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I would like to set my monitor's scale under 100%, but Win10 only lets me set it to 100% or higher. Why won't Windows let me do that? Is there any workaround to do that? I am aware of the fact that scaling below 100% will result in merged pixels.

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4 Answers 4

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You must use a registry hack to get scaling values below 100%:

Open the Registry, navigate to HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop, and double-click on LogPixels to edit. If there is no LogPixels, create a new DWORD value and name it LogPixels.

Make sure the Base is set to Decimal.

The default value is 96, as in 96 dots-per-inch, which is "100% scaling". Values lower than that will be sub-100% scaling values.

Next, in that same Key, find Win8DpiScaling. It it doesn't exist, make another DWORD value and name it Win8DpiScaling. Then edit it as follows:

If the value of LogPixels is 96, then Win8DpiScaling should be 0. If the value of LogPixels is anything besides 96, the Win8DpiScaling value should be 1.

More information: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/5990-change-dpi-scaling-level-displays-windows-10-a.html

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  • 8
    Thanks for the answer, sadly it doesn't seem to work anymore? I tried it several times but nothing has changed
    – Alice Wood
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:22
  • Do you mean 0x96, or decimal 96? May 4, 2020 at 21:08
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    Looks like this does not work in Windows 10. It's supposed to work just by logging out and then back in, but I also tried a reboot. @TrippKinetics: it's decimal 96, as noted by “Make sure the Base is set to Decimal.”
    – Adam Katz
    Apr 8, 2021 at 22:14
  • 1
    Quick common values: 76 = 81.25%; 72 = 75%; 48 = 50%; 64 = 66⅔% Jun 28, 2022 at 17:44
  • 2
    2022 update for Windows 10: stackoverflow.com/questions/69347409/… Jul 19, 2022 at 2:55
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It is possible with NVidia CPUs.

  1. Launch the Nvidia Control Panel
  2. Navigate to the 3D Settings
  3. Locate "DSR-factors"
  4. Select 4.00x
  5. At the next setting ("DSR smoothing"), select 10%
  6. Click "Apply" at the bottom of the Window
  7. All screens turn black. Be patient.

As screenshot (sorry 4 German):

German Screenshot NVIDIA Control Panel

  1. Open your display settings
  2. Select the screen to modify
  3. Select a higher resolution
    2400x3840 selected
  4. Above, set the scaling to 150%
  5. Apply the setting

As screenshot:

Display Settings

Here, it works fine with a Fujitsu P2410 WS, which has a 1920x1200. I am running it in a vertical mode (and have my OneNote opened there).

Be aware that the text is not as sharp as before.

Hint initially found at reddit

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The tl;dr:

Technical limitations aside, there are very solid user experience reasons why this probably isn't allowed.

No, Windows (10 or later) will not let you set UI scaling below 100%.
(even if a stable workaround were to be discovered, most users would probably be quite unhappy with the results)

While I would love¹ to be proven incorrect, the implications of scaling at less than 100% are so fraught that this limitation is unlikely to change in the near future.


Note: this answer was cross-posted from another site, since the question there has since been ‘closed’.

Original source: How to set DPI scale to less than 100% on Windows 10 - With multiple displays

Update in 2024: According to other answers, using certain GPU software or other hacks may work in limited circumstances. (Hardware HDMI scalers could also be a possible workaround to emulate a high-resolution display.)


Background:

This has been the case for ages, likely since Windows first introduced the feature.

Compatibility with current software

The only ~purely technical~ reason I can think of:

  • The 100% scaling size likely uses the smallest base image (e.g. Explorer and Taskbar icons, mouse and text cursors) resources included in various existing Microsoft and 3rd-party applications.
User experience

Going below the 100% point may cause small UI text and icons, especially in application toolbars and the Taskbar to be blurred to the point of ambiguity.

  • Those fine lines in the taskbar 'Windows' menu icon? Blurred or gone.

Taken to the extreme, the UI ~might~ become so unreadable that the user is effectively prevented from being able to read the text even in the 'Settings' window and therefore is 'stuck': i.e. not able to navigate through 'Settings' to restore the original '100%' scaling mode.

  • (Luckily, Windows is never used to run any SCADA software where confusing two icons could theoretically cost money or lives.)
Performance:

Since those carefully-designed graphic assets don't exist, if sub-100% scaling were allowed, it would also likely cause extra CPU/GPU workload - that is why only certain fixed sizes of up-sampling are shown on the normal Display settings screen and why the Advanced scaling settings screen warns that custom scaling between 100-500% is "not recommended".

  • That might also apply to any fixed scaling option offered below 100%, and absolutely would for custom scaling sizes.
Some people enjoy reading:

Vector-based TrueType/OpenType fonts usually contain a ~lot~ of manual tweaking / hints to enable readable display of very small point sizes.

The marketing department & friends of the C-suite

Could they implement this at a limited range of options? 90%? 75%?

Perhaps - but it's extra testing for a horrible-looking edge case.

  • The existence of the option, even if only available as a registry hack, might cause some people to actually use it in kiosks and other public-facing displays; this risks the same sort of bad PR as when a BSOD is seen on the 'arrivals' screen at a train station or airport monitor.

Combined with the first example below, even a 90% option could cause trouble in some environments.


Example and tutorial:

  1. Imagine how Windows might look displayed on one of those cheapo '1080p-supported' projectors that actually only contains an imager with a native pixel resolution of, say, 1024x576 (or even 480x234).

    • Windows thinks it can send 1080p, since that what the HDMI connection advertises, so it does: any text / vector content looks atrocious.
    • (At least in this case the user could normally² unplug the projector and reconnect to a normal monitor to restore functionality.)
  2. See for yourself... while connected to any monitor (at that monitor's native resolution), with Windows set to 100% scaling:

    1. Open Windows Notepad
    2. Type or paste in any block of text
    3. Now, use the Zoom Out command from the View menu³ five or more times in a row
    • While not an exact analogue, you may still see how hard it could be to read down-sampled text, even when very high-contrast (the best-case scenario).

   ¹: As someone currently typing this very answer on a 1080p connection to a 55" 4K television as a second monitor, I came across the question very much hoping this was possible. Sadly, logic intervened and killed my potential joy.
   ²: Unless the computer is actually stored somewhere locked or inaccessible, such as a NUC-style PC hidden above the false ceiling in a conference room.
   ³: Alternatively, press <CTRL>-<Minus> five or more times.

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Unfortunately in Windows 10 there is no way to set lower DPI than 100%. Only way to make things smaller is setting resolution above default (or buying larger monitor). Sometimes it may mean to create custom resolution in you graphic card driver.

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    Why do write it can't be fine when there is a post describing how to do it
    – Dave
    Jul 11, 2020 at 20:34
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    Please check out superuser.com/help/how-to-answer - your answer isn't very constructive I'm afraid. If you can show research, and how you arrived at your conclusion, your answer is far more valuable.
    – AutoBaker
    Jul 17, 2020 at 6:51
  • The post describing how to do this applies to older versions of Windows. This is noted in the comments to the older answer here as well as the comments to the answer for How to setup custom DPI below 100% on Windows 7?
    – Adam Katz
    Apr 8, 2021 at 22:17

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