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Virtual Machine display resolution issues on portable Macs with Retina display

  • Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac
  • Parallels Desktop Enterprise


You have a MacBook with Retina display with a Windows Virtual Machine and you experience any of these screen resolution issues in Windows:

  • Windows screen resolution is low - the screen looks blurry
  • Windows icons are very small or big
  • Windows screen resolution is very high - everything looks tiny
  • You have an external display connected to your portable Mac computer


Windows Operating Systems (as well as others) were not adapted to such high pixels density (DPI). Learn more about MacBook Pro Retina Display: Frequently asked questions about using a Retina display


Parallels Desktop 8 provides enhanced Retina display support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 Virtual Machines. Go to Virtual Machine menu ► Configure...HardwareVideo to see Resolution options for your Virtual Machine:

Please use this Troubleshooter to solve display issues on a MacBook Pro with Retina display. You may also learn more about Virtual Machine Resolution options for Retina display at the bottom of this article.

Note: The Resolution settings shown on the picture apply to Windows 7 and Windows 8 Virtual Machines. Resolution options are different for Windows XP and Windows Vista Virtual Machines.

Troubleshooting: Windows image is blurry or scaled

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Troubleshooting: Windows resolution is too high

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Troubleshooting: Windows Fonts ans icons are too big or too small

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How to change DPI scaling in Windows? Please check this article Make the text on your screen larger or smaller

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Some windows do not look properly in Parallels Desktop. Also when clicking Alt+Tab, the displayed list of windows does not look properly. I attached a screenshot of a Window not displaying properly, but I could not find a way to take a screenshot of Alt+Tab problem.

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