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Q. Why Are All My Apps Opening in Very Tiny Windows?

Q. Why Are All My Apps Opening in Very Tiny Windows?

Q. I just purchased a new ASUS gaming laptop running Windows 10. I used the OS’s built-in Edge browser to download Mozilla Firefox, my preferred browser.

When I ran the Firefox install routine, I literally needed a magnifying glass to see the postage stamp sized dialog box. I unsuccessfully tried Ctrl + mouse wheel to increase the font size. Who is responsible for this outrageous situation — Microsoft? ASUS? Mozilla?

A. I’d blame Mozilla, ASUS, and Microsoft, in that order.

Many new devices come with resolutions so high they were unheard-of just a few years ago. These high-DPI (dots per inch) displays require proper drivers (for example, from ASUS) to support the displays; and apps (e.g., Firefox) also have to know how to display themselves properly at very high DPI settings — the apps have to be high-DPI aware.

If either the drivers or the apps aren’t up to the task, Win10 tries to fake it by scaling a lower-resolution output to something higher. The effect might look bad — or it might not work at all. When it doesn’t work, the affected apps show up in a tiny window that’s almost impossible to read.

With the right drivers, and with high-DPI-aware apps, Win10 should be able to display everything correctly.


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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