How to enable Windows 8 Metro style apps on an older netbook

Windows 8 with Metro apps

Update: The guide below was written for Windows 8 Developer Preview and will not work with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview released on February 29th, 2012.

But you can still enable Metro style apps on Windows 8 Consumer Preview — you just need to download a graphics driver that lets you adjust your screen resolution from the Intel download center.

If you have a netbook with an Intel Atom N270 or N280 processor, after installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview, search for the download center for the latest graphics driver for GMA 950. If you’re using a netbook with an Intel Atom N450, N455, N550, or N570 chip then you’ll need a driver for GMA 3150 graphics.

Original article:

Windows 8 features a new user interface designed for touch-friendly devices such as tablets. But you don’t need a touchscreen to use the new Metro Style user interface. You just need a display with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels or higher.

Unfortunately that rules out almost every netbook ever made, since most netbooks have 1024 x 600 pixel or lower resolution displays. That’s a shame, because Metro apps would look really good on these devices. Not only are Metro apps designed with nice big, finger-friendly graphics, but they also tend to be full-screen apps which take advantage of every pixel on your device. That’s something that’s even more useful if you have a low resolution display.

The good news is that if you’ve downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview to test on your netbook, there’s a simple registry hack that may allow you to adjust the screen resolution and run Metro apps. I’ve tested this hack on an Asus Eee PC 1000H netbook with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and GMA 950 graphics. If you have a different chipset your results may vary.

1. Run Regedit

From the Windows 8 Start Screen, just start typing “regedit” without the quotes.

The Registry editor appear on the left side of the screen. Tap it to launch regedit.

2. Adjust the Display1_DownScalingSupported setting

Hit the Ctrl+F keys on your keyboard to bring up a search box, and search for “Display1_DownScalingSupported” without the quotes.

Once your computer finds that entry, double-click it to bring up a box that should have a 0 in it. Change that number to a 1 and then click OK to close the box.

Now hit F3 to search for any additional instances of the Display1_DownScalingSupported setting and change those form 0 to 1 as well. On my system there were two entries.

Once you’re done, go ahead and exit the regedit program.

3. Reboot your computer

4. Adjust your screen resolution

Once your computer restarts, click the Desktop button from the Start Screen, right-click on the desktop, and select “Screen resolution” from the context menu.

In the Resolution drop-down box you should notice new options including 1152 x 864 and 1024 x 768. Choose one of these new options.

That should do it. Now when you go to the Start Screen you should be able to tap on Internet Explorer, Weather, and other apps and load the full Metro style versions of those apps. Now you can try out the Metro user interface on an older netbook.

The bad news is that your screen still has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels or less. All this hack does is try to trick your computer into thinking you have a higher resolution display using some funky pixel techniques. The end result is some text and graphics might look stretched, cramped, or just downright awful.

I kind of hope Microsoft either changes the screen resolution requirements in future builds of Windows 8, or pressures netbook makers to release computers with higher resolution displays starting next year.

Note that you may also be able to alter your screen resolution without making any registry hacks by downloading an alternate driver for your GMA 950 graphics processor.

  • aftermath

    It’s stunning how many times we hear mumblings and grumblings about this minimum screen resolution requirement for Metro apps.  For the record, I don’t personally agree with such things, but I understand the spirit in which the requirement is defensible and the mumblings and grumblings are misplaced.  Obviously, the requirement is there to provide assurance of some target user experience, and that’s Microsoft’s prerogative.  Moreover, panel resolution is an immutable property, and thus it seems realistic to make some a priori hardware contracts rather than resort to tricks in software, like this hack, that could undermine the consistency of the user experience (once again, I don’t agree with this, but I can accept it for what it is).  Google does something similar in certifying which devices can have access to officially distributed apps.  It’s just a stupid and just as understandable.

    In contrast, it seems that nobody ever mumbles or grumbles about something like driver availability and support.  This is unconscionable, as the DECISION to provide or withhold drivers is at best arbitrary and at worst a business decision with the consumers’ interests abandoned in favor of forced obsolesce and profits.  Still, in the delusional world of Android we are are CONSTANTLY forced to hear about this cool piece of hardware or that cool version of an operating system when inevitably the situation of concern over the drivers that bind the two together is never even uttered.  No mumbling.  No grumbling.  Sadly, it’s even a completely fixable situation, unlike a screen resolution requirement, with a really poor argument in support of the status quo, unlike preserving a vendor’s vision of consumer experience.

  • Anonymous

    More power efficient screen technology and Intel apparently pushing eDP to replace LVDS should mean that we shall see higher res screens at some point come to netbooks as they become more practical.

    They just may be also waiting for Windows 8 to come out to have a OS than can properly scale well to smaller screens without customization.

    Cedar Trail GMA already adds support for eDP 1.1, they just need version 1.3 to support better power saving features like self refreshing screens, but that should be part of Silvermont when it comes out in 2013.  Along with other enhancements and a even better GMA to better support the higher resolutions.

    Though, we may see a few 10″ models with HD screens like the Acer Aspire One 522 has in the interim.

  • Kamp

    It seems if you set your netbook to a higher resolution, start a few apps and then change it back to native, you can still run those apps (until reboot). The apps look really nice even in native reso, so I really hoper Microsoft will enable lower resolutions, because Windows 8 seems perfect for my netbook in NATIVE (1024×600) resolution.

  • John

    Please help.
    If I search through my registrer, it cant find anythinh.. :(

    Please help..

    • Cameron Dyke

      install your GPU drivers first. 

  • Tsailas

    There is no downscalingsupported option in the registry for me as well and if I tryto instal an other driver I loose the rotation option
    my netbook is msi wind u100
    Any suggestions ?

    • Cameron Dyke

      install your GPU drivers first. (your correct, factory ones. not an “other driver”. Or, try a win 7 driver)

    • eatmorespam

      Have you tried looking for it manually? I tried using search to find mine, but search was unable to find it. But upon digging through the registry, I found it. First, I went to this part of the registry:

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlVideoIn here, there were several folders like {01BF972C-B735-…}. On your computer, the name will probably be different. Inside this folder there was another called 0000. If you click on 0000, you should see a bunch of keyword entries, including Display1_DownScalingSupported.

  • Madgpol

    Worked a treat on Samsung NC10. Found 2 entries

  • Lalo_brit9

    Hi, now my metro thing is all in another language, German maybe? Any ideas of what to do :)

  • Jamie_Dykeman

    Hi on my acer aspire one i downloaded windows 8 but my screen resolution is lower than what its suppose to be and is the highest that it can be

                                    Thanks for your help,
                                             Jamie Dykeman

  • M_alx2001

    I own this model asus eee pc 904hd but I did not find an update for VGA Intel (R) 915GM_GMS910_GMLIntel (R) 915GM_GMS910_GML Please help to find a solution

  • Benster82

    This actually does work on Windows 8 Consumer Preview! Thanks for putting this on the web! It was driving me crazy that I had windows 8 and I couldn’t use any metro apps! So thanks again.

  • jc

    Is this applicable for a netbook with AMD cpu?

    I can’t find “Display1_DownScalingSupported” on my registry.
    I have an Acer Aspire One 522 with AMD C50.

    I need help… :(

  • Gak

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found your article, and there was my little eeepc n the staring role . This was right on, so now I can putz around with Windows 8.

    Thanks a ton!

    I just hope my original Linux machine has the “what it takes” to pull this off .

  • Vaibhavjswl
  • Tech man

    Worked 100%100%>>>>>
    also on my Vpad 10 with win 8 preview
    thx man

    • jason

      hey can you tell me how can you do that i use vpad10 too can you tell me???

  • meb’din

    thanks a lot it works very welll

  • http://www.facebook.com/mav.galvez Michael Allan Galvez

    The instructions on the original article works fine with the Consumer Preview running on Acer Aspire One A150,

  • ssnaik

    I Have Asus EEE PC with GMA 3150. When I change the values to 1 and reboot, after the initial Windows screen the display goes blank and remains blank. When I revert to 0 after going through repair, the display is back to 1040×600 but Windows 8 tiles cannot be used.

    I had tried this in Win 7 before loading Windows 8 and I got the higher resolution to work. But after loading win 8 I cannot do it.
    So right now I cannot use win 8, but only as a desktop in 1024×600 mode.

    • Dvaldriz

      same model and the exact same thing happened to me… can you please tell me how you reverted it back?!

      • ssnaik

        I just reinstalled Win 7. Looks like windows 8 cannot be used with Metro UI on this Netbook

      • justin.merdeka

        I am having the same problem, how do you get it to come out of black screen and start up?

  • http://www.facebook.com/knoxcameron Knox Cameron

    FYI this trick DOES work with Windows 8 RTM (i.e. the final released version) on a Hewlett Packard Mini 2140 Notebook PC (netbook), using the display driver that was automatically installed by Windows Update. So far it looks good, but I am testing with a VHD install before I decide whether to upgrade the main OS from Win7.

  • http://twitter.com/harryhersbach Harry Hersbach

    I will try this today on my Eee pc 1000HD 900 Mhz Celeron, as Windows 8 is working very fast. If the type OEM Windows 8 has a good price i will buy it to put on this Netbook.

  • Sean O

    I have a toshiba NB205. Using this method worked perfect on windows 7. I installed windows 8, resolution went back to normal. Now I tried this again with windows 8, and it won’t work. Regedit went through, settings gives the option of increased displays, but when I apply the new resolution, computer crashes and resets. What’s wrong? Thanks!

  • JTC29

    When I went to change the 0 to 1 I discovered it had already been changed. So how can I solve this?? Can’t find anything to help! I need help! :)

  • nigel

    hy ya all I did tis for my boss on his a eee pc and it worked fine windows 8 now works like a charm thanks a lot for all your hard work :-) merry crimbo

  • dialogue

    Got a black screen after logging on using this method. How can I get back to windows 8 without having to re-install the os again?

  • SS

    The solution mentioned here worked but only temp. Every time i would click on metro apps, my comp would hung and reboot on its own. Thanks for the solution that actually does not work on the long run.

  • Henri B

    I have a Samsung N-10 bought in France about five years ago. It came with Windows XP and would not work with Vista. But last year I upgraded it to Windows 7 and just decided to move it to Windows 8 Pro. I faced the problem of screen resolution. No help was available from Samsung or Microsoft. I strictly followed the instructions from “liliputing” and it worked exactly as promised for Windows 8 Metro style.

    Thanks a lot.

  • hobbitqueen

    Note that if you set it to 1024×768, you can fix some of the squishy text/graphics issue by setting your magnification to 125%. Looks normal, works fine, and the store works. Got this working on an aspire one with N270. Didn’t actually need to install the suggested graphics thing. Regedit of Display1_DownScale from 0 to 1 worked just fine on Windows 8 Pro.

  • Jason

    this can use in ViewSonic Viewpad 10 ????

  • rajesh

    thanks,it works

  • Mafia@Andre

    I have been searching for the “Display1_DownScalingSupported in the registry and I can’t find it… Can someone please tell me where precisely to go (eg: run – regedit – HKEY_CURRENT… etc) PLEASE!!

    • hubert from france

      Search for Display1 and you’ll find it. Among others

  • Anne

    i have installed GMA 3600 in my netbook and change the Display1_DownScalingSupported to 1. it works but my netbook hungs up then it automatically restarts. :-) dont know how to fix. i need help. my processor is N2600

  • DIN

    Thank You So much for ur kind of information…wow..UNBELEIVABLE…… my lovely small mini laptop SAMSUNG N150PLUS working 1024*768 & 1152*864.Resolution.Now i can easily install Video Edit Prog. UleadVideo Studio on my Mini Laptop.Once Again thank you so much for this method.

  • DIN

    my lovely small mini laptop SAMSUNG N150PLUS working 1024*768 & 1152*864 of Resolution.WINDOWs 8 working very flexi in my MINILAP….THANX

  • Andrea Borman

    It did not work for me. first of all the search did not bring up the registry key so I had to locate it manually. When I found it I was able to do the edit,but when I clicked on the Metro apps my screen turned black and my computer kept on restarting. It did that every time I tried. So Metro apps don’t work at all on my netbook. I have Windows 8 Pro BTW.
    Andrea Borman.

  • Lux Christian

    Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 600 for Windows 7* 32-​bit

    Installs graphics driver version 8.14.6.3077 for the integrated graphics controller of Intel® chipsets for Windows 7* 32-bit.

    OS: Windows 7 *, Windows 7 (32-bit)*1/17/20128.​?14.​?6.​?3077

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/SearchResult.aspx?lang=eng&ProductFamily=Graphics&ProductLine=Netbook+and+Tablet+Graphics&ProductProduct=Intel®+Graphics+Media+Accelerator+600+(Intel®+GMA+600)&ProdId=3303&LineId=3332&FamilyId=39

    Der geht auf Windows 8.1 Pro
    ViewSonic 10Pro

  • http://hondurashistory.yolasite.com/ Dummy Exploited Survivor Think

    Asus eee pc 900, but the question is: the camera, wifi, microphone works with windows 8?

  • H4R0

    Habs bei dem Asus e00019 versuchst, beim hochfahren nur noch schwarzer bildschirm, kann man nichts mehr machen. Muss neu aufgesetzt werden …