How to Run Modern Windows 8 Apps on a Netbook

By Chris Hoffman on January 18th, 2013

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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
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