Fix Plex scaling and HDR issues with new Windows Plex player app

If you just want to jump to the solution and skip the background/details on what the issue is, click here.

Plex has recently released a new Windows application for playing videos from a Plex server.If you visit their blog on the subject, they’ll tell you this new application basically emulates the GUI of the browser version but includes full pass-through of HDR, multi-channel audio, and many audio and video codecs for which the web browser requires server side transcoding. It also includes the ability to sync videos, which before required the use of the Windows Store Plex app (blech.)

They’ll also tell you they are soon ending support for the venerable Plex Media Player, which has been my HTPC player of choice for a few years due to its fantastic GUI, ability to quickly show information on the video being streamed, and full codec and pass-through support made it basically the best of all worlds. No – it did not support syncing to the local PC, only streaming. But I only used syncing of videos on my tablet or cell phone anyway.

The problem with the new application is if you’re using it on a 4K display, especially one with HDR, it has some serious flaws “out of the box”, so to speak. Namely, many people enable scaling on their 4K monitors so the text doesn’t look like this. Great – until you run the new Plex app which doesn’t support Windows scaling (a known issue that they are working toward resolution.)

Another issue is when you decide to play videos full screen (sarcasm) I mean, who would want to use the entire 4K of your 4K TV/monitor to play 4K videos, right? (/sarcasm) then you’d get a quick blink of the screen…and HDR would be disabled.

What. the. f*?!

Solution: As mentioned above, Plex is aware of the scaling problems and has posted a user-enabled temporary solution, which DOES ACTUALLY WORK.

Windows 10 Instructions

  1. Right click on (ed. Windows*) start menu, select System
  2. Type environment into the Find a setting search box on the left of the Settings window
  3. Select Edit environment variables for your account
  4. Click New… in the User variables for {userName} section to open the Edit User Variable dialog
  5. Enter PLEX_SCALE_FACTOR for Variable name
  6. Enter one of these values for the “Variable value”:
    • Values are bucketed; eg 1.1 and 1.24 are both clamped to 1.25
    • Any value below 1.0 is clamped to 1.0
    • Any value above 2 is clamped to 2.25
  7. Press OK to close the Edit User Variable dialog
  8. Press OK once more to close the Environment Variables dialog

*I added the comment that in step 1 you are to right click on the Windows start menu after I right clicked all over the map in the Plex app to no avail since I initially assumed this would require a manual change in the Plex player application settings.

After I did this – for my 4K 50″ TV I set the “Variable value” in step 6 to 2.0 – and closed then reopened the new Plex for Windows application voilà!. I could see and read the text and icons clearly from the 10′ range, not to mention using my remote keyboard/mouse was much faster since I didn’t have to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, I’m almost halfway across the screen with my mouse pointer, scroll, scroll, etc just to get around the gigantic and mostly unused Plex window.

But the bonus – and probably more important – was when I watched an HDR video in full screen, the screen didn’t do it’s little blink reset and lose HDR. I opened the Windows settings for Display where you can enable HDR, and alt-tabbed back and forth between it and Plex and the HDR remained enabled in the Windows Settings. My TV showed HDR enabled while playing the video.

I’m sure this will all break again sometime in the next week, but for tonight, life is good.


Install Windows using UEFI from a USB flash drive


Windows 10 now has a new USB install tool which is supposed to work with UEFI. It is the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

It can also be accessed from Microsoft’s Windows 10 page.

Original post below:

If you’ve tried installing Windows in the recent past (since Windows 7), you’ve likely gone the install from USB flash drive route. It is faster and more convenient than DVD, and sometimes necessary as many smaller laptops and hybrid tablets don’t have optical drives. Likely you’ve used the very simple (if now somewhat anachronistically named) Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (found HERE). This tool – which works for Windows 8, Windows 10, as well as Server 2008 or Server 2012 and later – creates a bootable USB flash drive and copies the install files from the Windows boot ISO.

All is good if you’re using a legacy BIOS or hybrid BIOS/UEFI. The challenge is when you use a UEFI only. The USB flash drive created by this tool likely will not be recognized as a bootable device by the UEFI boot process. Yay for new and improved technology.

I recommend using the Rufus program with the excellent steps provided by Windows Eight Forums here.

Warning: The first time I did this I followed the instructions and set the file type to FAT32, which is basically required for UEFI to load the drivers needed to boot and install Windows. However, upon selecting the ISO I wanted to use, it changed the file type back to NTFS. I didn’t notice this. I made the drive, went to boot, and nothing. Still didn’t recognize the USB flash drive as a bootable device. When I put the USB stick back into my laptop, I noticed it was NTFS formatted. Odd – I know I selected FAT32 as per the instructions. When going through the creation process again, I saw it make the change.

So make sure after you select the ISO to use for the USB install drive creation that you re-select FAT32 as the format option.



Mouse button / touchpad button response has delay after typing (Windows 8+/Windows 10)

Many people using laptops with touchpads for gaming (even just Facebook) complain about not being able to press keys and move their “player/character” with the touchpad simultaneously.

This is not the same problem.

The problem about being able to (for example) press the “W” key to move forward, while changing direction using the touchpad is typically a driver issue, where the touchpad is disabled automatically when they keyboard is used. The intent is to prevent inadvertent movement of the cursor by the typist if his/her hand accidentally brushes the touchpad while typing. This problem is (relatively) easily fixed by unchecking the “disable touchpad while typing” setting in your touchpad’s settings.

Recently my son noticed on Minecraft that there was a new problem. When he would be using the keypad to move, or even for a half-second after he quit using the keys, the mouse buttons would be non-responsive. This has significant detrimental effect in any player-vs-player (PvP) or first person shooter (FPS) game. (OK – any serious gamer isn’t using a touchpad, but this is Minecraft.)

The answer wasn’t anywhere in the touchpad driver settings. It is a Windows 8 / WIndows 8.1 “fix” for us. (Thankssssss for that.)

The solution is

  1. Go to “Settings” (move your mouse to the upper right corner, then click on the Settings charm),
  2. At the bottom of the screen section for Settings, click on “Change PC Settings.”
  3. Now click on “PC and devices” (should be near the top left in the PC Settings window.
  4. Click on “Mouse and touchpad” (about halfway down the left side settings in the PC and devices window.
  5. On the right, typically the last selection is labeled “Touchpad.” Under there is a sentence that reads ” To help prevent the cursor from accidentally moving while you type, change the delay before clicks work.” Yeah. Because I’m always banging my keys so hard that I mash the mouse buttons too. Anyhow, change the box below it to “No delay (always on)” to fix this…fix that Microsoft blessed us with.