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Windows High DPI (Retina)

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#16 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 22:46

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


Before getting my 30" (2560x1600) display I tried a 27" (2560x1440) display and found the Windows UI elements to be far too small, as I had previously been using a 24" (1920x1200) display. The DPI increase of 15% made everything look noticeably smaller but the 125% scale was too much and using it makes applications - especially Chrome - look very different (not in a positive way).

Displays have been increasing the DPI over the years and we're about to see massive jumps with 4K / 8K displays. Microsoft just hasn't done enough.


#17 mrp04

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 23:11

Before getting my 30" (2560x1600) display I tried a 27" (2560x1440) display and found the Windows UI elements to be far too small, as I had previously been using a 24" (1920x1200) display. The DPI increase of 15% made everything look noticeably smaller but the 125% scale was too much and using it makes applications - especially Chrome - look very different (not in a positive way).

Displays have been increasing the DPI over the years and we're about to see massive jumps with 4K / 8K displays. Microsoft just hasn't done enough.


Interesting. I barely notice the change from my 23" 1080p monitor to my 30" 2560x1600 monitor. How has Microsoft not done enough? Windows fully supports scaling. If 125% is too much set a custom scaling. You can change it by individual percentage points. They've been recommending all programs be DPI-aware since Vista came out.

#18 The_Decryptor

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 23:19

Micrsoft's own apps often don't support DPI scaling, and Windows 8 is the first OS where they're really pushing high DPI displays (for the metro side)

#19 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 23:35

Interesting. I barely notice the change from my 23" 1080p monitor to my 30" 2560x1600 monitor.


That's because that's a jump from 94 DPI to 101 DPI, rather than to 109 DPI. You should have noticed a difference but it wouldn't have been as pronounced as a 27" display.

How has Microsoft not done enough? Windows fully supports scaling. If 125% is too much set a custom scaling.


Because that scaling is pretty nasty. With Windows XP style disabled it's certainly better but a lot of applications will appear blurry - I couldn't put up with it for more than a few minutes. Whereas vector art scales without issue.

#20 Orry Verducci

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:04

The key issue on Windows is a lot of applications report to Win32 that they are "DPI Aware", meaning that they tell Windows they are capable of scaling their UIs depending on the DPI, even though they actually can't. It seems to be the default in most development environments (e.g. .Net WinForms, C++ MFC) which means a lot of applications are unintentionally developed with poor DPI support. If they don't report to Windows they are DPI aware, then the system scales the apps in a similar way to how Mac OS treats non-Retina apps.

It doesn't help that most developers work using the standard DPI, and therefore don't realise the issues. I myself have only started recently running my apps in a high DPI virtual machine as part of the testing process. This means a lot of the blame should really be placed in the developers hands (although as mentioned a lot of MS apps are just as guilty). The Win 8 UI was designed to solve this issue, which it does, just as mentioned it can't (yet) be customised.

#21 mrp04

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:07

That's because that's a jump from 94 DPI to 101 DPI, rather than to 109 DPI. You should have noticed a difference but it wouldn't have been as pronounced as a 27" display.



Because that scaling is pretty nasty. With Windows XP style disabled it's certainly better but a lot of applications will appear blurry - I couldn't put up with it for more than a few minutes. Whereas vector art scales without issue.


This is up to the developer to fix. You don't need vector art which is computationally expensive. If the program developer followed Microsoft guidelines the program would look good. They suggest to have bitmaps for 100%, 125%, 150%, and 200% which are then shrunk to fit sizes in between. Even if vector art was supported, I don't see why the developers who have still not fixed their programs will suddenly update them to support vector art

Programs that are designed to be DPI aware look great. The programs which aren't DPI-aware and when using Vista style scaling will look blurry because you're not increasing them in an integer multiple. There is nothing the OS can do to fix this issue. Take any screenshot with text and put it in an image editor and increase the size by anything other than integer multiples and it will look bad. If you have a really high resolution screen you can set it to 200% and it would look the same as when Mac OS pixel doubles older programs which aren't DPI-aware.

Here is a comparison between 100% and 125%. I think the 125% looks great. The only issue I notice is the Microsoft Word icon in the taskbar. But this is Office 2007, Office 2013 doesn't have this issue and I don't think 2010 does.

Edit: And here is a photo of Windows 8 at 125% on my laptop. Office 2013's icon looks fine. Only thing wrong with this screenshot is the Skype icon and the TPFanControl system tray icon. Skype really needs to fix that, but at least the program itself is DPI-aware.

#22 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:36

This is up to the developer to fix. You don't need vector art which is computationally expensive.


It's not just the developer, as not even Microsoft designed elements work properly when you use anything but a few preset scaling options. As for computing power, that's minimal - most elements remain static for the majority of the time they're on screen.

Edit: And here is a photo of Windows 8 at 125% on my laptop. Office 2013's icon looks fine. Only thing wrong with this screenshot is the Skype icon and the TPFanControl system tray icon. Skype really needs to fix that, but at least the program itself is DPI-aware.


That's exactly what I'm talking about. All the icons are warped - Chrome, Skype and even Paint (a Microsoft app!). And that's with one of the preset scaling options. With vector art you would be able to freely scale the interface and it wouldn't look terrible.

#23 mrp04

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:39

It's not just the developer, as not even Microsoft designed elements work properly when you use anything but a few preset scaling options. As for computing power, that's minimal - most elements remain static for the majority of the time they're on screen.



That's exactly what I'm talking about. All the icons are warped - Chrome, Skype and even Paint (a Microsoft app!). And that's with one of the preset scaling options. With vector art you would be able to freely scale the interface and it wouldn't look terrible.


Hmm I didn't notice paint. I guess it is a little distorted. Even so, it's still up to the developers to fix this issue. You can't even get them to support 4 presets, you think they will suddenly support vector graphics? If they supported these 4 presets then it should look fine. When I get home I will try some custom scaling options on my 30" monitor and post photos. I think those icons look bad because they're being scaled UP. Scaling down works a LOT better.

#24 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 00:58

Hmm I didn't notice paint. I guess it is a little distorted. Even so, it's still up to the developers to fix this issue. You can't even get them to support 4 presets, you think they will suddenly support vector graphics? If they supported these 4 presets then it should look fine.


The problem is that preset bitmaps don't have flexibility. What happens when the next resolution bump happens? Then developers will have to maintain 8 different presets. And what happens to all the resolutions that fall inbetween? Then you end up with UI elements that appear different sizes physically (as they appear on screen) or are badly scaled. The point is I can't scale the Windows interface to the size I feel is appropriate and the size I used to have on my previous display. It's far from the end of the world but it's something Microsoft simply hasn't addressed adequately.

#25 Aergan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:00

I can confirm that the superbar is drawn infront of XBMC in fullscreen mode at 150% on both Server 2012 and Windows 8 Pro x64.

#26 nekkidtruth

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:13

I thought I was the only one experiencing that stupid superbar issue (So I didn't bother to research it)! I'm so glad I'm not. Originally I thought there was something wrong with the machine and then I remembered I had changed the DPI settings. Changed them back and boom, no issue.

My HTPC is connected to a 40" TV. It's insane trying to read all sort of things. In a web browser it's simple to just zoom in/out, but in apps and the Windows GUI is nearly impossible to read sitting back on the couch.

#27 Aergan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:21

Oh, for some reason 150% causes a LogMeIn host machine to go ape**** when connecting to the remote console - eventually results in BSOD. I have dropped them an email as that's quite a fail.

#28 mrp04

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:28

I can confirm that the superbar is drawn infront of XBMC in fullscreen mode at 150% on both Server 2012 and Windows 8 Pro x64.


What else do you have installed? My install is very barebones and I do not have the 150% issue on Windows 8 Pro x64 or Windows 7 Pro x64

#29 Aergan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:32

What else do you have installed? My install is very barebones and I do not have the 150% issue on Windows 8 Pro x64 or Windows 7 Pro x64


I can replicate it on a new VM running Windows 8 x64 Enterprise, XMBC Frodo RC3, 150% in addition to my physical machines (I suspected it might have been an Nvidia related issue - it's not).

Switch from XMBC full screen to desktop, launch an explorer explorer then try to get back to XBMC. Resumes full screen with the bar drawn over the top.

OR

Run XMBC as the shell, launch explorer via advanced launcher or task manager.

#30 mrp04

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:05

I can replicate it on a new VM running Windows 8 x64 Enterprise, XMBC Frodo RC3, 150% in addition to my physical machines (I suspected it might have been an Nvidia related issue - it's not).

Switch from XMBC full screen to desktop, launch an explorer explorer then try to get back to XBMC. Resumes full screen with the bar drawn over the top.

OR

Run XMBC as the shell, launch explorer via advanced launcher or task manager.


Interesting. Mine is not doing that. I launched XBMC from Start, then opened an explorer window. Then went back to XBMC. The bar was not on top. I'm using 8, so maybe its fixed on 8.

Here are some screenshots comparing different scalings

125% Vista-Style

125% XP-Style

135% Vista-Style

150% Vista

150% Vista showing XBMC

150% XP showing XBMC

200% Vista

200% Vista

Scaling compatibility box

Notepad++ comparison of screenshot scaled to 200% and NP++ scaled by Windows to 200%

Pixel-doubling seems to work fine and the programs should look acceptable on a extremely high resolution display.

Yes there is room for improvements.