How do I fix desktop app display issues?

If text and other items in a desktop app look too large or too small on Surface Pro, or if the app is unresponsive when you tap or click the screen, you may be having problems with display scaling. Display scaling effects the way content and controls in apps appear on the screen.

Applies to

Surface Pro.

Solution 1: Update Surface Pro from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Feature enhancements in Windows 8.1 improve how text and desktop apps scale with high resolution displays.
Updating from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 can fix many app display scaling problems. For more info, see Update to Windows 8.1 on Surface.

If you're already using Windows 8.1 and you're having display problems, see Get the best display on your monitor.

If updating to Windows 8.1 doesn’t help fix the problem, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Disable display scaling for the app

If you're not ready to update to Windows 8.1, you can disable display scaling for an individual desktop app in
Windows 8. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and click Search.)
Step 2:  In the search box, type the name of the app.
Step 3:  Select the app’s tile (swipe down on the tile or right-click on it), and tap or click Open file
to open File Explorer on the desktop.
Step 4:  In File Explorer, tap and hold (or right-click) the app’s executable (.exe) file and select Properties.
Step 5:  Select the Compatibility tab.
Step 6:  In the Settings section, select Disable display scaling on high DPI settings.
Step 7:  Tap or click OK.
Step 8:  Start the app.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Reduce display scaling for Windows

You can also try reducing the display scaling in Windows 8. Here’s how:

Changing this setting will apply to Windows and all apps on your Surface Pro.
Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Search.
Step 2:  In the search box, enter text.
Step 3:  In the search results, tap or click Settings, and choose Make text and other items larger.
Step 4:  Under the option Change size of all items, select Medium (125%).
Step 5:  Tap or click Apply.
Step 6:  Choose either Sign out now or Sign out later to apply the new setting.
Step 7:  Open the desktop app again to see if the display problem is fixed.

If this fix doesn’t work, repeat the above steps in Solution 3 and select Smaller (100%) in step 4.

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