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RyanJW

Cleartype: Getting rid of it COMPLETELY

30 posts in this topic

Hi guys,

One thing that's really bothered me about Vista is that it's seemingly impossible to completely get rid of Cleartype in an acceptable manner.

There are a few approaches I've tried. At the moment I've made the registry changes and whatnot to only use XP-like smoothing, and I've used the appearance panel to change any instances of Segoe UI to Tahoma.

The only problem is that Cleartype, Segoe UI, or both seem to be popping up in certain places.

In Aero title bars, Segoe UI seems to be appearing but without Cleartype, making it all blotchy (as Microsoft seems to think 'optimising for Cleartype' equates to 'chopping bits out so those not using Cleartype get a messy font). I know Cleartype isn't enabled because if I zoom in using Paint I can't see the multi-coloured artefacts around the letters.

In various system dialogues such as "Save File?", Cleartype seems to be enabled despite it explicitly being disabled. I know it's enabled because if I zoom in using Paint I can see the multi-coloured artefacts around the letters.

A similar level of inconsistency is basically occurring across the entire OS. Sometimes it's apparently hard coded, sometimes it isn't.

At the moment, in my registry I have FontSmoothing set to 2 and FontSmoothingType set to 1. Interestingly, I can actually make a few of the dialogues (such as "Run...") stop using Segoe UI if I set FontSmoothing to 1, and it seems to fall back on Trebuchet MS or something Lucida Sans Unicode -- not sure which. However, this has the doubly nasty side-effect of completely disabling font smoothing, meaning that large letters aren't anti-aliased without sub-pixel nonsense like they were in XP.

If anyone has a reliable way of basically getting the font/Cleartype state of affairs in Vista into a more consistent format it'd be really appreciated. I seriously cannot believe how Microsoft has basically forced this onto people, as I'm just one of many who simply cannot use Cleartype for prolonged periods of time without discomfort, regardless of how much 'tuning' is applied.

Call me mad for wanting the XP-like one-pixel-thick fonts all over my OS if you like. At least with XP I had the choice of being mad or not. Normal font smoothing without Cleartype, and no Cleartype-specific fonts that look terrible without it. Is it really much to ask for?

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Maybe I'm weird or even crazy but actually I like Cleartype :blink:

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It's not crazy or weird if you're using an LCD display. Cleartype is not for CRT's. I'm not sure why he wants it disabled.

Segoe UI is much better than Tahoma as a display font in my opinion and I like ClearType.

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It looks terrible on some PC's

I have the same problem, thats why I just run XP

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I think it's about the eyes just as much as the PC. I've used Cleartype on basically every monitor manufacturer there is and both XP and Vista, and on neither it agrees with my eyes. Perhaps it's people with certain vision issues (I have a lazy, weak left eye), or perhaps it's related to the pixel dot pitch of the monitor, or perhaps certain people pick up on the coloured noise around the letters more than usual (I certainly do).

Whatever the case, Cleartype looks like a**. I'm really unhappy that's forced upon us in Vista considering its unsuitability for various monitors and/or people's eyes. I'm glad it works well for you two though. :)

The worst part though is that Segoe UI is also forced on us, which looks terrible when Cleartype is disabled. Weep.

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at least Cleartype isn't an issue for me when using my mom's new Dell Inspiron laptop with pre-installed Vista Home Basic edition.

get the ClearType Tuner Powertoy, RyanJW, and run it under Vista. that may solve your Cleartype problem

I believe the ClearType Tuner Powertoy, even though it's an XP powertoy, can be used under Vista.

see here on how to use the powertoy under Vista.

The worst part though is that Segoe UI is also forced on us, which looks terrible when Cleartype is disabled. Weep.

change the UI then. and DONT use any Font Smoothing features. I have Font Smoothing disabled on all my XP and Vista computers

Edited by erpdude8
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The problem is that you can't disable it completely. I've been doing some research it and it seems it's because areas of the OS that use WPF use WPF's in internal way of rendering fonts which actually has no non-smoothed way of drawing fonts built into it.

However, you can adjust a setting to remove the colour from Cleartype and thus make it greyscale, which I think is what causes the discomfort. Just a shame I can't find a way to do the same thing for the non-WPF parts of Vista.

As for font smoothing, there's no way I'm disabling it completely as the XP-like method of only using greyscale anti-aliasing on larger fonts is absolutely fine. Large web headers and such look terrible when they have no smoothing.

I think there're a number of things that make font viewing a bit uncomfortable for some people in Vista, and from looking around there's no way to truly get it how it was in XP. 'tis a pity.

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I don't like Cleartype either because I can see the red lines that are added around the letters. I know someone that is color blind and they like the way it looks. I can't believe that Microsoft made it the default setting. You mentioned that you changed the font in Appearance but did you click on Effects and uncheck the smooth edges setting? I checked out my "Save As" window and it still has Cleartype on also. Luckily I don't have to look at very long.

Trekor

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I use ClearType mostly on CRTs.

It makes fonts more beautiful.

I'm glad the OS has it ALL OVER.

Normal fonts are blocky. Font smoothing helps a little - but ClearType makes the print on my screen look like actual print that you'd see in a book!

If it looks bad to you, or if it looks blurry - I'd question the quality of your display.

Anything less than ClearType seems so primative. I'm glad that Windows, Mac OS, and Linux use something like ClearType.

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It's nothing to do with individual displays. It's to do with the fact that Cleartype is essentially based around the concept of people's eyes being more sensitive to changes of intensity than they are to changes of colour, meaning that the addition of red or green around all the letters is a necessary side effect of what is perceived by most people as smoother type.

The one thing Microsoft didn't account for is that certain people have different perceptions and sensitivity when it comes to colour being used like this, meaning that those with above average sensitivity find the colour makes the text look blurry. Pink and green fringes on the text also often appear.

It's unfortunate as the technology is in theory so good, but no amount of tuning can really make this suitable for those who find it blurry. This is why randomly enabling it on people's computers like I know some people do can be very annoying if the user doesn't know how it was done.

I'm overjoyed that you're glad the OS has it all over, but really, the choice should be ours. Windows XP also let you apply it system-wide, but unlike Vista it also came in a non-Cleartype variety. Not cool.

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Oh, sorry, I didn't see the post above that one. Since I've looked into this so much I might as well briefly sum up my findings:

1. ClearType cannot be disabled throughout Windows Vista. This is because certain parts of it use the new Windows Presentation Foundation architecture, which has its own font rendering technology that only comes in ClearType. This is why even if you disable Cleartype in every single way you can think of, it'll still appear in various parts of the Vista interface. It should be noted that the ClearType technology in WPF areas of Vista is actually more advanced.

2. You can disable ClearType in most areas where you'll actually be looking at text for prolonged periods of time by changing the font smoothing to 'Standard'; you might want to improve things further by changing all instances of 'Segoe UI' in the advanced area to 'Tahoma' with a size of 8pt, as Segoe UI is only designed to be read with Cleartype enabled. The only downside to this is that Segoe UI still appears in a number of Vista dialogues and pages, and cannot be changed. Because Vista tries to apply the 'Standard' smoothing to Segoe UI which is specifically designed to be used with ClearType, it looks like absolute crap and is fairly difficult to read properly.

3. You can disable font smoothing completely, which achieves everything in (2.) but also makes Segoe UI appear without any smoothing at all, which makes it somewhat more readable but still not great. The huge downside to this is that you'll lose the XP way of smoothing, which is to let smaller fonts be un-smoothed, but smooth off bigger fonts rather than making them look really jagged -- terrible for website headers. Most people won't have browsed the web like this since Windows 98 so it might be a bit of a shock.

So, the result of my findings is that the overall implementation of font rendering on Vista is s***e for some, great for others. But since Vista is meant to be good for everybody, the implementation is indeed s***e. :)

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I use ClearType mostly on CRTs.

If it looks bad to you, or if it looks blurry - I'd question the quality of your display.

Anything less than ClearType seems so primative. I'm glad that Windows, Mac OS, and Linux use something like ClearType.

only WinXP, 2003 and Vista have the Cleartype feature, Xenomorph. older versions of Windows don't have it.

perhaps RyanJW may need to buy a new computer monitor like those modern Viewsonic monitors here:

http://www.viewsonic.com/products/desktopdisplays/

it seems that older CRT based monitors can not handle Cleartype. some CRT monitors can handle Cleartype okay while other CRT monitors cant.

love Viewsonic monitors! :thumbup

Edited by erpdude8
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only WinXP, 2003 and Vista have the Cleartype feature, Xenomorph. older versions of Windows don't have it.

but thats the equivalent of saying "every version of Windows sold in the last half decade uses ClearType".

most people dont use any version of Windows that doesnt have ClearType.

anything pre-XP is irrelevant for most people.

i dont know the extent of how much control over it you have, but Vista, 2k3, and XP all have the same control over ClearType. you can select "None", "Standard", or "ClearType" in each version of Windows.

if you select "None", and there are still cases of it being turned on in Vista, that is simply an issue of poor interface design, which can been seen in XP in many areas as well.

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Have you already tried this? It seems you edited registry settings but did not do it manually. Try to do this manually and see if it turns off completely. Also, use regshot before and after to capture the registry settings responsible so you can do it by applying reg file.

Turning off Clear Type is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse - if you know where to click. You first open the Personalize dialog box, but then it gets trickier. Click the Windows Color and Appearance option, and then at the bottom, click Open Classic Appearance Properties for More Color Options (I know that doesn't sound like the right selection, but it is).

Then in the Appearance Settings dialog box, click the Effects button. Here, under "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts," in the drop- down box select "Standard" instead of "Clear Type." That should clear things up for you on your old CRT.

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I think what I said managed to get lost in the fog, so I'm just going to go ahead and quote myself:

1. ClearType cannot be disabled throughout Windows Vista. This is because certain parts of it use the new Windows Presentation Foundation architecture, which has its own font rendering technology that only comes in ClearType. This is why even if you disable Cleartype in every single way you can think of, it'll still appear in various parts of the Vista interface. It should be noted that the ClearType technology in WPF areas of Vista is actually more advanced.

2. You can disable ClearType in most areas where you'll actually be looking at text for prolonged periods of time by changing the font smoothing to 'Standard'; you might want to improve things further by changing all instances of 'Segoe UI' in the advanced area to 'Tahoma' with a size of 8pt, as Segoe UI is only designed to be read with Cleartype enabled. The only downside to this is that Segoe UI still appears in a number of Vista dialogues and pages, and cannot be changed. Because Vista tries to apply the 'Standard' smoothing to Segoe UI which is specifically designed to be used with ClearType, it looks like absolute crap and is fairly difficult to read properly.

3. You can disable font smoothing completely, which achieves everything in (2.) but also makes Segoe UI appear without any smoothing at all, which makes it somewhat more readable but still not great. The huge downside to this is that you'll lose the XP way of smoothing, which is to let smaller fonts be un-smoothed, but smooth off bigger fonts rather than making them look really jagged -- terrible for website headers. Most people won't have browsed the web like this since Windows 98 so it might be a bit of a shock.

And like I've also said in this thread, I am using a 24-inch Dell LCD (which has a Samsung panel), and have also tried it on a number of completely different LCDs. This is not a matter of technology, it's a matter of individual perception to the way Cleartype works, which is to put lots of little colours around all the letters.

Please read the posts in a thread before responding as not doing so just adds to the massive amount of misinformation regarding Cleartype that's out there.

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Have you tried deleting the SegoeUI font file and setting Tahoma as a substitute (or MS Sans Serif, if you do not want font smooting in the interface) in the HKLM\Software\Windows NT\FontSubstitutes registry key?

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You can do that and it's one of the first things I tried, but unfortunately if you do replace with any font it doesn't seem to be displayed correctly. Specifically, it appears too large, in bold, and it'll be clipped by the window as the windows only seem to be sized to Segoe UI's scale and cannot adapt. This very frequently results in you not being able to see half of what a dialogue says, etc.

But even if you do that, the parts of Windows which use Windows Presentation Foundation will still render the text in Cleartype because it's got no other font rendering technology to use. This comprises large amounts of the OS, the most obvious place being Computer (My Computer).

Edited by RyanJW
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You can do that and it's one of the first things I tried, but unfortunately if you do replace with any font it doesn't seem to be displayed correctly. Specifically, it appears too large, in bold, and it'll be clipped by the window as the windows only seem to be sized to Segoe UI's scale and cannot adapt. This very frequently results in you not being able to see half of what a dialogue says, etc.

But even if you do that, the parts of Windows which use Windows Presentation Foundation will still render the text in Cleartype because it's got no other font rendering technology to use. This comprises large amounts of the OS, the most obvious place being Computer (My Computer).

If I recall correctly, Windows Vista uses SegoeUI in size 9, instead of Tahoma size 8. Maybe if you change the font size for all elements from 9 to 8 if will help (at least, where it is not hardcoded).

About WPF using ClearType, does it happen even if you use MS Sans Serif instead of Tahoma? At least in XP, bitmap fonts can't be smoothed in any way.

My idea? You set the font smoothing to standard and the font to Tahoma 8. Then you grab a bitmap font editor (they should exist since Windows 3.0, shouldn't they?), create a copy of MS Sans Serif, change the name, add a size 9 and copy the size 8 bitmaps to it (and set the height too?) and then do that whole delete SegoeUI thing, setting the substitute to the font you created.

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I have also this same problem, Cleartype looks very bad in every display I have tried. I have also tried changing fonts etc. but the only way to get Vista usable and completely free of Cleartype crap is to use Appearance Settings and change Color scheme to Windows Standard (and of course also disable Cleartype via Effects menu). So that makes me wonder is WPF is still active with Windows Standard theme? Maybe Cleartype could be disabled via editing Vista Glass/Default theme with some theme editor. Has anyone tried it?

Do you Cleartype lovers also find the Vista installation screens nice looking? First time I saw them I could not believe my eyes, awful looking fonts with large color blocks all over.

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Cleartype is a technology designed for LCDs and LCDs alone (based on the fact that lcd color pixels come in 'stripes' of red, green and blue; CRTs have squares instead). Therefore on CRTs it might just look like blurred text.

Anyways, it increases the perceived horizontal resolution almost 3x. It also makes text easier to read. The difference is very obvious when I have to open a remote-desktop connection to another comp (where cleartype doesn't work). The thin, line-style font that greets me is hard on the eyes...

Be sure you are using a LCD and are using the native resolution instead of some distorted resized values. At 1280x1024, the pixels are so small that the color shift should not be recognizable. The downside is that at least on XP, pressing PrintScreen saves the image AFTER font filtering.

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It doesn't seem possible to convince those who like Cleartype that to some of us it just doesn't look right.

I'm using it on a 24-inch LCD that runs with a native resolution of 1920x1200, and I can still perceive the colour fringing. Indeed, even if I sit far back from my desk it still disturbs my eyes and it inevitably leads to headaches or discomfort if prolonged.

I truly envy those of you who can enjoy Cleartype.

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While I appreciate the efforts to help, can anyone still replying to this thread please read it first? As we've already established, disabling it in the appearance area does not disable Cleartype in many parts of the operating system, and even the comments on that page complain about the same thing.

For the time being I'll just make do with the fonts looking like crap throughout the OS since at least they're okay in my web browsers and start menu, and hope eventually a real toggle is offered by Microsoft. Maybe even in service pack one.

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only WinXP, 2003 and Vista have the Cleartype feature, Xenomorph. older versions of Windows don't have it.

but thats the equivalent of saying "every version of Windows sold in the last half decade uses ClearType".

True, BUT the way YOU say it sounded somewhat vague and can confuse some people, Xenomorph.

Better if you said "Every version of Windows sold in the last half-decade STARTING from WinXP to the current release of Windows use ClearType." < now THIS sounds more accurate AND clear to anybody who don't understand

Quote from Microsoft's Cleartype FAQ:

Q. Does Microsoft plan to provide an update to enable ClearType on Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME or Windows 9x?

A. No.

And they do NOT need to use Cleartype on their machines, Xenomorph. You just don't seem to fully understand RyanJW's situation.

If he doesn't want to use Cleartype and wants to get rid of it from his Vista machine, that's fine with him. I have no problem with that. NOBODY should force RyanJW to like Cleartype, not even I nor you, Xenomorph.

For me, I can have Cleartype enabled on the XP/Vista laptops and disabled on my desktop machine with WinXP using the Viewsonic CRT monitor. Cleartype isn't essential for my CRT monitors anyway.

Edited by erpdude8
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While I appreciate the efforts to help, can anyone still replying to this thread please read it first? As we've already established, disabling it in the appearance area does not disable Cleartype in many parts of the operating system, and even the comments on that page complain about the same thing.

For the time being I'll just make do with the fonts looking like crap throughout the OS since at least they're okay in my web browsers and start menu, and hope eventually a real toggle is offered by Microsoft. Maybe even in service pack one.

I guess Cleartype can't be disabled completely in Vista no matter what you do. I'm really sorry, RyanJW.

Looks like the tips on disabling Cleartype on the web aren't enough to help you out.

perhaps you should TELL Microsoft (email them or call them) about your Cleartype problem and maybe they'll add the option of disabling Cleartype throughout the entire Vista OS.

It won't happen unless you take action and explain your Cleartype problems/suggestions to Microsoft, RyanJW (and that MS follows up on their promises).

Edited by erpdude8
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