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  1.    16 Nov 2015 #1
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10

    Blurry text on secondary monitor in multi-resolution, multi-DPI setup


    This is probably the most painful issue I have with Windows 10 right now (and likely previous versions as well, but I didn't have a multi-monitor setup back then).

    The monitors I have are as follows:
    1. 3840x2160 (4K UHD) monitor with preferred DPI: 144 (150%)
    2. 1920x1080 (Full HD) monitor with preferred DPI: 96 (100%)


    Whenever one of these monitors are set as primary, all desktop applications displayed on the secondary monitor (doesn't matter which) has blurry text. Exceptions are the Windows Store Apps like Windows Store and Microsoft Edge, along with the Taskbar/Start Menu, the Taskbar/Start Menu settings screen, the Taskbar context menu, and the desktop context menu which passes the DPI test with flying colours, with crispy text on both monitors (occasionally a DPI switch bug gets in, but I can mostly ignore that). The problem is, as you can probably guess, is that >99% of the applications I use aren't Windows Store Apps.

    Here are some screenshots. The "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" text is what the text should look like while the Visual Studio 2015 text is an example of the text most desktop apps get. The blurry image is what happens when the UHD monitor is not the primary monitor.
    Attachment 48493Attachment 48494
    Note: Both of these screenshots came from the 150% DPI monitor so it's best viewed at that (144) DPI level. The 96 DPI monitor is similarly affected.

    Things I've already tried:
    • Reinstall the graphics driver (this was unhelpfully given by a Microsoft Support Engineer). Did this multiple times in fact for unrelated reasons.
    • Reinstall Windows 10 (through Reset This PC recovery option). I did this for also unrelated reasons but it definitely doesn't fix this issue.
    • Use the XP Explorer "fix". Merely worsens the problem.
    • Adjusting ClearType options. Alleviates the issue a bit but see next point.
    • Disabling ClearType on the affected monitor. The text obviously sharpens, but it's painful to read and a close inspection of the text reveals the issue isn't solved at all, only mitigated slightly.
    • Replacing the video card. I swapped this in with my older GTX 560 Ti but it's obvious the problem remains. Both it and my current card are NVIDIAs though, so it's vaguely possible the drivers or the cards themselves are the cause. I don't have an ATI/AMD card (that still works, at least) to test the setup and every Intel iGPU I have either has only one monitor output or is incapable of handling UHD resolutions.


    Things I won't try:
    • Setting both monitors' DPI to 96. Text would become microscopic considering the UHD monitor's actual size.
    • Use the text resizing feature instead. I'm going take a wild guess that this is not monitor-specific and would cause everything on the HD monitor to be far too large to the point that I'd rather unplug it.


    Does anyone have a multi-resolution, multi-DPI, multi-monitor setup with or without this issue? The text is painful to read on whichever is the secondary monitor right now, and is extremely apparent whenever the background is dark.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    17 Nov 2015 #2
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 2
    Windows 10

    Hi Seally,

    I have exactly the same problems and I am searching for a solution. I have noticed the problems after upgrading Windows 10 to TH2. But may be I havn't noticed the problems before :-)
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    17 Nov 2015 #3
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the reply. I was beginning to think that this is another "it's just me" issue for a while. I can however say that the issue was here since build 10240, at least for the consumer build. Possibly before that, but I have no data on those. It's frustrating since I wanted two monitors to help with ease programming on large projects, and it turns out I still have to pick one or the other, each switch requiring a logoff for it to properly apply. Browsing and some other activities on the blurred monitor are significantly more bearable, though, which I think might be the reason there aren't more of these reports (that and fact that most people probably have matching monitors if they had more than one of them).

    My prime hypothesis is that Windows sends the wrong DPI values to desktop applications, but since I normally program cross-platform I barely have a clue on programming Win32 apps directly, which is probably required for me test this. I'll probably research this a bit more (not now though, as I have more immediate matters to attend to) and send this in to Microsoft at some point. With the faint hope I have on this getting fixed I'm thinking I'll be stuck with this issue until the zombie apocalypse comes about. This issue is making me seriously consider a Mac right now, though I have to check if it really is resolved there first (Linux is even worse on this issue and my research suggests it might not even be fixable there until Wayland comes about).
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    18 Nov 2015 #4
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    England
    Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    Hi Seally,

    I've had this issue with a few of my users using multiple monitors. The only fix for it that I've found is that you need to have the same display scaling on both displays i.e. 100%/100%, 150%/150%. Having mismatched display scaling seems to cause the issue you're having.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    18 Nov 2015 #5
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    My problem is that by setting 150% DPI to the HD monitor the fonts are blown up far enough that I'd rather not use it at all. I already see the blown up fonts a few times when Windows glitches the DPI values sometimes when searching, and I'm pretty sure I'd only find it acceptable if I had an accident and turned blind for some reason, requiring accessibility tools to read the screen (then again multi-monitor would be mostly useless then anyway). The UHD monitor, on the other hand, has a real-world size of 27" (compared to the 22" HD monitor). If I happen to set it to 100% DPI to avoid this problem, the average size of text would be about 1-2 millimeters high. I can't read that, or more precisely, I can but only if I kept my eyes 4-6 inches away from the screen. Pretty sure that isn't a healthy way to use a computer. Since both of them are LCD monitors, changing either of them to a non-native resolution also causes blurring.

    Setting 125% DPI to both monitors should solve the problem, but I'm not doing it as that means I'd get substandard sizing on both monitors than either of them (although the HD monitor's blown up fonts annoys me more). I'd rather just switch off the smaller one in that case and go back to single monitor (if only today's graphics cards could handle UHD resolutions adequately).
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    18 Nov 2015 #6
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    Posts : 1
    Win 10 Pro

    Created an account just to say I have the same issue. One screen with 100% the other with 125% scaling, no matter what I do and what programs or tweaks I try, things never get better. It's very frustrating and I hope a solution is found soon. Makes me not want to run 2 monitors.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    19 Nov 2015 #7
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    England
    Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    Seally, I think you're always going to run into this problem while you're using two drastically different displays (4K and 1080p). Hopefully the option to have two different display scalings on separate monitors will become viable in the future, but until then the only solution is to have the same display scaling on each monitor unfortunately.

    djram, as I mentioned before the solution to fix it is having the same display scaling on each monitor, so you should set both monitors to either 100% or 125% scaling and that will solve the issue you're having.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    19 Nov 2015 #8
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Central Florida
    Posts : 131
    Windows 10

    You might try connecting your secondary monitor to you internal graphics. I run 3 monitors, all different makes. I connect 2 of them to my 970 and one to my internal and it works fine. That way your 970 can use all its resources on the 4K monitor and the internal is plenty enough for you 1080.

    You might also check and see if you have surround turned on. Let each monitor get its own signal instead of spreading it across both of them. Just an idea.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    20 Nov 2015 #9
    Join Date : Nov 2015
    England
    Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    Great point KACI, that actually should work perfectly.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    20 Nov 2015 #10
    Join Date : Aug 2015
    Central Florida
    Posts : 131
    Windows 10

    Works well for me. Additionally, I've had NVidia drivers fail and it gave me a working monitor to use to correct the problem.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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