Windows 8.1 on retina MacBook Pro (DPI Scaling)

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by bem809, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. bem809 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2013
    I've read that one of the main features of the upcoming Windows 8.1 ("Blue") update is improved automatic DPI scaling for hi-res screens.

    Having suffered through the subpar DPI scaling for Windows 8, I'm curious to know if anyone's tried a leaked version of Windows 8.1 on a retina Macbook Pro.

    For those who have, is there an improvement with how the desktop looks? Is it on par with OS X in terms of how it scales with the high DPI on the retina Macbook Pro?
  2. theineffablebob macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2012
    I'm curious about this as well as the scaling forces me to deal with either very small text or blurriness.
  3. Livewings macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2012
    I heard there's an improvement too. I hope that is the case. Running Windows on the rMBP now is a nightmare.
  4. cclloyd macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2011
    Alpha Centauri A
    Has anyone tried the now released preview of 8.1 on a rMBP yet?
  5. locoboi187 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 3, 2012
    All I want is DPI Scaling on Windows 7. I hate 8.
  6. Livewings macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2012
    Hi, apps are now scaled exactly like Mac OS does it. If it is not retina-optimized, it will be "blur".
  7. Timo12 macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2013
    Could you explain what you mean by blur? I'm looking to buy a rMBP and mainly want to use windows on it for development. I want to know if 8.1 will improve the user experience on a retina resolution.
  8. Livewings macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2012
    Since Windows 8.1 just enabled hiDPI support, most third-party apps will look scaled since developers haven't enabled hiDPI yet. It's the same Mac OS situation when the rMBP's came out last year.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I understand but that's never going to happen - win 7 is all but dead, as MS is betting the farm on win 8.1.

    I may download the preview and throw it into a VM, though that will mean no scaling.
  10. mm201 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Have they fixed any more bugs with DPI virtualization? (fuzzy mode) On 7 and 8, there are bugs with mouse movement and control sizes in a few situations.

    PS. Microsoft needs to migrate all the built-in apps to WPF asap. Supporting C++CX in Desktop would help with this.
  11. Sven11 Suspended

    Sep 25, 2010
    I'm running 8.1 on my Retina MacBook Pro. The desktop UI works fine with 200% scaling, although it isn't as good as OS X. Scaling on the Modern UI doesn't work at all. Did Microsoft remove the "Make Everything on your screen bigger" setting from Windows 8? I can't find it.
  12. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    Just installed Windows 8.1 Preview. Retina scaling looks great without any changes... no problems at first glance.

    Best thing so far? The bootup logo is a cute fish. :>
  13. Sven11 Suspended

    Sep 25, 2010
    Windows 8.1 Modern UI doesn't scale on rMBP

    I'm running Windows 8.1 on my Retina MacBook Pro using Bootcamp. No scaling problem with the desktop UI, but the Modern UI doesn't scale at all and is very tiny. Did Microsoft remove the "Make Everything on your screen bigger" setting from Windows 8? I can't find it.
  14. Dragooon macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2013
    Windows 8.1 on MacBook Pro Retina

    I got a MacBook Pro Retina and am wondering if anyone has tried bootcamping Windows 8.1 on it and see how well it works? I'm mostly curious about the display scaling which is supposed to be much better in 8.1.
  15. Humex macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    We see that Windows 8.1 Preview provides improvements on HiDPI. Improved responsiveness and it is more stable than Windows 8.
    I expect the USB 3 drivers Intel for Windows 8 for better performance.
    Realtek drivers for audio are not compatible with Windows 8.1 but it works.
    The problem currently is that Windows does not have a lot of applications that support the HiDPI. Windows 8.1 should be a response to this problem. However, developers are in no hurry to update their applications.
    In fact, Apple should update BootCamp as the font are unclear.
  16. Flavour macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2013
    I'm not sure about 8.1 but I've managed to get Windows 8 looking pretty good for most programs. Just set windows to 150% scaling and if there's any program that looks blurry, simply disable DPI scaling for it (right click>Properties>Compatibility>check "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings").

    For the few programs where that option is greyed out, a simple registry hack gets the job done. Press Win+R, type in "regedit" navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers. You'll see all the programs you've already set to DPI aware with the Data value "~ HIGHDPIAWARE". Right click on the empty part of the right window and add a new string value. Copy in the programs address (eg. C:\Program Files\whatever.exe) and then modify the data value to "~ HIGHDPIAWARE". A little short cut for this is to set the program to "Run this program as an administrator" in the same compatibility tab used for other programs, then find the program in the same directory in regedit and change the Data value from "~ RUNASADMIN" to "~ HIGHDPIAWARE". Saves you typing out all the program addresses.

    Those who don't want to go to 8 from 7, just get StartIsBack. You'll never have to even look at the Start Screen if you don't want to. You'll get the free month trial and it after that, you'll be willing to pay $3 for it. I guarantee it.
  17. Humex macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    Boot Camp needs an update because the font are still blurry on "Windows 8.1". The scaling is correct in 200% DPI.

    Attached Files:

    • boot.PNG
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    • tra.PNG
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  18. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    Windows 7 has a few more years of mainstream support remaining, so it is far from "dead." (1/13/15) and extended support to 1/14/20. Microsoft has been known to release additional futures during the mainstream phase.
  19. mm201 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Windows 7 supports DPI scaling. What it doesn't support is per-monitor DPI. If you don't use an external, Win7 is fine and the same as 8.1 on the rMBP.
  20. MacReloaded macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2007
  21. ntsarb macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2014
    I just tried per-monitor DPI scaling in Windows 8.1 on rMBP 2013 (latest) with an LG L246WH external monitor (1920x1200 pixels, 24 inch) and it simply doesn't work. The OS fails to use a 100% (native) scaling factor on the external monitor. resulting into blurred text. Even worse, the task bar and the context menus (when right-clicking) on the Desktop are huge. It looks like the OS is using on the external monitor the same DPI scaling that is used for the retina display, hence no per-monitor DPI scaling here (I've not configured it to use the same DPI scaling on all monitors).

    I also tried the same monitor with Mac OS X Mavericks. The DPI scaling factor is correct but the text is blurred.

    It was the first time I got a MacBook Pro and I've been very disappointed so far. I hope Apple and Microsoft fix the issues I've so far identified and reported to their support departments.
  22. whiteonline macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2011
    California, USA
    Are you connecting via HDMI? If so, you may want to check the monitor settings menu. I recall on one of my monitors, the default setting for HDMI was some sort of TV compatible mode. Set it to PC and looked great.
  23. mm201 macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Mac OS X always uses 96DPI (technically 72 but that's a whole other story) for external monitors. This works great for the common case of a loDPI external but breaks hiDPI/medium-sized UHD monitors which you want to be scaled.

    Windows 8.1 tries to use the monitor EDID to choose an appropriate scale. This sometimes doesn't work and sadly they don't let you manually pick a scale for each monitor. (This is disappointing since Microsoft usually does very well for providing tons of tweakable settings.)

    8.1's per-monitor-DPI is also buggier than I had previously hoped and none of the built-in apps even support it correctly. I mean come on, Microsoft! How do you expect third-parties to adopt your APIs when you yourselves don't even use them?

    ntsarb: Have you installed your video drivers? Per-monitor-DPI depends on the desktop compositor which only works if video drivers are installed.
  24. ntsarb macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2014
    Yes, it's an HDMI connection and it's a proper monitor, it supports the resolutions typically supported by PCs.


    Yes, you are right that Windows 8.1 per-monitor-DPI is buggy.

    I suppose by "video drivers" you mean the driver (INF file) for the particular monitor. Yes, I installed that, too. The actual video driver (for the GPU, which is integrated with the intel CPU) comes with BootCamp drivers.

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