major.io words of wisdom from a systems engineer

Chrome 43 stuck in HiDPI mode

Google Chrome iconI ran some package updates last night and ended up with a new version of Google Chrome from the stable branch. After restarting Chrome, everything in the interface was huge. The icons in the bookmark bar, the text, the padding - all of it looked enormous.

After a little searching, I found a helpful line in the ArchLinux HiDPI documentation:

Full HiDPI support in Chrome is now available in the main branch google-chromeAUR as of version 43.0.2357.2-1 and works out of the box as tested with Gnome and Cinnamon.

It looks like there was a flag available for quite some time to test the feature but it disappeared sometime in March. I scoured my list of flags as well as my Chrome configuration directories and couldn’t find any trace of it.

Temporary Workaround

While I search for a fix, my current workaround is to manually edit the .desktop file that comes with the Chrome RPM. On my Fedora system, that file is /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop. If you open that file, look for a line that starts with Exec:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable %U

Change that line so that it includes --force-device-scale-factor=1 to disable HiDPI support:

Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --force-device-scale-factor=1 %U

Depending on your display manager, you might need to do something to refresh the .desktop files. If you’re using GNOME 3, just press Alt-F2, type r, and press enter. Your screen will flicker a lot and GNOME will restart in place. Try starting Chrome once more and you should be back to normal.

Still having problems?

If you don’t see a change after doing all of that, ensure that you fully exited Chrome. Depending on your configuration, Chrome might still be running in your taskbar even if you close all of the browser windows. If that’s the case, completely exit Chrome using the taskbar menu or pkill -f google-chrome. Start Chrome again and you should be all set.