Addendum July 19, 2015: For a moment I thought this patch to fix the QHD display problem stopped working, then I discovered that in order for it to work you must tweak your display settings in “Change the size of all items” under “Personalize/Display” in Windows 8. I chose medium size although it works with the larger end but does not have any effect at the “Smaller” end of the adjustment.
There is a new post on his site with a new method of overcoming this problem. Read the new post. (December 2020)
QHD Displays are Good and Bad
My old Sony VAIO started showing signs of age and I did not want to be forced to make a quick decision to replace it.
A few months ago I purchased a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro with a very high-resolution screen, they call it QHD+, and the pixel dimensions were 3200 x 1800 pixels. Now that’s a lot of pixels and the screen looked quite good until I installed and ran Photoshop CS6. QHD displays show unreadable, small text.
No problem running the program, but the interface elements were reduced to fire ants making it impossible to read them. I thought I would look around on the vast Internet to see if there was a solution.
Search for Problems in Photoshop
The first place I looked was Adobe forums, and sure enough, there were a lot of similar questions coming from users with similar laptops or very high-resolution display monitors. I have read pretty much all the threads on the forums and the prospect of finding a solution looked dimmer with each message I read, especially those from Adobe staff. The short story was that the situation was very complex and Adobe is working diligently with Microsoft to find an answer and that it was mainly a Microsoft problem.
One possible solution offered was to upgrade to Photoshop CC. Adobe developed a solution on the CC series software but the users of CS6 or earlier were out of luck. Some users were pushing back and the Adobe staff was insisting that the problem is far more complex than they realized. I did more searches but could not find a solution to my problem, so I took the laptop back to BestBuy.
Last week I read about an HP laptop, actually a 2-in-1 which has a display that rotates fully backward to make it a tablet-like device as seen in the opening image. It too came in QHD as well as a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. I decided to get the full HD version because it seemed to have a little longer battery life and the price was about $250 less than the QHD version. It is a very nice laptop (I will write separately about that) and Photoshop runs fine on it.
The interface is a little small but perfectly readable. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a Web site where they offered a solution to this problem. It was so simple I was suspicious, it was silly simple and I could not believe that Adobe would not provide this solution on their forums.
I wanted to try “the solution” offered by Dan Antonielli since it was simple and risk-free. The result was an instant success! Here are the steps, but make sure to read Dan Antonielli’s post for details:
- Press Windows Button and type “regedit”, and then click OK
- Navigate to the following registry subkey
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SOFTWARE / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / SideBySide
- Right-click, select NEW / DWORD (32 bit) Value
- Type PreferExternalManifest and press ENTER.
- Right-click PreferExternalManifest, and then click Modify
- Enter Value Data 1 and select Decimal
- Click OK. Then exit Registry Editor
The solution was so incredibly simple that must have escaped all the Adobe engineers! If you believe that, I have a well-used bridge for sale too! I find it extremely hard to believe that they did not know about this solution, or it was not offered by Microsoft. I even checked the dates of the last posts on the forum thread, they were well after Dan Antonielli posted his solution on his site. Indeed, one user on one of the forums offered this solution and they still ignored it.
Typical Adobe! Instead of helping the users, they decided to put a brick wall in front of the users once more. I truly wish there was a good alternative to Photoshop, they are becoming a bully in the field. When I had a problem with an earlier version of the CS series their support staff wanted me to reformat my C drive! I could not believe it. Needless to say, I did not listen to them and found a solution on my own, when you have some time to kill you may want to read the related posts to that experience.
So, if you have a laptop with a QHD resolution screen or a large display monitor with very high resolution that makes reading the interface difficult, your prayers are answered. Visit Dan Antonielli’s post where he explains what to do step by step, very simple steps by the way.
The only step that needs a bit more attention is editing the registry file. Other than that, you can finish the whole thing in less than 5 minutes! That, by the way, could have been automated by Adobe engineers to a single mouse click on a downloaded file taking only SECONDS to fix the problem. Spread the word, there are a lot of users out there looking for this solution, this VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION.
Hear that Adobe?!!!
Now, this gets even better! The same solution works on other software that may also have a very tiny interface on a large display. All you have to do is to replicate the manifest file, rename it to reflect the other application, and copy it to that program’s folder. That’s it!
Enjoy! I sure did!