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Display scaling improvements come with Windows 10 Build 10074!

For those of you out there with a Surface Pro 3 connected to an external monitor, you know the pain of display scaling.  This typically caused a phenomenon where windows were sized normally on your Surface Pro 3 display while being massive on your external monitor.  Most users I have talked to found this absolutely frustrating.  The only real solution was to purchase an external monitor with an equally high DPI.  This meant purchasing a high dollar 4k monitor.  While those displays are nice, most people have plenty of good LCD displays in the 20” – 30” range which are working perfectly fine right now.

With Build 10074 of Windows 10 Insider Preview, some of this pain goes away.  That’s because of the new ability to set the DPI scaling to an independent setting for each connected display in the new Settings app.  Now, I can set the display scaling to 150% on my Surface Pro 3 display but have my external monitors set to 100%.  Windows is smart and even auto detects the right settings for each. 

Let’s take a look at this new setting.  The setting Chagne the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 150% (Recommended) on my Surface Pro 3 display.

W10B10074DisplayScalingSurfacePro3

On my external monitor running a resolution of 1920x1080, the setting is set to 100%.

W10B10074DisplayScalingExternalMonitor

This is great, but how does it perform?  I found that this fixed the issue in a lot of programs including some of the Office suite.  Let’s look at some examples.

File Explorer on the Surface Pro 3 display:

W10B10074FileExplorerSurfacePro3

File explorer on an external display:

W10B10074FileExplorerExternalDisplay

Notice they are the same relative size!  You’ll actually see windows resize it as you move them as well.

Word 2016 Preview does pretty well too.  Here it is on the Surface Pro 3 display:

W10B10074FileExplorerExternalDisplay

Word 2016 on the external display:

W10B10074DisplayScalingExternalDisplay

File Upload dialogs used to be massive on external displays.  Now they are regular-sized.

W10B10074UploadDialog

Some programs handled this better than others.  However, PowerPoint and Skype for Business (aka Lync) still have issues.  A typical chat still takes up more a large part of the screen.  Notice the difference in ribbon sizes between Word and PowerPoint.

W10B10074PowerPoint

The new Microsoft Edge browser (still referred to as Project Spartan in this build) also has some issues as well.  For example, when you launch it on the Surface Pro 3 display, it will set the zoom level to 150%.  However, when you drag it to another monitor, it doesn’t adjust the zoom level automatically.

There has also been some improvements in other Windows Universal apps so that they scale better on external monitors.  It isn’t perfect yet either but the snapping has definitely improved.

Surface Pro 3 users have been crying out for improvements here and it’s nice to see that they are in the works.  I hope to see additional improvements as we see new builds.

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More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is an independent consultant specializing in Cloud technologies such as Azure and Office 365. He also specializes in mobile development. Corey serves as the product manager for two cloud-first mobile app platforms: BrewZap and HappenZap.