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How to Run Modern Windows 8 Apps on a Netbook

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Modern-style apps in Windows 8 need a screen resolution of at least 1024×768. Unfortunately, many netbooks have a 1024×600 resolution. If you have a netbook, there’s a chance you can bypass this limitation and run modern apps anyway.

If your screen resolution is too low, you’ll see a message saying the app cannot open. If no higher screen resolutions are appear available, you can try this trick to make Windows think your screen resolution is higher.

How It Works

Netbooks generally use Intel’s integrated graphics. The Intel graphics driver contains a hidden setting to enable “downscaling.” Essentially, this will allow you to set a higher screen resolution in Windows. The graphics driver will then “downscale” the image to fit your screen. This will make content look blurrier, especially on the desktop – but if you want to watch videos and play games in the Modern environment, it may be a fair trade-off.

Some people have reported this trick doesn’t work, while it seems to work for others. It’s possible that it only works with certain chipsets.

Enabling Modern Apps

First, launch the registry editor by pressing the Windows key, typing regedit, and pressing Enter.

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Press Ctrl+F in the registry editor and do a search for display1_downscaling_supported

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You should see a setting named “Display1_DownScalingSupported” in the right pane. Double-click it and set its value to 1.

(If you don’t see any search results, this trick won’t work for you. You shouldn’t try to add this setting yourself, as it is graphics-driver-dependent.)

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Press the F3 key to repeat the search and change every Display1_DownScalingSupported setting to 1 in the same way.

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Restart your computer and open the Screen Resolution window. You should be able to set your screen resolution to 1024×768, which will allow you to launch Modern apps.

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If you see a black screen after trying this trick, you can boot to safe mode to undo your changes.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 01/18/13

Comments (13)

  1. Allan

    Chris just wondering most of the netbook have a VGA connection for external display. Will connecting netbook to monitor enable Modern Apps? can anyone check.

  2. max

    Well I’ve got to say that’s pretty stupid of Windows 8 not to think of netbook users and include a 1024×600 option. But then it’s also stupid to have full-screen only applications.

  3. gyffes

    ooooooooor I can continue to run Win7 and Fedora just fine on my netbook.

  4. SkiddMarxx

    Allan-
    Yes, connecting a netbook to an external monitor that meets the minimum resolution requirements will enable you to run Modern Apps on the external monitor.

  5. George

    Connecting to a VGA port for a supporting resolution monitor works well. And I agree, why the #@# 600 height is not allowed, pfff

  6. Tom

    They left out 1024×600 to force hardware to move on… making you buy new hardware, and thus new software and accessories too.

  7. NSDCars5

    PS: Everyone knew that method :P
    Any way to make it run on 1024*600? Maybe I have a way, I’ll try it on my netbook

  8. Blakeow

    I tried this a few months ago with the release preview but the result made the screen look out of proportion and more pixelated. I decided in the end to go back to the original resolution. The screen looking better on the desk top was more important to me than using the metro apps that I was underwhelmed by anyway.

  9. Porcher Martin

    I’m trying to look at my screen resolution. I’ve tried following the directions by pressing the Windows key. I get the Windows apps or whatever they are calling that page with all the apps on it. (blue background with all the pretty little tiles on it that are not useful to me because I’m not into the social media or games) There is not a place for me to type anything! So, I can’t continue with the directions. what am I doing wrong?

    When you tell me to press the Widows key, you are assuming I know where/what that is. Is that the key left of ALT with the 4 boxes? Please, if we come to you for information, we are already frustrated, so you need to be VERY precise and explain the obvious (to you).

    If you do contact me, and I’m not holding my breath on that one, I doubt if I will even be able to find THIS site/screen again, so I’ll need to know how to do that too. I don’t know how I got here, I’ve just been pointing and clicking hoping something would pop up that I could use.

  10. Porcher Martin

    Yikes! I put in an incorrect email address the first time I sent this! THIS is coming from my correct email – sorry!! I’m trying to look at my screen resolution. I’ve tried following the directions by pressing the Windows key. I get the Windows apps or whatever they are calling that page with all the apps on it. (blue background with all the pretty little tiles on it that are not useful to me because I’m not into the social media or games) There is not a place for me to type anything! So, I can’t continue with the directions. what am I doing wrong?

    When you tell me to press the Widows key, you are assuming I know where/what that is. Is that the key left of ALT with the 4 boxes? Please, if we come to you for information, we are already frustrated, so you need to be VERY precise and explain the obvious (to you).

    If you do contact me, and I’m not holding my breath on that one, I doubt if I will even be able to find THIS site/screen again, so I’ll need to know how to do that too. I don’t know how I got here, I’ve just been pointing and clicking hoping something would pop up that I could use.

  11. Serge

    Is it possible to make downscaling for second screen also?
    (I have Toshiba libretto w100 with two screens).
    I create Display2_DownScalingSupported.
    It does not help me. Any suggestions, pls?

  12. PeterJMelb

    Hi Porcher M.

    The key with the 4 boxes is the Windows key.

    Unfortunately the workaround did not work on my Lenovo netbook.
    I did not get the option to make the registry changes.
    Is there any other way to succeed?

  13. wublub

    After enabling downscaling on my Acer Aspire netbook, I downloaded a little app called “Frix QuickRes” – http://www.freewarefiles.com/Frix-QuickRes_program_14074.html. The program lets you pick two resolutions and you just double-click the icon in the system tray to quickly swap between the two. That way I can stay in 1024×600 for general browsing etc, and switch res when I want to use a Win8 app.

    Very handy.

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