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Surface Pro 4 – Solving High DPI Software Issues

The Surface Pro 4’s screen is outstanding to say the least. The 2736 x 1824 resolution on a 12.3″ screen yields an amazingly sharp 267 ppi but I am only repeating something that any surface pro fan would already know.

While the screen is amazing, some software just don’t work well with such a high resolution. I have used Faststone Image Viewer for years and I think it is one of the best graphics viewer and editor ever made for the Windows platform. It is no photoshop and has its limitations of course but it is one of the musthave software I installed on any PC that we have.

So imagine my horror when I installed Faststone Image Viewer on the SP4 and find that I now need a magnifying glass to see all the text. All the user interface is now so small that it is no longer useable.

Surface Pro 4 - Faststone Graphics

The fortunate thing is that there are other smart people out there who has experienced this first hand and developed a solution for this.

Dan Antonielli should be given all the credits as the solution that he developed worked perfectly fine for Faststone Image Viewer on the SP4. More details here:

Essentially what we need to do is this:

  1. Edit Windows registry following Dan’s instructions. No point for me to repeat the steps here.
  2. Download the “manifest” file from Dan’s website.
  3. Save this file to the same folder where the binary executable file of Faststone Image Viewer exists. On my SP4, this folder is C:\Program Files (x86)\FastStone Image Viewer. So if one wants to fix the high DPI issue for other software, all that is required to do is to save this file to the right program files folder. It is important to note that in most cases, this manifest file will be saved as a text file with an extension .txt
  4. Find out what is the name of the binary executable file. In my case, Faststone Viewer has a binary EXE called FSViewer.exe. Now rename the manifest file to FSViewer.exe.manifest
  5. I would highly suggest that this renaming be done via the command line. If you just use windows explorer to rename the manifest file to FSViewer.exe.manifest, Windows will automatically append a .txt extention without telling you.
  6. Start a command prompt console with Admin rights. Navigate to the folder and execute the command: Ren FSViewer.exe.manifest.txt FSViewer.exe.manifest if this is not already named correctly.

The following screenshot might help.

Surface Pro 4 - Faststone - Rename manifest file

And that’s it. Viola. When Faststone Image Viewer is launched again, all the text font and user interface will be sized correctly. Magnifying glass no longer required!!

Surface Pro 4 - Faststone Graphics - High DPI

The final result is very pleasing to me and I am glad I manage to solve this high DPI issue for the SP4. Hopefully this is helpful to any SP4 user out there. Thanks for viewing.