Fuzzy fonts everywhere!

So last night I ran that ClearType tuner I mentioned, on the Microsoft site. It turns on ClearType and runs you through a few text samples to supposedly get ClearType to a point that it works well for you. Didn’t work for me – I turned it back off, and everything looks fine. This is on a Samsung Syncmaster flat panel monitor – where ClearType was intended to work best.

This morning I’m checking my mail (in Thunderbird, not Outlook) and all of it is washed out and blurry. Was something wrong with my eyes?

Nope. After right-clicking on the desktop to check properties, I found that the ClearType tuner on the Microsoft site had apparently talked to XP Pro and turned on ClearType for all my screen fonts too.

Talk about Big Brother. I can’t stand sneaky things like this – ClearType had never been enabled on my machine and Microsoft decides that now I must want it because I check out an online tuning page for IE7. That doesn’t follow.

See what I mean by looking at this image of my email with and without ClearType.

If your screen fonts are blurry, try right-clicking on the desktop, go to Properties > Appearance and then Effects. Change ClearType to Standard font smoothing and see what happens (remember to click Apply in the Appearance screen).


  1. It’s the way Microsoft coded things. The clear type tuner obviously runs a something that controls clear type throughout the OS.

    Presumably if you found you loved clear type and they only fixed the app you were tuning and you had to tune each app on windows separately you would not like that. I’m pretty sure that’s what they were thinking.

    There is a certain percentage of the population that do not see clear type clearly. To this group clear type looks fuzzy. I’m in this group myself and it sounds your are too.

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