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How to run Windows 8 apps on a netbook

Adjust the screen resolution so Modern UI apps work well

Here's how to run Windows 8 Modern UI apps on a netbook.

QUESTION I recently installed Windows 8 on my netbook. I get the following message when I try to run Modern apps: 'This app can't open. The screen resolution is too low for this app to run. Change your screen resolution'. How can I fix this?

HELPROOM ANSWER Windows 8 requires a 1024x768 resolution to correctly operate, particularly in its Modern UI or in Windows 8 apps (previously known as Metro apps). Most netbooks have a lower widescreen resolution of 1024x600 pixels.

There are a couple of workarounds that will allow you to run the apps on a netbook, although neither is entirely satisfactory.

The first is to plug your netbook into an external display capable of at least 1024x768. Modern apps will have no problem running on this monitor when the resolution is appropriately increased.

If you want to run Windows 8 apps on your netbook's built-in screen, you can usually configure the graphics system to run a 1024x768 desktop scaled to 1024x600. This will allow programs to run at their required 1024x768, but it will slow down your graphics performance and cause some quality loss, although text will remain legible. You can switch back to 1024x600 when you're not using Windows 8 apps to improve the screen readability.

You need to make some minor edits to the Windows Registry to enable your netbook to run with a resolution higher than 1024x768. You will also need to be logged into an Administrator account.

Open the Start menu and type regedit into the Search box. Double-click the regedit icon that appears in the search results.

Click Edit, Find in the Registry Editor. Type Display1_DownScalingSupported into the Find what: field.

Click Find Next to locate the Registry key, then double-click it to edit the value. Change the Value Data from 0 to 1 and click Ok.

The Registry Editor may locate more than one Display1_DownScalingSupported; you'll need to edit all instances. Reboot your netbook and you should find that additional display resolution options are available, including 1024x768. Select this option to run your Windows 8 apps.

This method also works with Windows 7, and is useful in some scenarios where certain applications create dialog boxes that won't fit onscreen. You can also use it with remote-control software such as LogMeIn.

For more on the changes in Windows 8 and how to use them visit Windows 8 Advisor. For detailed advice on installing Windows 8 Release Preview, read our article: How to install Windows 8.

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