It’s difficult to express how excited I am to share this fix. I realize that it will only be useful to a small number of people in the world, but for those few, those frustrated few — may it bring them the same joy it gave me.

The Problem

Lenovo Yoga 2 ProA while ago, I bought a beautiful little machine: a Lenovo Yoga 2. It is a sweet, light-weight machine with a gorgeous quad-HD display and a lot of flexibility. Touchscreen. Like a tablet and laptop in one. Powerful enough to do anything I want it to do when I travel.

But when I installed Scrivener (the world’s best word processing software for writers), the display was all wrong. The dialog boxes were super small, the icons nearly microscopic.

You’d think that it was just a setting in the Control Panel that could be changed. But you’d be wrong. Long, long, long story short (months of asking Scrivener support forums if there was a fix and hearing the same answer: nope, not yet; trying a half dozen proposed solutions like special software that changes the screen resolution when launching Scrivener; etc etc etc), there wasn’t anything I could do.

scrivener-high-res-before-fix

The Hero

Lee Powell

Lee Powell

Then I happened to cross paths with Lee Powell, the programmer behind Scrivener for Windows and One Stop for Writers. Yeah, that Lee Powell!

Understand, it’s not like I asked him about this problem right away, because that would just be rude, right? Can you imagine?

“Oh, hi! You’re Lee Powell? The maker of Scrivener for Windows? Hey, did you know that your software display sucks on high-res laptops? Any chance you can you fix that for me?”

No. I was not going to be that woman.

Nonetheless, when it seemed like a good time to mention it, I asked whether a fix might be on the horizon. And guess what? This guy isn’t just a fabulous programmer who has saved the global population of Windows writers from the lack of Scrivener, he also happened to know something that I didn’t find in months of searching for an answer. (Go figure. He is the expert, after all!)

He said that until a fix comes out, I might try a solution that worked for someone else who was trying to get Adobe software to display correctly on a Lenovo*.

It worked.

scrivener-high-res-fix-comparison01

scrivener-high-res-fix-comparison02mainedit

Here’s how you can do it, too.

The Fix

First, tell Windows to look for an external manifest file. Then create the external manifest files.

We’re going to venture into the Windows registry editor, so WATCH OUT. You can totally do this (I did it!), but tread lightly. The first step is always backing up the registry file that’s already there.

Backup Your Registry

  1. Press Windows Button + R, type “regedit”, and then click OK.
  2.  If Windows asks you “Do you really want to do this?” then click Yes or OK.
  3.  Go to File > Export.
    scrivener-fix-registry-backup
  4. Under “Export range” select All. Save the file to your Desktop or Documents folder and give it a name like “Windows Registry before Scrivener fix.reg”.

Tell Windows to Prefer an External Manifest File

  1. Navigate to the following registry subkey:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersionSideBySide
  2. Right-click, select NEW > DWORD (32 bit) Value
  3. Type PreferExternalManifest, and then press ENTER.
    scriv-registry-edit-screen01
  4. Right-click PreferExternalManifest, and then click Modify.
    scriv-registry-edit-screen02
  5. Enter Value Data and select Decimal.
  6. Click OK. Exit Registry Editor.

Give Scrivener an External Manifest File

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window.
  2. Navigate to the folder where Scrivener is installed (likely C:\Program Files (x86)\Scrivener).
  3. Download the following text file to that directory: manifest.txt
  4. Rename the file to Scrivener.exe.manifest
    NOTE: Make sure the file does not retain a *.txt file extension. You might need to show hidden extensions in your file folder view and delete “.txt” if it is appended to the title of the file. (Thanks, David, for contributing this tip via the comments below!)

That should do it! You may need to reboot before the changes take effect.

MAJOR NEWS: Scrivener for Windows 1.9.5 fixes this problem, so the above article may be moot when it comes to Scrivener. However, it’s always possible it will help someone with a similar problem, so I’m keeping it around.

NOTE: Additional tips have been shared in some of the comments below. If you run into trouble while following these instructions, take a peek in case they’ve covered your problem!

* For the curious, here’s a link to the original article about the fix for Adobe software on a Lenovo laptop.