Windows 8.1 may get promised automatic desktop display scaling

During the Reddit AMA session with Microsoft's Surface team in February, one person asked about the high resolution display for the tablet, which has to be scaled to 150 percent for the desktop UI. One person wanted to keep this percentage on the Surface Pro but also use scaling at 100 percent on an external display, however currently Windows 8 does not allow this to happen. The Surface team stated, "The Windows team is aggressively working on this feature to fix this for all high resolution Windows devices. We don’t have a date yet to share, so sorry."

Now an article on WinSuperSite states that the leaked builds of Windows 8.1 that have popped up on the Internet in the past few weeks shows that the OS update will in fact support automatically setting the desktop display, including the display scaling feature. In addition, as you can see in the screenshot above from the leaked 9385 build, Windows 8.1 will have a slider that will make texts and other items on the desktop larger or smaller.

Hooking up a second 27 inch monitor to the Windows 8.1 PC also seemed to show that users will be able to control the display settings of each monitor separately, although it appears that support is not 100 percent in this beta build. We will likely learn more when Microsoft holds its BUILD 2013 conference in June.

Source: WinSuperSite | Image via WinSuperSite

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about time, my projector only supports 1280 x 720 but desktop monitor is at 1680 x 1050, when playing games i have to downscale them on main monitor on the "duplicate display" mode so i can play on projector / monitor at the same time. or i can unplug the monitor. Its a right pain in the ass would be much more easy if i could just "scale" the resolution down in clone mode so have 2 different monitors with 2 different resolutions running in clone mode.

The only way i know to do this so far is ultramon but thats far from perfect. Hope to see this in 8.1

I wouldn't mind a shortcut like WIN-CTRL+, WIN-CTRL-, WIN-CTRL-0 to perform individual app window scaling.

This still won't solve the primary problem which is apps built on legacy frameworks that don't properly support DPI scaling and don't have the assets (icons etc) for it either.

I do really wish they made the feature instant (or similar to a resolution change) so you could find the best setting for your display without constant logging out and logging back in. The control panels for changing DPI scaling settings are also really awful.

If they can fix the problem with IE and other apps which were displayed on the second screen getting moved to the primary screen, even though their icons are on the taskbar for the second screen, when the computer is locked and another user uses the computer...
... I'll be happy.

I really hope they do indeed add the ability to set a different scale for each display in Windows 8.1. I'm currently using Windows 8 on a 15" rMBP (2880x1800) plus an additional 27" screen (2560x1440) and it's a painful experience due to this missing feature.

Edited by ZakO, May 7 2013, 2:06am :

Still pitching Windows-8 for tablets. Yawn. Very little to nothing there for laptops or desktops, or else Microsoft would have shown Windows-8 on those machines a long time ago. Just look at the ads and commercials--just tablets being used in play-like situations.

TsarNikky said,
Still pitching Windows-8 for tablets. Yawn. Very little to nothing there for laptops or desktops, or else Microsoft would have shown Windows-8 on those machines a long time ago. Just look at the ads and commercials--just tablets being used in play-like situations.

#facepalm. Not like I'm currently using Windows 8 on my desktop. Nope, just ignore me...

I've also found that in the latest leaked build you can now scale desktop items/text larger. In Win 7 and 8 you can only scale to 150%. But in 8.1 you can scale up to 200%, which would be good for very high res tablets (2560x1600) and kind of implies we'll be seeing these high res devices...

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
I've also found that in the latest leaked build you can now scale desktop items/text larger. In Win 7 and 8 you can only scale to 150%. But in 8.1 you can scale up to 200%, which would be good for very high res tablets (2560x1600) and kind of implies we'll be seeing these high res devices...

You could always do that by setting the percentage value by hand. But at 200% icons and even the mouse cursor starts looking all jagged, because simply doubling the vertical and horizontal pixels was apparently way too complicated, at Microsoft.

francescob said,

You could always do that by setting the percentage value by hand. But at 200% icons and even the mouse cursor starts looking all jagged, because simply doubling the vertical and horizontal pixels was apparently way too complicated, at Microsoft.

I forgot about that!

And nothing is jagged/pixelated in Win 8 or 8.1. I don't know about Win 7 because i never used the feature on that (although it shouldn't happen because it's all vector based graphics. Same with Vista which first introduced vectors for scaling purposes) but everything scales perfectly on 8.1, apart from some 3rd party software that doesn't properly support Windows features.

Heres 8.1 scaling at 200%: https://lh6.googleusercontent....-Yvg/w1548-h871/scaling.jpg

Edited by W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E, May 7 2013, 1:52am :

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

I forgot about that!

And nothing is jagged/pixelated in Win 8 or 8.1. I don't know about Win 7 because i never used the feature on that (although it shouldn't happen because it's all vector based graphics. Same with Vista which first introduced vectors for scaling purposes) but everything scales perfectly on 8/8.1, apart from some 3rd party software that doesn't properly support Windows features.


Nothin is jagged at 200% DPI? I'm pretty sure that when I tried with win8 the issue was still there.

francescob said,

Nothin is jagged at 200% DPI? I'm pretty sure that when I tried with win8 the issue was still there.

See link in post above (edited). And i just tried 200% scaling on 8... most stuff and icons are fine, but the cursor is ****ed like you say. In 8.1 this is fixed.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

See link in post above (edited). And i just tried 200% scaling on 8... most stuff and icons are fine, but the cursor is ****ed like you say. In 8.1 this is fixed.


Hooray! My corneas are finally safe!

Nice. Hopefully this will fix some of the display issues I've experienced. So far that's the most frustrating thing I've run into...

Now if only those lazy Adobe devs would fix their damn Acrobat 11 print dialog so that it stops overflowing out of screen on any "HD ready" display (1280x800/1366x768) where scaling is enabled...

francescob said,
Now if only those lazy Adobe devs would fix their damn Acrobat 11 print dialog so that it stops overflowing out of screen on any "HD ready" display (1280x800/1366x768) where scaling is enabled...

This is why we need metro

FalseAgent said,

This is why we need metro

What does that have to do with Metro? If Microsoft had done this right in the first place, it would be fine.

Of course high-res displays aren't that common... /s

FalseAgent said,

This is why we need metro

The same Metro that doesn't have any idea of DPI or even abide by ease of use options?

Take Microsoft's own Skype, change your DPI as much as you wont. That font size isn't going to change by itself. You have to go.. oh never mind, you're stuck on size 12pt (or what ever it is).

sagum said,

The same Metro that doesn't have any idea of DPI or even abide by ease of use options?

Take Microsoft's own Skype, change your DPI as much as you wont. That font size isn't going to change by itself. You have to go.. oh never mind, you're stuck on size 12pt (or what ever it is).


There's a setting hidden in the accessibility options to enable DPI scaling on metro apps but it sucks. a lot.

sagum said,

The same Metro that doesn't have any idea of DPI or even abide by ease of use options?

Take Microsoft's own Skype, change your DPI as much as you wont. That font size isn't going to change by itself. You have to go.. oh never mind, you're stuck on size 12pt (or what ever it is).


uh....you talking about Skype on the desktop or on Windows 8's Metro? The Metro client does scale, in fact Metro scales on a whole very well.

Skype on the desktop doesn't seem to respect the desktop scaling though. The Skype desktop client was developed before Microsoft acquired Skype, so I wouldn't say it's "Microsoft's own Skype"

And this is where the desktop really is starting to show it's age. It doesn't do well on next-gen computing devices.

FalseAgent said,

uh....you talking about Skype on the desktop or on Windows 8's Metro?

I'm talking about Metro Skype.

For their next gen platform, on were you can't change the font size seems a bit strange. It wouldn't be too bad if it scaled, but it doesn't. So you can be stuck with tiny letters on a massive monitor and or tiny letters on a high res small monitor. Not good. Even worse is when you're half blind already and turn on the 'make everything on your screen bigger' option in the metro pc settings under ease of access and that just makes things seem worse.

Microsoft really hasn't thought this through and as Bill said, they just needed the market share on the tablets.

I have stopped using metro apps a few weeks back, I really like windows 8 and gave it a good go from the start, but the little things like that kept biting at me and now I'm sore and annoyed. I'm hoping 8.1 fixes a lot of the issues metro has created for the desktop user in general.

Modern apps do scale to different screens automatically there is no user setting for that. They can run at 100%, 140% and 180% it is rumored that 8.1 will add another scaling.
Developers need to test their apps on all different scaling levels. Take a look at the Surface RT vs. the Surface Pro: elements appear at the same physical size despite the different resolutions.

What need's to be added is a simple font size setting to the Skye app. I agree.

FalseAgent said,
And this is where the desktop really is starting to show it's age. It doesn't do well on next-gen computing devices.

Sorry but what is that supposed to mean exactly? Just because of some poorly written app(s) you're blaming the whole Windows desktop?

Obry said,

Sorry but what is that supposed to mean exactly? Just because of some poorly written app(s) you're blaming the whole Windows desktop?


it's not just "some poorly written apps", it's the entire utility of the desktop and it's features. Developers don't give a sh*t about them, and those that do a few and in between.