Microsoft talks high DPI scaling improvements coming in the Creators Update

There are quite a few bigger features coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update that have garnered much of the spotlight so far, but Microsoft has started highlighting some more under-the-hood improvements on the way as well. In a new blog post, Microsoft has outlined some of the improvements it is making to one of those smaller changes, high-DPI scaling.

Override High DPI Behavior

One major change is the addition of an option to force desktop apps to run as a DPI-unaware process. This comes in handy if you're trying to run a desktop app that doesn't render well on a high DPI display. The result is that, while the app may look blurry, it should be sized correctly. This option includes a total of three settings, each of which renders differently:

  • Application: This forces the process to run in per-monitor DPI awareness mode. This setting was previously referred to as "Disable display scaling on high-DPI settings." This setting effectively tells Windows not to bitmap stretch UI from the exe in question when the DPI changes
  • System: This is Windows' standard way of handling system-DPI aware processes. Windows will bitmap stretch the UI when the DPI changes
  • System (Enhanced): GDI Scaling

Internet Explorer is also picking up per-monitor DPI awareness with the Creators Update. Now, when you move IE to a display with a different DPI (or change the DPI of a display it's on), the window and its UI elements should scale correctly. Desktop icons will also see some love, with correct scaling when using a display in extended mode alongside another with different display scaling values.

Creators Update High DPI Icons

The changes Microsoft has in the pipeline for the Creators Update are an extension of work it already began with the release of last year's Anniversary Update. There's still work to be done, as a number of issues still remain. However, these changes should help to alleviate some particularly annoying display issues caused by current DPI scaling issues. And while these are the user-facing changes Microsoft is preparing for the update, it has a number of tweaks up its sleeve for developers to check out as well.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Does this mean that things will finally look normal when using Bootcamp? Some programs I've used have text that looks like it size 1 or so when it should be clearly readable. Most apps are at least usable though. P.S. I would have a Surface instead but I'm in high school and my school REQUIRES Macs for a ""unified experience" even though we barely ever use our laptops.
  • I have a dual screen setup where one of the screens is high DPI, and moving windows between them is a nightmare. Same with desktop icons and even the mouse cursor. As for the Mac, once drivers are installed you should be able to resize the desktop in settings, system, display.
  • Well... The problem in mac is, the retina display is 1600p, which should scaled 200% to act like the usual 800p (because using 100% scale makes everything look too damn small). But doing this, currently, makes a lot of apps rendered as pixelated UI. Some readable, some need more effort just to read the text. Gaming experiences also make it worse. When I use 200% scaling, the game (I use Tree of Savior as reference) consider the display as 800p and load 800p assets, and then the system scalling them to 200% which makes it blurry. If I go to settings and set the resolution as 1600p, the game load 1600p assets, but  since it still thought that the screen is 800p, it only show a quarter of content (the upper left part). I'm wondering whether this can fix that or not. :3
  • I hope that they finally fixed the office too. Word & excel are nightmare if you have different resolution screens..
  • Actually the new scaling option is to prevent apps from appearing blurry rather than make them scale with blur. It uses more aggressive tactics to take over rendering for some applications and make the text and shapes crisp rather than blurry in many cases. The existing functionality is "please scale maybe?" whereas the new one is "I WIL SCAEL U!!!!1".
  • I truly hope this means that I don't have to hear my photographer wife complaining about how miniscule the text appears in her photo lab's print ordering software on our Surface Studio for much longer!
  • Much needed on my 4K TV. VLC player controls are so tiny.
  • Even core tools like services, event viewer and all administration stuff are horrible in the Surface 3, fonts are really blurred and no chance to change dpi for those tools.
  • I'd also like to get some proper dark themes that also change File Explorer and app windows. I spend a lot of time in front of the screen and the white backgrounds are very straining.
  • It's a shame we only still see 1366 by 768 in most laptops except the high end
  • wow, so IE may not have really tiny menu elements anymore?
  • How can we change this on our pcs? The article doesn't mention how to do it