How to Fix App Scalling on High DPI Screens

If you have a new PC with a high-resolution display, like 4k, you probably have seen something like this.

An App opens and you barely can see the icons or read the menu. This is a problem with the High DPI screens. When the app opens, windows asks the app if it’s High DPI aware. The app probably replies with yes and in fact the app is not High DPI aware and you will end up with a screen like above. Especially photographers and creative people know that problem very well with Adobe Software. I have seen pictures of people trying to use Adobe Bridge and you couldn’t even read the menu.

Here a small step by step guide to fix this issue. Huge thanks to Dan Antonielli who wrote a guide which helped to fix my issues. This is my own step by step guide combined with the resources provided by Dan.

Prerequisites

You need to meet the following conditions for an optimum success

  1. Administrator Privileges
  2. Set to show file extensions in Windows

To show file extensions is very easy in Windows 10. Click the view tab and check “File name extension” box.

In previous Windows versions, you need to go to Folder Options, go to view and then uncheck the box as in the picture shown below.


Fixing the Issue

  1. Open your Registry Editor by pressing Windows Button + R, then type “regedit” and click Ok.
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > SideBySide
  3. Right Click, new DWORD (32-bit) value
  4. Type PreferExternalManifest and press Enter
  5. Double-Click PreferExternalManifest and set Value Data 1 and choose Decimal
  6. Click OK and exit the Registry Editor

    Your new entry should look like this now

  7. Download this manifest.txt file
  8. Navigate to the software you have issues with and locate the .exe file. In my case, it was LG VPinput.
  9. Rename the manifest.txt file according to your program and follow this pattern: Program Name.exe.manifest. In my case, it was LG VPInput.exe.manifest
  10. Make sure the names of the manifest file matches a 100% the one of the software you try to fix. I recommend you to copy-paste the program name (including “.exe”) and add rename the previously downloaded manifest file. 

This is basically it. Now instead of a super tiny window, I have a window which I can actually read. See the example below.

Below another comparison of before and after. Huge difference. Both of the pictures were a 1:1 screenshot and nothing else was changed.

Before and after the fix

 

FAQ

Follow the guide and make sure you did exactly as mentioned. If you have issues or questions regarding this fix, post it in the comments. It works without any issue on my Windows 10 Laptop.

To make life easier, a short video from Dan:

To save time, you can just execute a file, which will add all the necessary stuff to your Windows Registry. Go to Dan’s post about this issue and download the reg file at the very end of the post. Right below Video Example.

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