Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac - Retina with Windows 10

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by Tom Kreutz, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Tom Kreutz

    Tom Kreutz Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    I run Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac on a 15" Retina MacBook Pro. I find the screen resolution issues to be a complete nightmare. Can anyone tell me if Parallels 13 is really any better? HOW is it better? In what way is it better?
    (I currently use the Mac's default display resolution, have set the Parallels Actions Menu/Configure.../Hardware tab/Graphics pane to Resolution: "Best for external display - Windows manages DPI setting on each display", and a Windows display resolution of 2880x1800 and DPI scaling = 175%.)
    Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    807
    Best Answer
    OK, let me reiterate what you've already know first. Parallels Desktop graphics settings provides the choice between:
    • Scaled
    VM gets quarter of native macOS resolution, every Windows pixel is quadrupled. Windows DPI scaling is set to 100% by default. This mode is actually almost the same as older non-retina display, but being contrasted to native retina apps it appears fuzzy, pixelated, blocky, ugly or you name it.​
    • Best for retina
    VM on a retina display is set to the same resolution as macOS, resolution on external non-retina displays is artificially quadrupled, Windows DPI scaling is forced to 200%. This mode was first introduced when Windows 7 did not support per-display DPI, and it may still work better for some apps in Windows 10. Windows applications that support DPI scaling should look as good as native macOS apps. Older Windows apps that don't advertise scaling support are up-scaled by Windows itself and will look fuzzy. Apps that advertise DPI scaling support but don't fully implement it will misbehave in various ways. A particular application that doesn't fully support DPI scaling may behave better with lower scale factor: most will survive at 125% just fine, but fail at 150% or higher. The problem is -- text in Windows is too tiny on a retina display at 125%. There isn't much Parallels can about that.​
    • Best for external displays
    All VM displays are set to native resolution, Windows adjusts DPI scaling automatically per-display which can be overridden (ex. 175%). This works best staring with Windows 10. In this mode you have more control over scaling factor, Windows applications, however, are still required to fully support DPI scaling. Moreover, per-display DPI support is even more complicated.​

    The above assumes that resolution in macOS matches display physical resolution. The matters are complicated by macOS resolution scaling, the thing you can set using macOS display properties. Newer MBPs come configured to what was called "More space" mode before: a 15" with 2880x1800 panel is set 3840x2400 by default. Parallels in turn will set Windows to that logical 3840x2400 resolution, causing text to be a bit small. Some people will try to fix that, setting the "correct" 2880x1800 resolution in Display properties in Windows, just to find out that the display becomes fuzzy and out of focus due to double scaling. Whether or not to use macOS resolution scaling is a matter of personal preference, but I would recommend against manual setting of Windows resolution.

    Starting with Creators update Windows 10 allows per-application scaling overrides:
    Right-click on application icon, open Properties, select Compatibility tab, check "Override high DPI scaling behavior" and select scaling by Application/System/System (enhanced).​
    This may or may not improve application appearance, you'll have to try and see.

    One of Parallels Desktop 13 features is an improvement to scaled mode: guest image is now processed with a filter. This improvement is not universal and largely subjective but that's as much as we could do. Some people even found it to be a degradation, see these threads:
    https://forum.parallels.com/threads/windows-2000-full-screen-is-blurry-on-parallels-13.341595/
    https://forum.parallels.com/threads/disable-anti-aliasing-in-scaled-mode.341709/

    Overall, there's no silver bullet. There's no magic to bring DPI scaling to non-supporting applications except for pushing their developers. And the only reliable way to avoid application misbehavior is to run at Scaled resolution and accept fuzziness.
     
  3. jsblau

    jsblau Bit Poster

    Messages:
    9
    I have the same Mac as you, and I've had screen resolution issues since upgrading from Parallels 11 to Parallels 12 a year ago. Parallels 13 has the same issues: the "Best for Retina display" setting under Hardware > Graphics is useless. It set the scaling to 300% and if I changed it and logged out and back in, it reset to 300%. I worked with Parallels support a year ago on this, but they did not have a solution. They wouldn't even acknowledge that something had changed from Parallels 11.

    Like you, I use "Best for external displays". In Parallels 12 I used Modality view mode, but under Parallels 13 they now call that "Picture in Picture" view mode. In Windows 10, I use display resolution 1680 x 1050 with 100% scaling. That seems to give a reasonable display.
     
  4. jsblau

    jsblau Bit Poster

    Messages:
    9
    I should amend what I said about Parallels support. They DID acknowledge that there was an issue with Best for Retina display on Parallels 12 and said the development team was working on it. Parallels 13 still has the same issues.
     
  5. Tom Kreutz

    Tom Kreutz Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    Many thanks for your rapid response and suggestions! My research suggests that my difficulty in arriving at a good (compromise) screen resolution is caused by the old/broken Windows display model, which wasn't designed for high resolution monitors. Question: does Parallels 13 offer any improvement (over v. 12) to this situation, or is a Windows problem that Parallels can't fix? Will upgrading to v.13 change this situation at all? Thanks again, Tom
     
  6. jsblau

    jsblau Bit Poster

    Messages:
    9
    As far as I can tell, Parallels 13 is not an improvement to the screen resolution issues. And for me, Parallels 13 introduced a new issue: when Windows first boots, it doesn't display the login prompt, instead hanging at the startup screen. Rebooting the VM fixes this, or if I switch to another Mac app while the VM is booting, when I come back it does go to the login prompt.

    In fact, I was looking for articles on this problem when I found your post. I finally did find some forum articles on my problem, primarily suggesting to turn off Windows "fast startup", but nothing has reliably helped. Not a show stopper, but very annoying.
     
  7. Tom Kreutz

    Tom Kreutz Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    Thanks for your observations. Perhaps a Parallels support person will add some pertinent details about v.13 and Retina support (beyond their vague marketing hype). "Hello Parallels Support! Is anybody out there?" ...
     
  8. Bo Koue Callesen

    Bo Koue Callesen Bit Poster

    Messages:
    6
    Have exactly the same issue as jsblau on my MBPr, not able to get the windows login window at all. On my MP all works OK. Hope this get fixed soon, as is - no windows on the MBPr!! Both mac running Desktop 13.
     
  9. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    807
    Tom,
    May I ask you to describe in detail what kind of a complete nightmare you're having?
    Windows 10 VM w/ Best for external display setting at 2880x1800, 175% DPI sounds OK. Does Windows interface look broken? Or do you have a problem with some particular application?
    Could you generate a problem report with the VM showing the issue on screen, and post report ID here. For details on how to generate a report see here http://kb.parallels.com/en/9058.
     
  10. jsblau

    jsblau Bit Poster

    Messages:
    9
    Bo - when you are on the Windows splash screen, try restarting from the Actions menu (Actions > Restart). For me, after the restart I could get to the login screen.

    This particular problem probably belongs on another thread, btw, since it isn't an issue with the display.
     
  11. Tom Kreutz

    Tom Kreutz Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    It's not clear to me that this is a Parallels issue, which motivated my original query about the relative merits of Parallels 12 vs 13 in this regard. Rather, it seems as though Windows 10 provides only a limited degree of customization (for icons size, menu text, etc.), and that is utilized very inconsistently by application developers. As such, I find myself forced between choosing between: 1) my new monitor's native resolution (2880x1800) with ~200% scaling, and the attendant spidery text, tiny icons, tiny menu text, etc., and 2) choosing 1440x900 with 100% scaling, where everything is sized decently (well, naturally consistent with 5 years of Windows 7 in Parallels on an older MacBook Pro with 1440x900 native resolution!), but fuzzy because it's non-native resolution. How ironic and irritating to finally upgrade to a high resolution monitor and get worse resolution; it really impedes my work flow, as I frequently have to magnify things in case 1, or grit my teeth at the fuzziness of case 2! And, unfortunately, the numerous articles on the Parallels site appear to be either irrelevant (e.g. wrong version of Parallels) and/or useless. Sigh. I have trouble believing that I'm the only on who suffers from this really painful situation. Can't you folks provide a Definitive Guide of some sort? Please?!

    Perhaps it would be useful for me to just reproduce my notes on this issue, written last spring when I was building a new Windows 10 VM in Parallels 12:

    "Adjusting the display - detailed notes. In Windows 7 I had been using a display resolution of 1440x900, and DPI scaling of 100%. After upgrading to Windows 10, the Parallels Actions Menu/Configure.../Hardware tab/Graphics pane was set to Resolution: "Scaled - Graphics scaled to full size. Best for legacy apps.", i.e. in Windows the display resolution is 1440x900, and the scaling is 125%). I changed the resolution setting to "Best for Retina display - High-res, high-DPI graphics. Most apps look sharp and clear." and signed out and back in. The display (resolution: 2880x1800, the scaling is locked at 300%) is notably sharper!! However, in Word, Times New Roman is spidery and thin. In Control Panel/Appearance and Personalization/Display I increased the font size to 11 points, with bold for Title bars and menus.
    It's frustrating that the scaling slider bar in Settings/Display/Customize your display is pegged at 300%, and can't be changed. I think this is caused by selecting a Parallels Graphics pane Resolution of "Best for Retina display" - I've inadvertently "fixed" the resolution/scaling values at a setting that Parallels thinks is best. Since I've already tried the "Scaled" setting, I changed it to "Best for external display - Windows manages DPI setting on each display." Aaah! Now we're talking - lots of freedom to experiment! I tried different combinations of resolution and scaling. As expected (from previous experiments), lower than maximum resolution yields an unpleasant fuzziness. The maximum/native/recommended resolution of 2880x1800 seems to be best. I prefer a scaling of 225% or 250%. Now Word looks good (thick, clear type, and nicely sized toolbar); Excel and Desktop too. I think I prefer 225%. Unfortunately, Aspen flow sheets are pretty weird(!), with text that is much too big! (Dang!). Reading pdf files with Adobe Acrobat X Pro is also pretty bad; they are unaccountably fuzzy.
    I then returned to Parallels Actions Menu/Configure.../Hardware tab/Graphics pane resolution: "Scaled - Graphics scaled to full size. Best for legacy apps." (display resolution is 1440x900, scaling is 125%). Now Times New Roman in Word documents is thick, if a bit fuzzy. pdf files in Adobe Acrobat X Pro are very fuzzy. Aspen Plus flow sheets are perfect. Excel is fine.
    Well, I eventually returned to 2880x1800, 250% scaling. I sent an inquiry to AspenTech support, and will try installing the new version of Adobe Acrobat. Times New Roman in Word looks pretty good at 120% zoom. The folks at AspenTech were useless ("Try change the dpi resolution of your monitor to 100% instead of 200%, or try running version 9.0.) The CrashPlan GUI is also totally messed up at a 250% DPI scaling."

    Many thanks in advance to any suggestions you might be able to provide.

    Tom Kreutz
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  12. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    807
    Best Answer
    OK, let me reiterate what you've already know first. Parallels Desktop graphics settings provides the choice between:
    • Scaled
    VM gets quarter of native macOS resolution, every Windows pixel is quadrupled. Windows DPI scaling is set to 100% by default. This mode is actually almost the same as older non-retina display, but being contrasted to native retina apps it appears fuzzy, pixelated, blocky, ugly or you name it.​
    • Best for retina
    VM on a retina display is set to the same resolution as macOS, resolution on external non-retina displays is artificially quadrupled, Windows DPI scaling is forced to 200%. This mode was first introduced when Windows 7 did not support per-display DPI, and it may still work better for some apps in Windows 10. Windows applications that support DPI scaling should look as good as native macOS apps. Older Windows apps that don't advertise scaling support are up-scaled by Windows itself and will look fuzzy. Apps that advertise DPI scaling support but don't fully implement it will misbehave in various ways. A particular application that doesn't fully support DPI scaling may behave better with lower scale factor: most will survive at 125% just fine, but fail at 150% or higher. The problem is -- text in Windows is too tiny on a retina display at 125%. There isn't much Parallels can about that.​
    • Best for external displays
    All VM displays are set to native resolution, Windows adjusts DPI scaling automatically per-display which can be overridden (ex. 175%). This works best staring with Windows 10. In this mode you have more control over scaling factor, Windows applications, however, are still required to fully support DPI scaling. Moreover, per-display DPI support is even more complicated.​

    The above assumes that resolution in macOS matches display physical resolution. The matters are complicated by macOS resolution scaling, the thing you can set using macOS display properties. Newer MBPs come configured to what was called "More space" mode before: a 15" with 2880x1800 panel is set 3840x2400 by default. Parallels in turn will set Windows to that logical 3840x2400 resolution, causing text to be a bit small. Some people will try to fix that, setting the "correct" 2880x1800 resolution in Display properties in Windows, just to find out that the display becomes fuzzy and out of focus due to double scaling. Whether or not to use macOS resolution scaling is a matter of personal preference, but I would recommend against manual setting of Windows resolution.

    Starting with Creators update Windows 10 allows per-application scaling overrides:
    Right-click on application icon, open Properties, select Compatibility tab, check "Override high DPI scaling behavior" and select scaling by Application/System/System (enhanced).​
    This may or may not improve application appearance, you'll have to try and see.

    One of Parallels Desktop 13 features is an improvement to scaled mode: guest image is now processed with a filter. This improvement is not universal and largely subjective but that's as much as we could do. Some people even found it to be a degradation, see these threads:
    https://forum.parallels.com/threads/windows-2000-full-screen-is-blurry-on-parallels-13.341595/
    https://forum.parallels.com/threads/disable-anti-aliasing-in-scaled-mode.341709/

    Overall, there's no silver bullet. There's no magic to bring DPI scaling to non-supporting applications except for pushing their developers. And the only reliable way to avoid application misbehavior is to run at Scaled resolution and accept fuzziness.
     
  13. Tom Kreutz

    Tom Kreutz Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    Gosh! I'm awfully grateful for your very lucid and helpful post. Even with all the challenges to finding the "best" resolution settings, it's really nice to finally understand the the roles and interactions between the individual tools: 1) macOS display properties, 2) Parallels settings, 3) Windows display settings, and 4) application-specific overrides.

    Many thanks!!

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  14. SimoneT2

    SimoneT2 Bit Poster

    Messages:
    4
    this doesn't seems to be accurate in case you're using an external display + coherence mode. I've tried that option, but Windows 10 reports that my external display (a 1920x1080 screen) has actually a 3840x2160 resolution, which in turn means that everything is quite fuzzy (looks like it's been scaled back and forth). And macOS does know about the true resolution of the external display ;-)

    I can only be confortable using the "Scaled" option + the magic boot flags to disable the scaling filters. I do remember that PD 9 or 10 used to work much better in this regard (not sure about 11).
     
  15. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    807
    True. Coherence only works with uniform scaling factor and it had always been the case. I should have mentioned that specifically.
    Regarding Scaled + disabled scaling filter: technically it is identical to what PD9/10 produced. But with some consideration I admit the grass was a bit greener back then.
     
  16. SimoneT2

    SimoneT2 Bit Poster

    Messages:
    4
    yeah, sadly several things were greener back then:
    • Parallels used to remember where to place stuff: on my setup, Windows used to start in Coherence mode and remember that the primary screen was the external one. This broke in PD11 (AFAIR): now it always considers the MBP display as primary, unless I click on the "show" button in the small splash window. In this case, it opens its VM window in the external display and when Coherence kicks off everything is as expected
    • since Win 10 Creators update, almost everytime I turn on the computer and start PD, Win 10 deadlocks at the login screen, with a black screen, like other users have reported in the forum
     
  17. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    807
    Simone,
    support will contact you regarding black screen. And I'll escalate the primary display in Coherence issue as well.
     
  18. CoryF2

    CoryF2

    Messages:
    1
    [​IMG] Has this been resolved yet? Mine is super bad when hooked up to external 1080p monitor and the settings are correct... When I am in outlook or office products it's even WORSE!!!! [​IMG]I'm using MBP with retenia display and parallels 11.
     
  19. tattsenglee@gmail.com

    tattsenglee@gmail.com Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    I have similar issues with Windows 10 on Parallels Desktop 13 for Mac. Previously I have the Resolution dropdown menu when I click on the parallel icon in the Mac menu bar (pls refer to attachment) but now the option is missing. Also the resolution is missing from the configuration window for the Windows 10 virtual machine (pls refer to attachment). How do I get it to show again?
     

    Attached Files:

  20. MilesF1

    MilesF1 Bit Poster

    Messages:
    1
    After much digging around and back-and-forth with Parallels support, I eventually found a solution for the blurry scaled mode.

    Start your VM, suspend it (shutting down will override what we're changing), go to the folder containing your VM (the .pvm file).
    From the file context menu, select "Show Package Contents", then open config.pvs in your favorite text editor.
    Locate the "Video" section of the config file and change "HostScaleFactor" from 2 to 1.
    Save the file, then resume your VM. This will remove the blurring caused by upscaling/resampling.
     
    rubenerd and ChristopherS15 like this.
  21. ChristopherS15

    ChristopherS15

    Messages:
    2
    Thank you for this fix, it worked perfectly.
     
    rubenerd likes this.

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