Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby jamesn » 15. Jun 2019, 22:44

System Information
MacBookPro14,2 macOS 10.14.5 Host System
Virtualbox Version: 6.0.8 r130520 (Qt5.6.3)
Windows 10 Pro 1803 Guest
Guest Additions Installed 6.0.0r127566

Issue
Text in general appears blurred/not sharp, and the overall sharpness of icons etc on my Windows 10 guest system is not good, and I'm not entirely sure why...

e.g.
Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 22.35.59.png
Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 22.35.59.png (10.41 KiB) Viewed 843 times
Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 22.37.28.png
Screenshot 2019-06-15 at 22.37.28.png (39.34 KiB) Viewed 843 times


My Mac display settings are set to "Scaled" and "More Space", and the resolution of the Windows 10 system is set to 1680x1050 when in full screen mode. I was having issues with the responsiveness of the guest machine too initially but following some of the steps here forums._virtualbox._org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=91809#p442505 (new user so can't post proper URLs) seemed to improve those. However, the sharpness of text and images/icons is still not good.

The display settings for the guest in the Display tab are set to:

Video Memory: 256 MB (all the way to the right of the green section)
Scale Factor: 200% All Monitors
Graphics Controller: VBoxVGA
Acceleration: 3D and 2D enabled

Any advice on whether I've got some settings wrong somewhere would be great - I attach a log file of just starting the Virtual Machine, logging in and letting it load then shutting down in case that's helpful.

Many thanks
Attachments
Windows 10 Pro-2019-06-15-22-26-52.log.zip
(33.64 KiB) Downloaded 13 times
jamesn
 
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby jamesn » 21. Jun 2019, 00:40

I've done some further playing around, trying to change both the scaling in VirtualBox settings and scaling factors on the Windows guest system to various different combinations, and nothing so far has worked. Unfortunately lots of the solutions online reference the now removed option to "Use Unscaled HiDPI Output" - although from what I can tell, version 6.0 is meant to have better support for HiDPI anyway, so I assume that what this option did is now built in somehow?

Additionally, it seems that when using a scaling factor of less than 200% in the Machine Display settings, and having the guest in full screen, or with Auto Resize Guest Display enabled, VirtualBox can't cope, and I get views such as below when I move the cursor within the guest. The machine still works, but is obviously not useable with those settings - is this just because my host machine can't cope?

Broken 100%.jpg
Broken 100%.jpg (109.02 KiB) Viewed 805 times
jamesn
 
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby socratis » 21. Jun 2019, 16:44

Can you please post the .vbox for the VM, as well as your "VirtualBox.xml" from "/Users/<you>/Library/VirtualBox/VirtualBox.xml"? ZIP them and post them.
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby jamesn » 21. Jun 2019, 19:53

Here are the requested files, thanks.
Attachments
Archive 2.zip
(3.98 KiB) Downloaded 14 times
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby socratis » 23. Jun 2019, 02:44

What I wanted to see from the "VirtualBox.xml" (and I did) was:
<ExtraDataItem name="GUI/ScaleFactor" value="2"/>
You have a 200% zoom factor for your HiDPI monitor. Good...

Now, on the "Windows 10 Pro.vbox" I saw the exact same thing:
<ExtraDataItem name="GUI/ScaleFactor" value="2"/>
which is not a bad thing on itself, but that means that since you modified the Per-VM scale factor, the Global one is kind of ignored.

<ExtraDataItem name="GUI/Fullscreen" value="true"/>
You need to get out of FullScreen and back to normal, windowed mode until your issues are resolved.

<ExtraDataItem name="GUI/LastGuestSizeHint" value="3034,1878"/>
<ExtraDataItem name="GUI/LastGuestSizeHint" value="1280,1024"/>
Compare your screen size with mine. You should start smaller, normal and then aim for higher after your issues are resolved.

So, get out of FullScreen mode and change the size of your Win10 guest to 1280x1024, a nice manageable window.

For the settings within your guest now, you should set the "Custom scaling level" to its defaults of 100% because I have the feeling that this is what's affecting the sharpness.

Those are my settings and it looks fine. See if it look OK in windowed mode first...
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socratis
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby jamesn » 23. Jun 2019, 15:20

Right, so I've changed to Windowed Mode , but in the Windows 10 guest settings I cannot seem to find any way to set it to 1280x1024, it will only let me choose 1280x960, and various other resolutions, but 1280x1024 never shows up, despite resizing the VirtualBox window with both "Auto-Resize Guest Display" option in the View menu turned on and off.
Edit: Setting the maximum guest size in Global Display preferences to "None" fixed this issue

  • The blurriness is still visible in windowed mode too at this resolution (and any others I choose).
  • I've also set the scale in the guest to 100% both in the Default Scaling picker (on the Display page, under Scale and layout heading) and under the Advanced Scaling settings by typing 100 as a Custom scaling, neither seems to make a difference.
Additionally, in Windowed Mode, I see the odd issue where sometimes if I drag the VirtualBox window, the host display remains in the same place on my screen, whilst the VirtualBox window moves behind it - the only way to get the two to match again is to drag to resize the window... I don't know if this is indicative of a larger problem perhaps - but it doesn't happen consistently and I haven't worked out what triggers it.
Edit It happened again after I set resolution in the guest to 1280x1024 and the window did its resizing to accommodate

Edit Also additionally, I see grey lines appearing as shown below when hovering over buttons in the settings menu, and in other selection buttons, not always consistently, so it would seem that something is really not right with the display settings or capability somewhere within my setup...
Screenshot 2019-06-23 at 18.02.17.png
Screenshot 2019-06-23 at 18.02.17.png (22.07 KiB) Viewed 732 times
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Re: Blurry Text and Icons on Windows 10 Guest on macOS Host

Postby jamesn » 13. Jul 2019, 15:12

As an update to this, I've tried updating to the latest test build 6.0.9 (with the corresponding Extension Pack and Guest Additions) and am still seeing the issue.

I've also tried creating a new Virtual Machine with a fresh installation of Windows on, and still see the same issue, whether I use the default settings when setting up a new VM, the same settings as my original Windows VM, and trying various combinations of other display settings, and nothing appears to help.

Any further advice on what I could try next?
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