Windows 7 Graphics – High DPI

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High DPI is not new to Windows; however in Windows 7 we made few changes that developers should be aware of. The goal is to encourage end users to set their displays to native resolution and use DPI rather than screen resolution to change the size of displayed text and images. Windows 7 can auto-detect and configure a default DPI on clean installs on machines configured by their OEMs using DPI settings. Join Silvana Moncayo and Matthew Blackshaw, PM in the graphics team and Yochay Kiriaty, Technical Evangelist, on a discussion on Windows 7 High DPI.

This is another video in a sereis of Windows 7 Grahics videos on Channel 9



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Wow the audio is messed up for me on this video. Oh wow, maybe it isn't the video, perhaps silverlight..

  • User profile image

    Thansk for giving a hint. But unfortenately I think currently there is way too many applications that break if you set the High DPI. For instance MS SQL Reporting Services 2008 fails. Just tried it -> some text is not being displayed any more in reports. So even MS itself did not really take care about this really important Windows feature - which is by fact in Windows since Win98 (or was it Win2000).

    So i guess it will take a while until this wil be really useful.

  • User profile image

    Link speed limited, i can only click "WMA" Sad ...

  • User profile image

    so where can i find a desktop monitor for say 18" to 22" that's even 100PPI ?  I hate to say this but there are so very few montiors that are high-dpi. seems like small laptop displays are the only common ones.

    who wants a an 12x8 inch desktop screen?

  • User profile image

    Where is the example?  I see the manifest (which gives a warning when added during linking), but not the full example on MSDN.


  • User profile image


  • User profile image

    I don't like it how that setting is treated. The DPI setting should define the real DPI value that the display has. It's not a zoom setting. Zooming should be another setting entirely.

    For example, on netbooks you usually have 114 - 147 DPI. In order to be able to set proper sizes and proportions towards real world elements that you might display on the screen, you would need the correct DPI value. However, you wouldn't want everything to scale that much, because you are very space constrained. Or, there's also displays with a 72 DPI, where setting that value would have a really bad result. Therefore there should be a separate zoom setting that allows elements which have been defined with pixel based sizes to scale accordingly for people that want things to display larger.

    The DPI setting on the other hand should only be used to be able to specify the size of an element in Point (pt) for print media or other real world measurment units like inches, and centimeters.
    You should also use a bicubic resizer for the magnifying tool or images at high DPI... it gets pixelated.

    PS: If anyone knows of a 32" widescreen display with 200 DPI or more... I want one (or two)!

  • User profile image

    very nice, this should make using my tv as my pc monitor easier!  also my netbook.

  • User profile image

    that stinks...

  • User profile image

    video seems kinda formal compared to the typically charles video.

  • User profile image

    it was mention that WPF scales but Win32 and MFC doesn't what about WinForms?

  • User profile image

    Kinda useless (rarele used) feature, btw...

    To make it work properly ALL (anything and everything) must use "millimeters of screen", instead of whole bunch of "measures" such as "pixel", "point" etc.

  • User profile image

    This is very important, certainly not useless. Apps are supporting this pretty well. I've been using "high dpi" for a long time and while really bad in XP, by 2007 in vista most apps would scale correctly, with bugs now and again mostly in in minor applications, and now almost never happen. In fact it's more and more common for app icons to have 120dpi etc versions so there is no pixellation even here.

    Having a per-user setting in Win 7 is an expected and good addition.

    There should also be a nag screen when a user has a non-native resolution, allowing a one-click fix. It's ridiculous to see the display technology that microsoft and others have developed, cleartype for example with it's sub-pixel precision and find that people are sending the screen a low-res image.

  • User profile image

    i totally agree. DPI is a screen calibration setting, not a "zoom" setting. besides the lack of hardware (high dpi screens) available, and the lack of Windows handling high DPI correctly (or easily for the programmer), i think that the confusion caused by the poor naming and poor explanation of windows dpi has really held back the high dpi world.  If your screen is 144DPI, then the OS should be set to 144DPI. After that, if you want more "screen realestate", there should be a separate setting to reduce the size of UI elements (font sizes, width of title bars, icon sizes, etc).    UI designers and programmers should be designing their UI around the inch (or centimeter) instead of the pixel.


    the high dpi world is in shambles with so much misinformation and misconceptions around. but what do i know? my opinion doesn't matter at all.

  • User profile image

    Same experience here. We have a collection of 15" laptops with 1920x1200 displays, and you have to sit with your nose touching the screen to be able to read any normal text at 100% DPI. Hence we run at 200% DPI but soooooo many applications break down horribly... Sad


    Let's hope Win7 gets quick adoption to move in the right direction.

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