I've just installed my new Surface Pro 3 and connected my 1920*1080 monitor to it via DVI and the Surface docking station.

The external monitor is recognized correctly (as a PnP Standard Monitor, ASUS VH242), and the resolution is set to 1920*1080. Desktop, taskbar, the Charms bar and Windows dialogs look crisp on the external monitor, but all the programs I open appear fuzzy, as if scaled from a different resolution. This only affects the window contents, though, the title bars and control elements (as long as they are the standard Windows elements) are crisp.

It somehow looks similar to the problem some older apps have with the high-DPI display of the Surface tablet itself (because Windows scales them to 150% normal size), but this happens on the "low-DPI" 1920*1080 monitor.


Any idea how I can troubleshoot this?


For low PPI monitors like your 1080p Asus, you can set up scaling.

Right click on the desktop, Personalize, Display


and move the Change the size of all items slider all the way left (to "Smaller"). After this is done you need just to sign out and sign in back.

  • Thanks, this works for the external display, but now the size of items on the Surface's High-DPI display becomes tiny as well. Can this be set individually per display unit? – Tim Pietzcker Dec 18 '14 at 10:05
  • @TimPietzcker, unfortunately not, you can't set the scaling on a per monitor basis. At least with standard Windows tools. But actually, using small 12'' Surface Pro 3 display along the desktop monitor in my opinion is not really convenient. Why not grab additional desktop monitor, or even two? You knew that this thing is capable of support of 3 external displays? – TranslucentCloud Dec 18 '14 at 10:44
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    If that's really not possible, it's incredibly stupid. Of course I'm not using the Surface display at the same time as the external monitor, but when I undock it, I would like to use it without having to switch magnification back to 150%, log off, log back on so the changes take effect, and then perform the same in reverse when I re-dock it. That can't be the proper way to do it... – Tim Pietzcker Dec 18 '14 at 12:17
  • @TimPietzcker, I'm in the same boat with you and I ended up keeping small size both for external displays in docked SP3's state and while on-the-go. Agreed with you, this is stupid. – TranslucentCloud Dec 18 '14 at 13:03
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    @TranslucentCloud On the contrary, if a window is visible on multiple displays at the same time, it would need to be rendered multiple times. That’s probably not going to happen, and certainly not with Windows 10. As for “switching” DPI (according to the display a window is on): It tends to go wrong in many ways. Earlier, I connected my Retina MBP to a regular screen. After that, Firefox’ drop-down lists where very far from where they belong. This happened on OS X, which is very good at DPI stuff. – Daniel B Jan 2 '15 at 18:43

Best thing we did when dealing with the annoying second screen resolution issue: Make the second screen you PRIMARY screen. Worked much better and fixed the resolution issue.

Note this worked on the wife's original Surface Pro.

  • The question isn't about a resolution problem, but about a scaling problem. – TranslucentCloud Jan 2 '15 at 18:26

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