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I have a specialist app that is developed to run on high resolution systems (e.g. 1920x1080) running Windows XP. All is good until I want to demo the app to someone on my laptop screen (1280x800).

What I would like to be able to do is emulate a monitor within a window so that the application thinks it is running in an 1920x1080 environment. I would then want the monitor-in-a-window to scale down the application to the window size. I fully expect that my application will still be usable when scaled, so that should not be an issue.

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I think Thiago nailed it. Short of carrying around a 1080p monitor (I have a 23" Acer x233H and it is awesome) a virtual machine is your best bet, but your going to need a powerful laptop to run this kind of setup. –  Will Gunn May 27 '11 at 17:23

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can create a Virtual Machine and set a higher resolution in there and then test your app.

Here is another superuser question on creating Virtual Machines:

How to create virtual machine environments?

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If you were to use VirtualBox, to set the resolution, @JonCage VBoxManage setextradata global GUI/MaxGuestResolution any while the machine is off followed by VBoxManage controlvm "VM Name" setvideomodehint x_res y_res 32 when the machine is on should work. You need to have the Guest Additions installed, and may need to disable Aero in the guest to get the scrollbars to appear (select the basic theme). The first step should not be necessary, but it was for me. –  Bob Jul 3 '12 at 10:05
    
Note: You may also have to increase the video memory if you (like me) had the minimum set. Make sure you've got 'Auto-resize Guest display unchecked if you want to be able to scroll around. –  Jon Cage Jul 3 '12 at 13:07

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