Best practices for RC bitmaps on high-resolution monitors?


  • Hi. We have an application that is over 10 years old.  It runs on Mac and Windows desktops, and has a GUI based on dozens of PNG bitmap resources (listed in our app RC file).  Some of our customers are starting to use high-resolution monitors, such as Apple Retina monitors.   When running with a high-resolution monitor, some OS software (display driver?) automatically "doubles" the bitmaps to enlarge them, so the windows/controls don't look too tiny on the screen.   That works fine, but it causes the bitmaps to look a bit blurry (each pixel in our PNG files becomes 2x2 pixels on the monitor).  Our customers are asking us to fix the blurriness.  

    We found a solution for OSX (online at  Online instructions for high-res ). The OSX solution is for apps to include _two_ copies of each PNG bitmap in their resources: one low-res and one high-res.  (The high-res bitmaps are 4x larger than the low-res).

    My question is:  What is the Windows best practices for handling high-resolution monitors such as Retina?   Should  we include two copies of each PNG bitmap in our RC?  Or do we include only the high-resolution bitmaps?  If we include only the high-res bitmaps:  will the display drivers know to "down-sample" when displaying on low-resolution monitors?

    Friday, March 03, 2017 3:01 AM


All replies

  • See:

    Writing DPI-Aware Desktop and Win32 Applications

    My portal and blog about VSX:<br/> Twitter:<br/> MZ-Tools productivity extension for Visual Studio:

    Friday, March 03, 2017 5:19 AM
  • Carlos:  Thanks, that is exactly what I needed.   It looks like OSX and Windows are taking different approaches here:  It looks like Windows is more flexible:  permitting variable GUI scaling in response to any DPI (but at the cost of requiring all application sw to have some new logic to handle high-resolution); whereas OSX has its display drivers automatically enlarging the all GUI components by 2x linear (when hi-res monitor is detected) without any changes to application software. 
    Friday, March 03, 2017 2:49 PM
  • Hi friend,

    Glad to know your have resolved your issue, which could be helpful for others who have the same issue as yours.



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    Monday, March 06, 2017 2:47 AM