One of Windows Vista’s new abilities was targetting high resolution display devices. But when you’re running on a high-density display, thigs get fuzzier, not sharper.

Below is a comparison of various text sizes, with and without ClearType, using various scaling methods.

Vista DPI Font Scaling Methods

Rather than rendering text larger, Vista blows up the already rendered text; making it fuzzy and painful to look at. i realize why it’s happening. The new composition engine in Vista is using the power of your 3D video card to run the user interface. It’s very easy for it to apply a simple scaling as they’re about to show it on the screen.

 What they should have done is intercept all drawing function, and draw the text (and lines, and polylines, and bezier’s, and ellipses, etc) at a different size. For everything else (i.e. bitmap blits, texture fills, etc) perform the nieve scaling.

4 Responses to “”

  1. 1 Dean December 16, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    What you’ve said is only true of applications that are not marked as “DPI aware”. Applications that are DPI aware are not automatically scaled by Vista — because it assumes the application knows what it’s doing. Examples are Office (well, most Microsoft applications) or any application written with WPF.

    However, I do agree that the scaling is horrible. I usually turn it off on my laptop, and just suffer through the applications that are not DPI aware.

    I’d hate to imagine the performance of a system where they intercepted *every single* “draw” command. Woe unto you if you were doing double-buffering as well…

  2. 2 jacktripper December 17, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    There are existing techniques that they could have leveraged to support high-DPI for applications that are not high-DPI aware.

    Lie to the applications like you do now, but apply a scaling transform behind them.

  3. 3 remanence May 28, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    remanence says : I absolutely agree with this !

  4. 4 Midmost June 18, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Midmost

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October 2007

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