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Window 10 4k laptop scaling issues with external monitors

Posted on 2016-08-17
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
I switched from mac last week to windows 10. I got a nearly fully loaded Lenovo p50. When I plug in external monitors, specifically 2 dell ultrashrap 24 inch ones@1920x1080(I don’t remember the exact model), I have to log out or sometimes even reboot when I connect to the monitors or disconnect them or the scaling of apps does not change? How do I fix this? Having to log out and back in constantly is a deal breaker for me because I will do this 5-8 times a day. I don’t mind even setting my laptops screen to 1920x1080 if that would fix it but it still has to be scaled to 125% otherwise things are just too small. Plus when I switch from laptop to external monitors my windows sizes and locations don’t hold even when I changed the resolution to match the external monitors. Someone please tell me how to fix this. Right now im really regretting my lateral move to Windows.
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Question by:jessbruffett
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 1336 total points
ID: 41760150
There is no good fix, unfortunately.  There are workarounds...

1) Use Universal Apps whenever possible. They properly scale.
2) Upgrade to the Anniversary Update if you haven't already. That handles legacy applications better.
3) Make sure your software is up to date. Microsoft has exposed APIs to handle scaling, but application vendors have to support them.

Or Buy 4k external monitors.

It is imperfect at best, and has a lot to do with Microsoft's attempt to balance supporting new technology while maintaining backwards compatibility (it is easy to support high DPI displays if you don't mind breaking every win32 app out there!) ....and that is something Apple hasn't really had to do recently. They went through their application breakage when they abandoned PowerPC a few years back. Every major company eventually faces choices like this.
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41760170
Ive updated to anniversary edition, that was the first thing i did after installing anti-virus. I only switched because i needed a laptop with more horsepower than Apple makes and will make probably because of their philosophy on size/weight/cooling. the majority of my work is spent in ssh, terminal or in VM's such as Kali (for the infosec requirements of my job). I know virtualbox is a big culprit but in the next couple weeks ill be buying vmware workstation and 1 password is another thats effected by the scaling. all apps are effected by the inability for them to retain their size and screen location.
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Cliff Galiher earned 1336 total points
ID: 41760181
Microsoft actually recently published a blog about these challenges and the work they are doing to *try* and address it (keeping in mind a lot of it will require vendor cooperation)

It may be cold comfort, but it does illustrate that the issue isn't being ignored and helps shed some light on the challenge of not breaking older apps either...an interesting read.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/askcore/2016/08/16/display-scaling-changes-for-the-windows-10-anniversary-update/
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 664 total points
ID: 41760946
Microsoft has tried pretty much in vain to get developers to use WPF instead of Winforms.  Is there a reason why you don't use the native hyper-v?
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by:jessbruffett
ID: 41761373
Everything i have been told about hyper-v is that kali linux will have sever network issues with some of the apps i use regularly to the point of not functioning as i need them to. i spend about half my job doing cyber security and i spend 1/3 to half of that time in kali. if it will run kali as well as vmware will then ill gladly use hyper-v.
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