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I have a 2015 macbook pro with a retina screen running Windows 8.1. With no scaling, the UI on the retina screen is tiny.

The solution is to increase the scaling using the settings found in: Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Display

However, when plugging in another monitor, the scaling causes the text to be blurry. Turning the scaling off resolves the issue, but leaves the laptop display with a tiny UI.

As far as I can tell there's no way around this issue because Windows 8.1 does not support per display scaling (despite the implication from the unchecked 'Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays' checkbox).

What I am looking for is some way to automatically turn off the scaling when I am plugged into a secondary monitor via the HDMI port and turned back on when just using the laptop display.

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Rather than changing the size of the items on the screen using the Display slider, you can use the Adjust Resolution option in the left column to set the MacBook Pro to a lower resolution as an alternate way to increase the size of everything. Not ideal, but it may accomplish what you want.

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  • Not a bad idea for getting the laptop monitor to be readable while connected to a secondary display. The os seems to remember the resolution setting based on whats plugged which is nice b/c it returns to the full resolution when unplugged. However when running at a non-native resolution, it seems to be blurry. – jmathew Jun 18 '15 at 14:09
  • Have you tried using Window's built-in ClearType Text Tuner? It's a wizard that helps fine tune rendering of text in Windows. If you open the Search charm and type cleartype, click the result called "Adjust ClearType text" to start the wizard. – HighTechGeek Jun 18 '15 at 15:41
  • Yes, it doesn't help as its technically the whole screen thats blurry due to it being scaled improperly. – jmathew Jun 18 '15 at 16:11
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    I don't know if you have the 13" or 15" but Apple recommends the following non-native screen resolutions for scaling the MacBook Pro display: - 13": 1680x1050, 1440x900, or 1024x640. - 15": 1920x1200, 1680x1050, 1280x800, or 1024x640. – HighTechGeek Jun 18 '15 at 21:56
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    apple.com/macbook-pro/specs-retina right near the top of the page it lists native resolutions and scaled resolutions. – HighTechGeek Jun 19 '15 at 21:21

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