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Last updated: Sep 13, 2017 13:51

By Asaf Saar

Learn how to fix the small icons problem of Eclipse when running on the latest generation of laptops with very high screen resolution


Last generation laptops and tablets like Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Dell XPS and alike utilize HiDPI screens.

HiDPI refers to the latest generation of high resolution displays.
For example, the Surface Book has a screen resolution of 3000x2000, the Surface Pro 4 of 2736x1824 and the Dell XPS utilizes an outstanding QHD display with resolution of 3200x1800.

While that's make for an amazing working devices it brings up a major challenge for the Eclipse IDE, that's because it does not scale well the icons and it makes IDE almost impossible to work with.

Here's how Eclipse IDE looks on Surface Pro 4 tablet, the application icons are very small .

Eclipse Mars IDE on Surface Pro 4, application icons are tiny


 

Apparently the problem a known issue in the Eclipse community, reported as a bug since 11/2013, yet without proper solution yet.

 

However, a solution was lately proposed by Matthew Cochrane, he has discovered that a manifest file can be used to modify the run time environment of the IDE and by that enlarge the IDE icons, making the IDE usable again as it would have been on screen with common DPI and screen resolutions.

 

The fix requires adding a new DWORD value to the Windows Registry and saving an eclipse manifest XML file (attached here) in your eclipse installation folder.

 

Here's a three steps guide to the fix:

 

  • Download the attached eclipse.exe.manifest file and save it in the same folder where your eclipse.exe file is located, for example, on my machine it's under C:\Dev\Eclipse

eclipse.exe.manifest

 

  • Launch Windows regedit app
  1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SideBySide\
  2. From the right side of the Registry Editor, right click the mouse and select New/DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  3. Set the name of the new value to PreferExternalManifest, with value of 1
  4. See screenshot below how the new key is set


 

    • That's it, restart Eclipse

    Here's how Eclipse looks like following the changes, again usable.

    Enjoy!
    Asaf

 

Eclipse Mars IDE on Surface Pro 4, following the registry change and applying the manifest file, application icons are back to normal size.