How To Fix Blurry Apps in Windows 11 (2023)

High-resolution monitors are affordable and commonplace these days, but many applications weren't created with these displays in mind. Using them on such monitors or moving the app's window from a second, low-resolution screen to one that's much higher can lead to a fuzzy appearance and blurry-looking text.

While there is no instant fix for every app that isn't very clear, there are various solutions that you can try to cure those blurry blues for good. Here's our handy guide.

Scaling and DPI

Monitor screens are comprised of millions of tiny dots (a.k.a. pixels) and one measure for how many there are present is known as DPI – dot per inch. Originally, this referred to how many ink dots a printing press would lay down on paper, in one inch of printing.

With computers, it now means how many pixels are used to draw a 1 inch diagonal line on the screen. For many years, Windows has used a standard value of 96 DPI and this was perfectly fine, because the majority of monitors weren't very big or had a high resolution.

For example, a 15-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 has a DPI of 85, and because this is lower than the value Windows uses, apps will look just fine.

Large, high-resolution monitors are commonplace these days

However, you can now get a 27-inch 2560 x 1440 monitor for less than $200. Such a screen has a DPI of around 109 and since that's more dots than what Windows uses by default, every app will be slightly blurry. This is because internally Windows will be trying to draw the shape with a fixed number of dots, but then display it spread out over more dots.

Well, it would be the case if it wasn't for DPI scaling.

For quite a few years, Microsoft has updated Windows to use a variety of tricks to ensure that programs are correctly displayed on monitors with higher DPIs. However, most of these changes are for developers or hidden away from the end user.

Fortunately, there is an option to force Windows to alter the DPI it uses, displaying this as a percentage. At 100%, Windows will use the normal value of 96, but increasing this will everything to use a higher number of dots per inch (e.g. 150% is equal to a DPI of 144).

How to adjust the DPI scaling

Step 1: Press the Windows key + I and then click on the Display section, or click on Start > Settings > System > Display.

Step 2: Scroll down until you see the Scaling option and click on the Menu.
You should see a list of values as shown below:

Step 3: If applications look too small or too blurry, increase this value – it's recommended that you don't exceed 150%, unless you have a very high resolution monitor.

Notice how it says 'Recommended' next to 150%? That's because this image was taken using a 27" 4K monitor. If the screen was larger (e.g. 32") then 125% might be a better fit, but it's really down to personal preference.

Using different scaling values will force everything to change in size, though, and not just applications. The taskbar, notification area, and desktop icons will all shrink or grow, too.

The image above shows how the Recycle Bin compares at 100%, 125%, 150%, 175%, and 200% scaling on a 4K monitor. If you look closely, you'll see that the first two options leave the text underneath the icon looking a little blurry (the image has been zoomed in, though).

But remember, if you go too large with the scaling, then you'll lose a lot of room on your taskbar and desktop in general.

How to change the DPI scaling for a single app

If you've set Windows scaling to how you like it, but are still experiencing problems with a specific application (especially an old one), then you'll need to dig deeper to try and fix the issue.

Start by right-clicking on the icon for the app and click on the Properties option...

This will open up a new window, with a variety of tabs along the top – select the one that says Compatibility.

Towards the bottom of the window, you should see a large button that says Change high DPI settings – click this and another window will open up.

This is where you can override the app's behavior when it comes to DPI scaling.

The first option to try is Program DPI and checking this will force Windows to optimize the app's scaling, either when you first log into the operating system or when you launch the program. It's not overly clear exactly what happens with this option, as Microsoft doesn't provide any helpful tips for it.

It's probably best that you select the "When I open this program" option, simply because you might not use the app very often. If you do, though, then by all means select the first choice.

The second option you can try is the bottom one, labeled High DPI scaling override. This gives you three choices: Application, System, and System (Enhanced). If it's a particularly old program, it may well have problems scaling properly, so select the third choice in the list.

You can check both Program DPI and High DPI scaling override to really force Windows to take control over the program's scaling, but more often than not, the first one is enough to get the job done.

As with all things Windows-related, once you've changed the settings, click on the OK button in the two windows still open, and then restart your computer. Hopefully, the recalcitrant app will behave itself now.

Note that this works on "Win32" programs as UWP apps (Universal Windows Platform) scale 100% properly, all of the time, according to Microsoft.

Other settings for making things clearer

DPI scaling is a thorny problem and there's no magic wand that can be waved to fix every problem that might be encountered. So here are some further things you can try, to improve the clarity of everything on your monitor.

Use the highest refresh rate that you can

Older monitors are often limited to a maximum of 60 Hz, but if yours supports higher values, make sure that Windows is set to using the correct value. If the same section of Settings that you adjust the DPI scaling, scroll down to Advanced display.

Here you'll see the option to adjust the monitor refresh rate. Monitors are designed to run perfectly well at their highest rate, so unless you have very good reasons for not doing so, make sure it's set at the maximum value.

Also, ensure you're using the monitor's native resolution – if the screen has 3840 x 2160 pixels, having it set to something else like 2560 x 1600 will definitely make things look blurry.

Make sure graphics drivers are up-to-date

This might seem like an obvious thing, but when AMD, Intel, and Nvidia update their drivers, they often fix a number of small bugs that can affect specific applications – sometimes it's about stability or performance, but occasionally it can be about images or text not displaying properly.

Disable window transparency and animation effects

While these give Windows a nice visual touch, for some users, having a partially transparent background or a fancy animation running when you open or close them, can make things harder to read.

Open up Settings (Win key + I or Start Menu > Settings) and select Accessibility in the left-hand menu. Now choose Visual Effects in the list on the right-hand side of your screen.

You'll see the option to disable transparency and animation effects here, so click them to deactivate the features. You may even notice that Windows feels a little bit snappier with them off if you're using a budget computer.

Adjust ClearType text to suit your monitor

A Windows default feature, ClearType enhances how text appears on LCD monitors by drawing them at the sub-pixel level rather than working with entire dots. How it all works isn't important but as every monitor is different, the standard settings might not be perfect for you.

Click on the Start Menu and type in "ClearType Tuner," and then click on the app shown (it will have a little colored icon next to it). The tuning program first gives you the option to enable ClearType, if it isn't already, followed by which monitors you want to tune it for if you have multiple screens.

Then, you'll go through 5 tests – just like when you're getting your eyes tested by an optician, select the panel that looks the clearest for you, clicking next each time until you've gone through all of the tests. If you're not happy with the results, then go back and try it again a few times until you have everything matched to your monitor.

Hopefully, with this guide, you'll have fixed any pesky apps that have been giving you visual problems. Very old apps may be beyond saving but with luck, they should be few in number.

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How do I fix blurry apps on Windows 11? ›

How to Fix Blurry Screen Issues on Windows 11
  1. Restart Your System. ...
  2. Tweak the Display Resolution and Scaling. ...
  3. Enable ClearType Text. ...
  4. Change Application Graphics Preference. ...
  5. Switch to the Best Appearance Settings. ...
  6. Adjust App DPI Settings. ...
  7. Update Your Graphics Driver. ...
  8. Roll Back the Latest Windows Update.
Jan 30, 2023

How do you let Windows try to fix apps so they aren't blurry? ›

In the search box on the taskbar, type advanced scaling settings and select Fix apps that are blurry. In Fix scaling for apps, turn on or off Let Windows try to fix apps so they're not blurry.

Why does Windows 11 look blurry? ›

A blurry or out-of-focus monitor in Windows 11 can be the result of various causes. One of the most common causes is an incorrect resolution which often leads to a blurred image, especially when using multiple monitors. An incorrect DPI setting can also cause the monitor to become blurry on Windows 11.

Why do apps look blurry? ›

The main reason is display scaling that is a good feature introduced by Microsoft. But sometimes, it results in blurry apps. This happens since not all the programs need to support the scaling feature. If you are using a dual monitor, you may be more susceptible to this problem.

How do I improve quality on Windows 11? ›

How to Improve Audio and Sound Quality on a Windows 11 PC
  1. Enable Audio Enhancement in Windows 11. ...
  2. Turn on Spatial Sound in Windows 11. ...
  3. Use Third-party Sound Booster and Enhancer. ...
  4. Update Audio Device Driver. ...
  5. Improve Mic Input Audio Quality.
Jan 20, 2022

Why is my screen resolution blurry? ›

A blurry monitor can occur for several reasons such as bad resolution settings, non-matching cable connections or a dirty screen. This can be frustrating if you are unable to read your display properly.

How do I turn off blur in Windows? ›

Under Computer Configuration, click the down arrow next to Administrative Templates to expand it. In Administrative Templates, expand the System folder and click on Logon. Then in the right pane, scroll down to the following policy: Show clear logon background. If it's set to Not configured, you'll need to change it.

Why does my window look blurry? ›

Go to the left-pane menu, then select Display. Move to the right pane and click the 'Advanced scaling settings' link under the Scale and Layout section. Toggle the switch under the 'Let Windows try to fix apps so they're not blurry' option to On. This will fix scaling for blurry apps on your computer.

How do I fix corrupted Windows apps? ›

Repair apps and programs in Windows
  1. Select Start > Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Apps & features in Settings.
  2. Select the More icon next to the app you want to fix.
  3. Select the Advanced options link under the name of the app (some apps don't have this option). On the page that opens, select Repair if it's available.

How do I force my screen resolution in Windows 11? ›

View display settings in Windows
  1. Select Start > Settings > System > Display.
  2. If you want to change the size of your text and apps, choose an option from the drop-down menu next to Scale. ...
  3. To change your screen resolution, use the drop-down menu next to Display resolution.

Does Windows 11 have Display issues? ›

Screen flickering in Windows 11 is usually caused by a display driver issue or incompatible app. To determine whether a display driver or app is causing the problem, check to see if Task Manager flickers.

How do I change the scaling in Windows 11? ›

Here's how to do it.
  1. Press Win + I on your keyboard to open the Settings menu.
  2. From the left pane of the window, click the System tab.
  3. Click Display on the right side.
  4. Scroll down to the Scale and layout section.
  5. Next to the Scale option, click the dropdown menu and change the scaling.
Feb 7, 2023

Why does everything look blurry on my laptop? ›

Screen Resolution

An incorrect resolution or Scale can cause your screen to appear blurry. There is a possibility that a corrupt driver, game settings, etc., caused the system resolution settings to change.

Does Windows 11 run smoothly? ›

Windows 11 does a lot under the hood to speed up a PC's performance. The same PC will generally run faster on Windows 11 than Windows 10. But no matter how zippy your Windows 11 may be, it can run faster. And keep in mind that PCs tend to slow down over time, and you want to make sure that doesn't happen to yours.

Why is 1080p blurry? ›

This occurrence usually happens when you install a new Graphics card on the system. If you have poorer display quality on the display when you set it to the recommended resolution which is 1080p, try to uninstall the graphics driver via the device manager.

How do I fix my screen clarity? ›

Change the screen resolution
  1. Stay in, or open, Display settings. Open your Display settings.
  2. Scroll to Scale and layout.
  3. Find Display resolution, and then choose an option. It's usually best to stick with the one that's marked (Recommended).

How do I know if my Windows 11 is corrupted? ›

To repair Windows 11 using CMD, you will first need to open the Command Prompt by searching for it in the start menu. Once open, type in the following command and hit enter: sfc /scannow. This will scan your system for any corrupt files and attempt to fix them.

How do I repair Windows 11? ›

Perform system restore
  1. Open the run box by pressing the Windows key + R and type rstrui.exe.
  2. Once system restore windows open, normally it will suggest a restore point (sometimes it doesn't) if it does, select the 2nd option and hit next.
  3. Select your desired restore point date and time and hit next and finish.
Aug 22, 2022

How do I fix Windows 11 problems? ›

While these steps are not guaranteed to solve every possible problem, they tend to resolve many Windows 11 issues.
  1. Run Windows Update. Your first step should be to run Windows Update. ...
  2. Make sure that the PC has sufficient storage space. ...
  3. Run System File Checker. ...
  4. Run a troubleshooter. ...
  5. Roll back the system. ...
  6. Fully reset the PC.
Jan 20, 2023

What is the best resolution for Windows 11? ›

Changing screen resolution in Windows 11 isn't all about downgrading. You can easily change your display to 1920×1080 resolution to get the best picture results. If your monitor and device hardware support higher formats, you might also go for the 2560×1440 resolution.

How do I increase screen resolution beyond maximum Windows 11? ›

Click the Display tab. Then click the Resolution drop-down menu on the General Settings tab. Choose a resolution option on the drop-down menu. To set customized resolutions, click Custom Resolutions tab.

How do I enable 4k resolution in Windows 11? ›

To change resolutions on Windows 11, go to Settings > Display. Under “Scale & layout,” use the “Display resolution” setting to change resolutions.

Why is my screen glitching Windows 11 weird? ›

Screen flickering in Windows is usually caused by display drivers. To update your display driver, you'll need to start your PC in safe mode, uninstall your current display adapter, and then check for driver updates. Start your PC in safe mode, then select and hold (or right-click) Start and select Device Manager.

Is Windows 11 good for bad PC? ›

Windows 11 minimum system requirements is 8th gen i3 (or equivalent), 4GB of RAM and 64GB total storage space, a 64-bit CPU, UEFI boot and TPM 2.0 (except for OEMs for the TPM). For a system barely meeting the minimum requirements any variant of Windows 11 should work fine.

Why can't I increase my screen resolution? ›

Inaccessible screen resolution settings are usually caused by corrupted or incompatible display drivers. So, you'll need to either update or reinstall the display drivers to tackle this issue.

How do I change the resolution of an app in Windows 11? ›

View display settings in Windows
  1. Select Start > Settings > System > Display.
  2. If you want to change the size of your text and apps, choose an option from the drop-down menu next to Scale. ...
  3. To change your screen resolution, use the drop-down menu next to Display resolution.

How do I fix transparency in Windows 11? ›

To enable the transparency effect on Windows 11, follow the below steps.
  1. Open Settings using Win + I.
  2. Choose Personalization from the left panel.
  3. Click on Colors.
  4. Enable the toggle next to Transparency effects.
Jun 4, 2022

How do I create a resolution in Windows 11? ›

Change the screen resolution
  1. Stay in, or open, Display settings. Open your Display settings.
  2. Scroll to Scale and layout.
  3. Find Display resolution, and then choose an option. It's usually best to stick with the one that's marked (Recommended).

How do I get 3440x1440 resolution from Windows 11? ›

You could try the following steps:
  1. Change resolution to 3440 x 1440.
  2. Enter monitor OSD menu - Image - Screen Size.
  3. Set the ratio to 21:9.
Jan 23, 2022

How do you change the look of your apps? ›

Tap Icon style. Tap Icon theme. Select the icon pack that you'd like to apply. This automatically changes all the app icons on your phone.

How do I change the look of apps on my computer? ›

To change an application icon

Right-click the application, and select Properties from the pop-up menu. On the General tab, click the Browse button next to Icon Path. Select the desired icon, or browse to another location to select the icon. After you've selected the icon, click Open.

What is transparency effect? ›

Transparency effects make overlapping screen objects blend seamlessly with each other and the background instead of sticking out like a sore thumb, as is the case when they're opaque. But if you don't like the transparency effects for some reason, you can disable them.

How do you fix lack of transparency? ›

Transparency: an open, honest and direct communication with co-workers and business associates.
  1. Start by being transparent with your project teams. ...
  2. Explain your decisions. ...
  3. Develop a transparent work processes. ...
  4. Find like minds. ...
  5. Make yourself available. ...
  6. Know when to keep information to yourself.

How do I reset Cleartype in Windows 11? ›

Well-known member
  1. search 'advanced system settings'- In results click advanced system settings control panel- under 'Performance' click settings- change it to "adjust for best appearance'
  2. adjust clear type settings.
  3. adjust scale.
  4. adjust refresh rate.
Jul 4, 2022

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