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Blurry Font Problem

If the text looks blurry on your computer these days, you're not alone. This problem is sometimes caused by a Microsoft feature called ClearType which is supposed to make things look clearer on your screen. For some people (including me) it has the opposite effect.

As explained below, ClearType can be turned off in Windows 7, and also in older versions of the Internet Explorer browser. But if you're using Internet Explorer 9, it's a different story.

ClearType in Windows 7

You can adjust or turn off ClearType in Windows 7 -- just hit your Windows Start icon, type ClearType in the search box, and then click Adjust ClearType. This will bring up a screen that lets you disable ClearType or adjust its settings.

If things still look blurry after turning off ClearType, there is one more thing you can try. Click Start and type Appearance in the search box, then click Adjust the Appearance and Performance of Windows. Scroll down to Smooth Edges of Screen Fonts and uncheck that box, then hit OK.

The suggestions may improve blurry fonts in some Windows programs, but will NOT improve the way things look IE 9.

ClearType and IE

ClearType was included in past versions of the Internet Explorer browser but could be disabled. (Look in the browser menu under Internet Properties > Advanced > Multimedia.) BUT Microsoft has not provided ANY way to disable ClearType in IE 9. So if, like me, you are suffering from the blurry font problem, your only option is to stop using IE 9.

A Better Browser

For browsing this website -- and any other site you want to be able to actually see clearly -- I recommend Firefox or its new brother, SeaMonkey.

In Firefox, you can click Tool > Options > Content to adjust the browser's default font size to whatever looks right to you. If some things still look blurry, try going to Tools > Options > Advanced > General and disabling "Use hardware acceleration when available." This has helped me a lot.

In the past, I have found the NoSquint add-on for Firefox helpful in adjusting each webpage to a comfortable viewing size. I've also previously found SeaMonkey comfortable to use without such add-ons.

Opera and Chrome are good browsers, too.

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