How do I fix desktop app display issues?

Use these solutions if text and other items in a desktop app look too large or too small on your Surface or if the app is unresponsive when you click or tap the screen.

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface Book, Surface Book with Performance Base, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Operating system:

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.

Note
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 upper-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
location
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:

Note
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.


Solution 1: Before you begin, get the latest updates

In many cases, downloading and installing the latest updates for Windows and your Surface will fix the issue. To see how, go to Install Surface and Windows updates.

Solution 2: Run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

This will help find and fix common compatibility problems. See Make older programs compatible with this version of Windows to learn more.

After you run the troubleshooter, you might need to sign out and then back in to see changes in some apps.

Solution 3: Change your main display

If you have more than one monitor connected, some desktop apps might scale better if you change your main display. Older desktop apps use the main display to determine scaling.

Note

Changing this setting will apply to Windows and all apps on your Surface.

Step 1:

Select the Start Windows logo button and then select Settings > System > Display.

Step 2: Select the monitor you want to use, select Make this my main display and then select Apply.

You might not see scaling changes in some apps until the next time you sign in to your Surface.

Solution 4: Check with the app’s publisher

Check with the app’s publisher to make sure you’re running the latest version of the app and find out about any known scaling issues or app settings you can change.

Step 1:

Go to Settings to see a list of the apps you have installed. To learn how, see Repair or remove programs.

Step 2: In the list of installed programs, select the name of the app, and then look for the publisher’s name. Then, contact the publisher for more help.

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