this day it's still absolutely horrible. With the resolution screens are starting to run now though, I can't imagine they can ignore it in the next release of Windows. Pixel doubling may be just a simple trick to display to a high resolution screen clearly without actually utilizing the extra pixels, but at least it works. With Windows you get fonts falling off all over, buttons sized weird, etc. And it's not just applications written poorly, it's the OS too. The Superbar in Windows 7 doesn't even work properly in high DPI mode (stays on top full screen in some apps). This is one of the most massively neglected parts of Windows that has been bothering me for a long time. I use my computer plugged into a TV from 10 feet away, and while I have 20/20 vision and it's a 50" screen so I can read most things, I still have to squint or use the magnifier at times. Oh what I'd do for an OS that handles DPI scaling better.

#6 torrentthief

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:44

I think you can choose the scaling eg 100%, 125%, 150% and 200% on win8. It supposedly works well. 3rd parties are to blame for the apps that aren't made to work with hidpi displays though. There are very few displays in use so there isn't much incentive to change things at the moment for most developers.

#7 Aergan

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:54

I think you can choose the scaling eg 100%, 125%, 150% and 200% on win8. It supposedly works well. 3rd parties are to blame for the apps that aren't made to work with hidpi displays though. There are very few displays in use so there isn't much incentive to change things at the moment for most developers.


It doesn't still on Windows 7, 8, Server 2012. Examples: System tray, super bar behaviour, CMD window snap to, Nvidia control panel, anything based on a MMC.

I use 108% on my laptop @ 1080p. Any higher and it goes into fugly system tray icon mode.

On my 42" TV, I use 150% where things look roughly the same scale as they should at 720p but at 1080p. The exception is the mouse cursor which is the size of a tennis ball and the above examples.

#8 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:09

Microsoft really needs to move over to vector art and allow users to freely scale the interface to their choosing (within reason) - by default it should scale according to physical size. Icons that currently change appearance dependent upon their size could be handled with transition points. Not only is such a change important for high-DPI displays but it's even an issue at the moment:

30" - 101 DPI - 2560x1600
27" - 109 DPI - 2560x1440
24" - 94 DPI - 1920x1200
22" - 90 DPI - 1680x1050

That means the Windows UI changes physical size depending on the display that you have, which is terribly inconsistent. By default Windows 8 uses 125% scale for my 30" display, which makes everything appear too large. Therefore I prefer to use 100% scale, which is a bit smaller than I would like. Using a custom scale looks terrible, as icons appear aliased and UI elements don't scale smoothly.

Apple has a huge advantage over Microsoft in that it controls the hardware as well as the software. Microsoft's only option is to implement a more flexible approach and vector art is the obvious way to achieve that. There was talk that Microsoft was working on this years ago - back when Vista was still in development - but unfortunately it was dropped. Now Microsoft has fallen behind. Metro is designed with alternative DPIs in mind but unfortunately it's not a replacement for desktop applications.

#9 Jose_49

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:17

Microsoft really needs to move over to vector art and allow users to freely scale the interface to their choosing (within reason) - by default it should scale according to physical size. Icons that currently change appearance dependent upon their size could be handled with transition points. Not only is such a change important for high-DPI displays but it's even an issue at the moment:

30" - 101 DPI - 2560x1600
27" - 109 DPI - 2560x1440
24" - 94 DPI - 1920x1200
22" - 90 DPI - 1680x1050

That means the Windows UI changes physical size depending on the display that you have, which is terribly inconsistent. By default Windows 8 uses 125% scale for my 30" display, which makes everything appear too large. Therefore I prefer to use 100% scale, which is a bit smaller than I would like. Using a custom scale looks terrible, as icons appear aliased and UI elements don't scale smoothly.

Apple has a huge advantage over Microsoft in that it controls the hardware as well as the software. Microsoft's only option is to implement a more flexible approach and vector art is the obvious way to achieve that. There was talk that Microsoft was working on this years ago - back when Vista was still in development - but unfortunately it was dropped. Now Microsoft has fallen behind. Metro is designed with alternative DPIs in mind but unfortunately it's not a replacement for desktop applications.

+1.

Totally agreed. Having vectors, instead of pixels will allow the UI to be scaled or downscaled at the user's decision.

#10 George P

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 21:27

+1.

Totally agreed. Having vectors, instead of pixels will allow the UI to be scaled or downscaled at the user's decision.


Correct me if I'm wrong here but I'm sure that's just what they do, to a extent, with the new metro UI and apps. The start screen and all the other new UI elements scale automatically depending on the size of your screen and apps can as well. MS had a nice long blog post about this iirc.

That said, the problem is that the old desktop side of things doesn't do this, at this point. I dunno what they'll do with it going forward but at some point the desktop as we know it won't be around.

#11 AJerman

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:14

Correct me if I'm wrong here but I'm sure that's just what they do, to a extent, with the new metro UI and apps. The start screen and all the other new UI elements scale automatically depending on the size of your screen and apps can as well. MS had a nice long blog post about this iirc.

That said, the problem is that the old desktop side of things doesn't do this, at this point. I dunno what they'll do with it going forward but at some point the desktop as we know it won't be around.


Only one big problem with Metro. It scales and all automatically, but you don't get much control over it. Scaling to a 1920x1080 screen is nice and all, but when I'm 10 feet away and need it a little bigger to read text, you can't really change that in Metro without having to set ease of access settings to "I'm blind". If anything Windows 8 just made DPI scaling even worse because now the desktop and metro both act differently and neither do a good job.

#12 The_Decryptor

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:23

The problem with 'retina' is that Apple uses pixel doubling (no increase in information) and MS does not. Both have pros/cons but you aren't going to see a fix in future versions as MS doesn't utilize the scaling tricks Apple does.

As far as apps go, anything over 150% is a outside MS's guidelines anyway. (Default for retina is 144dpi - try using the 'WinXP scaling' option so bitmaps aren't so stretched)


Apple doesn't use pixel doubling unless the app simply doesn't support high DPI modes, and in that case the results match Windows (It does the scaling within the DWM in that case)

#13 mrp04

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:30

I really don't see the issue with Windows. It's supported scaling fine since Vista, it's just the programs that have yet to support it. Most of Microsoft's programs support high DPI modes. Yes some of the built in management tools don't but I personally don't think that's a huge issue (though I do believe it should be fixed for the next version of Windows). Most people don't ever go into those nooks and crannies of the OS and they're still usable, even though they're a bit blurry if you don't scale to 200%.

My Windows system tray icons in Windows 7 and 8 look fine on 150% on my HTPC. What is the issue you are all having? Third party programs often have only standard DPI icons, but I hide everything other than network, volume, and battery anyways. All the built in windows programs in the start menu support high DPI and so does Microsoft Office and all the latest web browsers.

I've also noticed Notepad++ works fine, Adobe Reader, VLC, XBMC, Chrome, FireFox are DPI-aware. Nearly everything I commonly use is.


The problem with 'retina' is that Apple uses pixel doubling (no increase in information) and MS does not. Both have pros/cons but you aren't going to see a fix in future versions as MS doesn't utilize the scaling tricks Apple does.

As far as apps go, anything over 150% is a outside MS's guidelines anyway. (Default for retina is 144dpi - try using the 'WinXP scaling' option so bitmaps aren't so stretched)


If you set it to 200% then Windows will do pixel doubling. Pixel doubling is just 200% scaling. When scaled to 200% then one pixel turns into 4 pixels and looks better than anything that isn't an integer multiple. Apple supports non pixel-doubling mode in their latest OS, too. They function pretty much the same in terms of scaling.

According to this page on MSDN, Microsoft recommends having images for 100%, 125%, 150%, and 200%.

Microsoft really needs to move over to vector art and allow users to freely scale the interface to their choosing (within reason) - by default it should scale according to physical size. Icons that currently change appearance dependent upon their size could be handled with transition points. Not only is such a change important for high-DPI displays but it's even an issue at the moment:

30" - 101 DPI - 2560x1600
27" - 109 DPI - 2560x1440
24" - 94 DPI - 1920x1200
22" - 90 DPI - 1680x1050

That means the Windows UI changes physical size depending on the display that you have, which is terribly inconsistent. By default Windows 8 uses 125% scale for my 30" display, which makes everything appear too large. Therefore I prefer to use 100% scale, which is a bit smaller than I would like. Using a custom scale looks terrible, as icons appear aliased and UI elements don't scale smoothly.

Apple has a huge advantage over Microsoft in that it controls the hardware as well as the software. Microsoft's only option is to implement a more flexible approach and vector art is the obvious way to achieve that. There was talk that Microsoft was working on this years ago - back when Vista was still in development - but unfortunately it was dropped. Now Microsoft has fallen behind. Metro is designed with alternative DPIs in mind but unfortunately it's not a replacement for desktop applications.


Why is changing physical size so bad? That's how it's always been, even on Mac OS.

#14 AJerman

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:39

I really don't see the issue with Windows. It's supported scaling fine since Vista, it's just the programs that have yet to support it. Most of Microsoft's programs support high DPI modes. Yes some of the built in management tools don't but I personally don't think that's a huge issue (though I do believe it should be fixed for the next version of Windows). Most people don't ever go into those nooks and crannies of the OS and they're still usable, even though they're a bit blurry if you don't scale to 200%.

My Windows system tray icons in Windows 7 and 8 look fine on 150% on my HTPC. What is the issue you are all having? Third party programs often have only standard DPI icons, but I hide everything other than network, volume, and battery anyways. All the built in windows programs in the start menu support high DPI and so does Microsoft Office and all the latest web browsers.




If you set it to 200% then Windows will do pixel doubling. Pixel doubling is just 200% scaling. When scaled to 200% then one pixel turns into 4 pixels and looks better than anything that isn't an integer multiple. Apple supports non pixel-doubling mode in their latest OS, too. They function pretty much the same in terms of scaling.



Why is changing physical size so bad? That's how it's always been, even on Mac OS.


I just changed the DPI on my work computer to verify that the same massively annoying bug still exists in Windows 7 DPI scaling. If you change your DPI, the superbar won't ever hide behind an app that's full screen. You have to change the superbar to autohide to get it to go away. This is incredibly annoying on an HTPC that frequently has full screen apps that you don't want to superbar hanging out on. This is more annoying than any of the blurry third party issues. Plus, regardless of who is to blame, there are so many inconsistencies when using high DPI mode in Windows that it's just hard to seriously use. They need to push third parties to update their apps with all these higher resolution screens coming out. It'll be impossible to use an HTPC on a 4k screen without DPI scaling.

#15 mrp04

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:42

I just changed the DPI on my work computer to verify that the same massively annoying bug still exists in Windows 7 DPI scaling. If you change your DPI, the superbar won't ever hide behind an app that's full screen. You have to change the superbar to autohide to get it to go away. This is incredibly annoying on an HTPC that frequently has full screen apps that you don't want to superbar hanging out on. This is more annoying than any of the blurry third party issues. Plus, regardless of who is to blame, there are so many inconsistencies when using high DPI mode in Windows that it's just hard to seriously use. They need to push third parties to update their apps with all these higher resolution screens coming out. It'll be impossible to use an HTPC on a 4k screen without DPI scaling.


Odd, it hides XBMC, WMC, VLC, and KMP just fine on my HTPC when full-screen. My HTPC is set to 150%. That's both on Windows 7 and on Windows 8 which I just upgraded to a month ago.

Maybe other people use some odd programs but any program I use with regularity seems to scale fine. This is with XP-style scaling deselected (gets deselected by default at 150%). A few programs don't advertise that they are DPI-aware but work fine with XP style scaling (so Vista+ will stretch). For these programs you can revert to XP style scaling individually in the programs compatibility settings.