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Virtual Machine display resolution issues on Macs with Retina display

APPLIES TO:
  • Parallels Desktop

Symptoms

I have a Mac with Retina display and I experience some of these screen resolution issues in my Windows virtual machine:

  • Fonts in Windows virtual machine look blurry:

  • Everything looks very small in Windows virtual machine:


NOTE: if you are having resolution issues with a particular Windows-based program please visit this article: Windows-based programs resolution issues on Apple Retina display


Cause

Microsoft Windows is not adapted for such high pixel density (DPI) resolution of the Retina display: Windows virtual machine resolution becomes very high thus everything is too small; Windows picture (fonts, images) are not rendered properly.

Learn more about the Apple Retina display in this article: Frequently asked questions about using a Retina display.

Resolution

Parallels Desktop provides enhanced Retina display support for Windows virtual machines.

In the Mac menu go to Actions (the Virtual Machine menu in older versions of Parallels Desktop) -> Configure... -> Hardware -> Video and...

For Windows 8.1 and 10

Check Enable Retina resolution option for your virtual machine - Windows will immediately change its resolution, though virtual machine reboot is recommended.

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For Windows 8, 7 and earlier

Set Best for Retina option and also reboot the virtual machine:


General note: if you have changed Windows scaling options manually before, there is a chance that after enabling Retina support Windows will not scale properly. To check scaling options right click on Windows Desktop -> Screen resolution -> Make text or other items larger or smaller and set 200% scaling:

alttext

[!] Setting 200% scaling in the virtual machine will also fix small fonts symptom, but if you still experience an issue with small fonts in a particular Windows program, please visit KB119926.

For more information about Windows scaling options please visit this page.


What has changed?

Parallels Desktop significantly improved Windows vurtual machine resolution on Apple Retina display:

The screenshots are taken from Internet Explorer running in the Windows 8.1 virtual machine.

Additional Troubleshooting

Check OS X display settings

If you are using a custom display settings for OS X, you would have to adjust Windows virtual machine scaling manually, for example:

Windows resolution is too high

Windows fonts and icons are too big or too small

Related articles

Search words:

Retina

issues with Retina

resolution issues




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