Here's the situation:

  1. Open a fullscreen game that has a small resolution (old games for example, or even more recent games made in certain engines like rpgmaker).
  2. All open programs get shrunk to that resolution every time, and desktop icons also get jumbled up trying to fit into the small window area.
  3. Even after you close the game, everything stays shrunk and you have to resize everything manually.

Is there any program/Windows setting/workaround that can prevent, fix, or eliminate this problem?

Details for clarification:

This has happened to me three times in the last three days alone, for three separate games.

For example, I just ran a rpgmaker game for the first time in a long time and all Firefox windows, Windows explorer folders, and every other open program got shrunk to 480x600 in the upper left corner of the screen (except Steam for some unknown reason turns out Steam just shrunk to it's smallest window size, which is larger than 480x600). Even things that were minimized to the taskbar were shrunk to 480x600.

As you can imagine this is a big headache, and closing every single program and explorer window that is open every single time I want to use certain games (as a very dumb way to prevent window sizes getting messed up) is not a viable option.

Playing in not fullscreen isn't a viable option either. Games are just too small and so much less immersive when in a tiny window.

I have found a program to automatically revert the deskop icons after something like this happens (DesktopOK) but I've been unable to rectify the window sizes getting messed up.

I do hope there's some kind of a fix for low res window resizing. I can't be the only person plagued by this sort of thing.

Ideas I had that I don't know if they would work:
1. Making a shortcut that automatically opens a game in a new virtual desktop. Nope, turns out opening a low res game in a virtual desktop still results in all open programs/windows getting shrunk in the non-virtual desktop. Although oddly that does not rearrange the desktop icons.

I'm surprised the resolution of something in a virtual desktop would resize everything in a separate desktop. I would have thought they would be independent of each other in that regard.

Ideal solution:
A program that can detect screen resolution changes, and automatically restore everything to the way it was (size and position) once the low res program closes.
Or even better, it can also detect when you alt tab out of the low res program and restore everything to normal. So that you can switch back and forth seamlessly if you need to check something while the game is still running.

Edit: A possible close-to-ideal solution:
A way to "lock" windows sizes for all open programs so they don't get auto shrunk from small resolution games. That would still require re-positioning things but would still be so much better than manually resizing everything.

Slightly off topic, but did some earlier versions of Windows not have this problem when running smaller-than-native-resolution games in fullscreen? I swear I remember explorer windows and open programs being the size they originally were when closing a low res game in... XP maybe?

  • I found a similar question except it was specifically about how to fix this sort of problem with a multi monitor setup, which I don't have so the solutions don't help. gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/170795/… That did get some answers however. Should I have asked this in the gaming section instead (where that question was asked)? – Maru Mari Jul 16 '16 at 20:45
  • Have you tried opening up a more recent steam game and closing it? I'm having the same problem, but I haven't tried it yet. – user653347 Oct 17 '16 at 13:41
  • Why won't this question get any attention? – hkBattousai May 6 '18 at 22:20
  • I have the same problem. Windows did not have this problem before. – David Pritchard Aug 19 '18 at 16:20
  • I've been playing games on Windows since the mid-90s and I don't remember ever not having this effect. I couldn't vouch for Windows 95/98/Me anymore – it's been a while – but XP and later definitely had it. In Windows 10 (b1909) it seems particularly haphazard, though. If, for how many and which applications it happens seems to be based on rolling dice. I've noticed that more applications get affected the longer you stay in low resolution. Just quickly switching back and forth is enough to resize some applications like Acrobat. Others gradually start resizing over time. – Daniel Saner May 22 '20 at 18:24

I use a slightly modified version of this script: https://autohotkey.com/board/topic/112113-dockwin-storerecall-window-positions/

Here: https://pastebin.com/0MuUi5cQ - added ID support so if the window's name has changed since the last save (like switch to another tab in Chrome) it can fall back to id

You can save the windows' size and position before playing and restore it after playing or even if you ALT-TAB out from the game with a hotkey. The best would be if it was automatic, but still it saves you from resizing windows everytime after playing.


I know this is a pretty old thread, but I think I might have a definitive solution. I had this same exact problem for months and it drove me crazy. It sounds like a minor issue, but it's extremely irritating. Anyways, I was looking around in the Windows 10 settings and found a feature that seems to be the culprit. If you go to Settings -> System -> Display -> Advanced Scaling Settings you will find a setting called "Let Windows try to fix apps so they're not blurry." This was on by default for me so I turned it off and that seems to have completely fixed the problem. This is on Windows 10 build 19042.685.

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