Optimizing Screen Resolution in Parallels 8/Windows 7

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by mikel51, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I have a macbook pro retina with Parallels 8 and Windows 7. I'd like to start this thread to address how to get the best windows screen resolution and text size on the retina display (without considering a second monitor).

    My most frequent application for windows on the mac is Quicken 2011. For this application, my experimentation leads me to using a screen resolution of 1440 x 900, and the easiest way for me to use this is to uncheck the "enable full resolution" option when configuring the virtual machine video settings.

    The quality of display is sharper/better when I check "enable full resolution" and "optimize windows for full resolution" and then set the screen resolution for 1440 x 900. However, with these settings the screen resolution resets to 2880 x 1800 every time I restart the virtual machine or restart parallels. I find this a pain, because I don't want to have to reset resolution and optimize text size everytime I start windows.

    So for now, I am using my machine at 1440 x 900 and unchecking "enable full resolution." So, I'd send a request to the Parallels Team to enable us to not reset the screen resolution upon reboot with the enable full resolution and optimize windows for full resolution options.

    What are your optimal screen resolution and text size with Parallels 8, Windows, and a macbook pro retina?

    As an aside, I am extremely pleased with how fast and seamless windows is running on this machine with parallels 8.
  2. There is a workaround...

    Hi mikel51,
    I also have a similar problem, but not really related to the resolution, but with the DPI.
    When your Mac is set to use "Best Retina", your Windows 7 VM will be set to 2880x1800 (2x your Mac resolution) and 199% DPI (done when "Optimize Windows for full resolution" is set).

    It does look nice and sharp, bit Windows 7 has a bug with DPI higher than 189%. For instance the Windows explorer will show a tiny address bar and a huge search bar, and you can't resize it. For the interested ones, this is documented here.

    So, what I do is:
    Under Hardware/Video, mark "Enable full Resolution", but leave "Optimize Windows for full resolution" unchecked.
    Under Options/Full Screen, set "Scale to fit screen" to "Stretch".

    Now under Windows, just set the resolution and dpi you want, and it will stick. Parallels will not modify it when you login.

    @Parallels guys: it would be nice to set custom target resolution & dpi at the VM configuration.

    Regarding your specific Quicken issue, try out checking/unchecking options like: "Disable display scaling on High DPI settings", in the compatibility settings of your program.

    Hope it helps...
  3. How to find settings?

    Similar issue, but I can't find:

    Under Hardware/Video, mark "Enable full Resolution", but leave "Optimize Windows for full resolution" unchecked.
    Under Options/Full Screen, set "Scale to fit screen" to "Stretch".

    Don't see these options in Control Panel/Hardware/Monitor...

    Where are they located?

  4. VM Configuration

    Hi David_L,

    These options are in the Virtual Machine configuration, and not under Windows.
    In Windows you will choose resolution and DPI...

  5. Thanks. Got the settings changed in the VM, but when I try to change the resolution settings in Windows it immediately resets to 2880 x 1800. Suggestions?
  6. I run fullscreen on a separate desktop.
    I keep Enable Full Resolution checked.
    I keep Optimize Windows unchecked, since I would rather take care of this myself.

    I use 2 user accounts and switch between them. My "main" user account runs at 2880x1800 with 200% scaling. My alternate account has 100% scaling. If I intend to spend any length of time in the 100% account, I will set the guest resolution to 1440x900 or 1680x1050.

    I mainly use the unscaled account to debug my software in the way 99% of the rest of the world will see it.
  7. Hi David_L,

    Not sure what is happening on your side. Over here the chosen resolution "sticks" alright!
    Obviously, the VM must be restarted after you've changed those settings.
  8. I just installed parallels for Win7 and the newest Apple software on a new Macbook Air. All of the text in the Windows desktop, including icon names, is blurry and hard to read. The same is true of any text. Any advice? What screen resolution is appropriate?
  9. Sames Issues

    I am running into the same issues...I just upgraded my 17" MacBook Pro to a 15" with Retina display...and I am having major issues getting the resolution in Coherence Mode with Windows 7 to stay at the resolution I want. I was trying to run my Mac at 1920x1200 or 1680x1050. I found using QuickRes v2.2 I can change the Mac resolution to anything I want and it works great. The issue is when I place Windows 7 into Coherence mode which is what I have always used Parallels for. I can set the resolution...but when I set it for 1920x1200 it drops out of Coherence mode...and when I place it back in Coherence mode, Windows goes to 3840 x 2356 with 150% Magnification...everything is clear but way too small...like everyone else...it would be nice with Parallels 8 to be able to manually set the resolution for the VM in the configuration of the VM, not only in the actual VM (which keeps auto correcting). I have tried a ton of variations within Parallels...right now it have Hardware > Video - Retina Display: Enable full resolution checked, but Optimize Windows for full resolution unchecked, and Options > Full Screen - Use Mas OS X Full Screen checked and Use all displays in full screen checked, and Scale to fit screen set to Stretch...and still no luck. Has anyone found anything?
  10. YanaYana

    YanaYana Parallels Support

    would you please send the problem report from Help--> Report a problem and post the report ID number here, please
  11. Hey guys... I'm looking to do the same thing with my MBPr 15"... running Windows 7. Having an issue finding what what you guys are talking about after Hardware/Video though. I see Video memory... a slide bar under that then 3D acceleration with a checkbox for Enable vertical synchronization.. then Resolution with three options.. scaled, best for retina, and more space. Where am I going wrong?
  12. I'm in the exact same boat with ALL the above screen resolution issues and also with above poster... I have the same screen as quoted with no options to make the suggested changes. Can anyone help please?
  13. Just got off the phone with Tech Support... you have to choose Direct X9 and most importantly... you have to choose the left most option "Scaled", not either of the other 2 options and this seems to have resolved the issue. Give it a shot and let me know if you have similar results.

    FYI... help was quite quick and polite...

  14. Hi. I've been reading the posts re: display anomalies with W7 and MBPr with retina display. I've just purchased P8 for Mac and plan to install on a MBPr without retina display and use either WXP (home) or W7 for Quicken2011--and beyond--and Office2010. I'm wondering what advice is available in advance so I can avoid any issues. For my purposes, are both WXP and W7 suitable, or is one recommended over the other from an integration/compatibility standpoint? Any install recommendations? If you can't assist in this forum, can you advise where I may get some good advice on this topic? Thank-you.
  15. Should be just fine. Thats what I was running before the retina display. The retina display makes it trickier to adjust the video settings. Without the retina display, it all works pretty much out of the box.
  16. Thank-you. Good to know.
  17. still a bit confused


    I see what they did for you and did that in my settings, but now everything is blurry and pixelated. What resolution and DPI settings do you guys have yours set at? Is there any way around having the small search bar and large text in internet explorer? that's how mine was before (best for retina and dpi 200x) and now decided to give this resolution thing a shot again. let me know
  18. Got the screen resolution working fine here ...

    I was struggling with screen resolution issues with Windows 7 in Parallels 8 ("Windowed Mode") on a MacBookPro 15" Retina until now. Here's what I did to get it to "work right":

    1a. In Virtual Machine --> Configure ... --> Hardware --> Video --> Resolution = select "Best for Retina"
    1b. In Virtual Machine --> Configure ... -->Options --> Full Screen --> Scale to fit screen = select "Auto"
    1c. In Virtual Machine --> Configure ... -->Options --> Full Screen --> Use Mac OS X Full Screen = checked
    2. Start Windows
    3. Install Parallels Tools (in Windows)
    4. Restart Windows

    After that, the screen will still shrink while the VM is "booting up," but once I log in to Windows, Parallels Tools kick in, and I can resize the VM's root window and everything will scale nicely. I can go into and get out of "Full Screen" and the screen also scale nicely as expected.

    Most important is to make sure Parallels Tools are properly installed and up-to-date. Between a VM's boot-up and login, Parallels Tools do not yet kick in so the VM's screen size and resolution might appear screwed up ... after login, Parallels Tools kick in and screen size, resolution, screen re-sizing, etc. just work as expected.

    (I don't do Coherence or Crystal mode ... so no comment there.)

    Good luck to those still searching for a solution that feeds their needs.
  19. No "Optimize Windows for full resolution" in Parallels 8

    I read this thread with great interest, as I have wasted countless hours now trying to get reasonable font sizes AND clear text simultaneously when running Windows programs using a Windows 7 virtual machine with Parallels Desktop 8 on my 15" Macbook Pro with retina display running Mountain Lion version 10.8.2.

    I tried all the suggestions on this thread, but to no avail.

    The sticking point seems to be the helpful suggestion to do the following:

    "Under Hardware/Video, mark "Enable full Resolution", but leave "Optimize Windows for full resolution" unchecked."

    In my version of Parallels Desktop 8 (all updates and Parallels Tools applied), I do not see the option "Optimize Windows for full resolution" in my Windows 7 Hardware/Video virtual machine configuration options. The only options I get under Hardware/Video are the following:
    "Best for Retina"
    "More Space"

    The only solution I have found so far to get bigger font sizes in my Windows programs is to do the following:
    1) On my Macbook Pro under System Preferences -> Display, select "Resolution: Scaled" and pick the second option that says "Looks like 1280 x 800" (I would prefer to pick "Best (Retina)"). That scaled option is pretty close to what "Best (Retina)" produces on my Macbook Pro.
    2) In Parallels Desktop, under Virtual Machine -> Configure and then Windows 7 – Hardware -> Configure, select "Resolution: Scaled" (I would prefer to pick "Best for Retina").
    I can now control the font sizes in Windows 7, but all the fonts look grainy and are difficult to read!

    So it's a choice between reasonable sized but terrible looking fonts, or tiny but clear fonts in my Windows programs (I like to use Coherence mode). Argh!!! And I bought Parallels Desktop 8 because its graphics were supposedly better than those of VMWare.

    Any suggestions on how to get reasonable asized fonts that take advantage of my retina display would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  20. Solution that worked for me

    After countless hours of trying and searching, this is a easy solution that works OK for me:

    1. Windows 7: Go to Control Panel > Screen resolution > Appearance and Personalisation > Custom DPI Setting - Set it somewhere around 125 or what works best for you.

    2.Parallels Desktop: Go to Virtual machine > Settings > Graphics > Scaled (left to the "Best for Retina")

    Hope this helps.

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