[Can’t decide what Surface docking hardware to buy? Click for a comparison of many popular docking options.]
[Setting up a live Surface demo using the scaling tweak and Vertical Surface Docks at the Seattle Maker Faire (EMP Museum/MoPop)]
Here is the optimization in action:
The Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 2017, and Surface Book have 3:2 aspect ratio screens. Certain customers prefer to set the screen to a lower resolution rather than use the built-in Windows 10 scaling feature especially when plugging in an external monitor or using legacy apps/games that don’t behave well with high-DPI screens. [To understand why this works so well, read last year’s article about the same approach on the Surface Pro 3.] Unfortunately all the resolution options built-in from the factory are 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio such as 1680×1050. When you select these options, you’ll see black bar letterboxing which means you’re not using the full screen. Some games behave poorly in these modes where mouse clicks and touch screen presses are offset. Get back your full 3:2 aspect ratio screen and get your games and apps working right with this simple, reversible modification.
A handy side-effect of the tweak is that with multiple monitors, your mouse pointer probably won’t get “stuck” between screens blocked by an invisible wall since effective resolutions can be matched to your liking rather than having Windows force you to map to its scaling profiles. Here is a quick demo video illustrating dragging windows across two screens of vastly different DPI.
Disclaimer: modifying the registry directly can have side effects and precautions such as backing up your data should be taken before modifying your PC.
- Backup your system
- Download .reg file: http://blogs.msdn.com/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-components-postattachments/00-10-65-02-47/SP4_2D00_SB_2D00_custom_2D00_resolutions5.reg
- Double-click the .reg file and click OK to import it into your registry
- Having trouble importing a .reg file when downloading via the MS Edge browser in Windows 10? That’s probably because it is auto-renaming to .txt for safety. You can rename it back to .reg or import the .txt file from within regedit.exe. Or just download with Internet Explorer or FireFox instead.
- Reboot OR follow these steps to reset the Intel display driver
- Open Device Manager
- Open the Display Adapters
- Right-click “Intel HD Graphics…” or similar and click “disable”
- Click “Yes”
- After the monitors stop flashing, right-click the Intel GPU again and click “enable”
- Open System – Display – Advanced display settings in control panel and choose your preferred resolution
- If new resolutions are not available, it is most likely because of auto-installed Windows Update drivers changing the regkeys. Just use the manual method below.
- 2704×1800 (* not quite 3:2 – limited by TCON)
- 1504×1000 (* not quite 3:2 – limited by TCON)
- 1496×1000 (* not quite 3:2 – limited by TCON)
Some resolutions are only applicable to certain devices.
- Disconnect all external monitors and set the Surface Pro screen to default scaling settings, then log off and log on
- Download the latest 64-bit .zip package for the Intel graphics driver: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/search?keyword=Intel+HD+530 (SP4/SB) or https://downloadcenter.intel.com/search?keyword=Intel+HD+640 (SP2017)
- A typical Intel driver package applies to several different GPU models so select the one that applies to your device.
- Unzip the driver and use the “Have Disk” method to force install over the default Surface Pro driver:
- right-click the .zip, select “Extract all” and follow the directions to extract the files to a new folder.
- start Device Manager
- expand – “Display Adapters”
- right-click on “Intel HD Graphics”, “Intel Iris Graphics”, or similar entry and select “Update driver”
- click “Browse my computer for driver software”
- click “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”
- click “Have Disk”
- browse to the unzipped driver folder \Graphics containing “igdlh64.inf” or similar file. Note that the “.inf” filename extension may not be displayed by default in Windows so the file may simply appear as igdlh64.
- click “Open” then “OK” then “Next”
- After the driver installation completes, reboot
- Right-click on the desktop and select “Graphics Properties”
- Connect all your desktop monitors and use the Display control panel to switch the Surface screen to the new 1080×720 landscape or 720×1080 portrait mode or whatever your preferred resolution is
- On the start screen type in “adjust screen resolution” to open the Display control panel
- Click on the representation of the Surface Pro screen
- Click the Resolution drop down box and select your newly added resolution, then click “apply”
- Click on the representation of the external monitor and click the “make this my main display” checkbox and click “apply”
- Move the representations of the two monitors around to your liking
- Close the Control panel and enjoy!
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