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  1. #1
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    So ..... how do you REALLY turn off Clear Type?

    Hi all,

    I've got an interesting problem.
    My laptop has quite a bad screen, and Clear Type renders very badly on it.

    Anyway, I've turned off Clear Type in the Display Properties, in the IE properties and even turned off font smoothing altogether in the Performance Properties .... HOWEVER .... Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN Messenger) INSISTS on using a font with Clear Type.

    I see no option in MSN to turn it off, and the text is almost unreadable :x

    Anybody know how to turn this off?

    I'm using Windows XP Professional SP3, Windows Live Messenger build 14.0.8064.206 and WLM/MSN is using the Segoi UI font. I've changed the font, and although it makes it more readable, Clear Type is definitely still on!

    So, any ideas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by woody.cool View Post
    I've turned off Clear Type in the Display Properties
    You mean by using that cool Power Toy type proggie called... ClearType (or something like that)? If so I'm afraid there's not much to do other then maybe upgrade MSN to the latest version (whichever that is, I don't use it) and try there?
    Maybe there is a hidden registry string to turn it off?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoonay View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by woody.cool View Post
    I've turned off Clear Type in the Display Properties
    You mean by using that cool Power Toy type proggie called... ClearType (or something like that)? If so I'm afraid there's not much to do other then maybe upgrade MSN to the latest version (whichever that is, I don't use it) and try there?
    Maybe there is a hidden registry string to turn it off?
    Right!
    MSN version I have IS the latest version.
    As for turning off the Clear Type, I turned it off the proper way, in Windows Display Properties .... which turns it off for 99% of applications (apart from those that Microsoft make to ENFORCE the use of Clear Type)

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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Do you have the Cleartype Tuner Powertool installed?

    http://www.microsoft.com/typography/...ePowerToy.mspx

    If ypou run that with cleartype active on the system, you can run through a set of steps to pick what looks best on your system. Using that you should be able to tune Cleartype to work well even on a bad screen.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    Well, I've settled for running the Clear Type tuner .... it looks quite a bit better now, but I'm unimpressed with the fact that MSN enforces the use of Clear Type.

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    As you are using XP, Cleartype is an extra you install, you you also have the option to uninstall it.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    downgrading your msn version will surely help !
    or dump messenger all together and use an alternative

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    An alternative is definitely the best idea. Ditch the M$ spyware riddled rubbish and install something like Trillian, Star Messenger or Miranda IM.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    As you are using XP, Cleartype is an extra you install, you you also have the option to uninstall it.
    Nope. ClearType comes with XP (and always has done) ... it's usually turned off by default, but recent MS apps seem to ignore this preference.
    Clear Type is (and always has been) just a drop down option in the Display Preferences since the first version of XP.

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    Not quite. There can be a bit of confusion. Let me explain.

    XP originally came with an earlier version of ClearType which wasn't the same. It was based around techniques developed for the much older Truetype rendering engine. ClearType has been used for years by Microsoft as a generic name for its font smoothing technology to improve readability of onscreen fonts.

    The new subpixel ClearType technology wasn't released until 2007 with the launch of Vista. It was then later backwardly introduced into XP with SP2 because of the sudden popularity of LCD screens. And it works a lot differently to the older ClearType font smoothly technology of XP. Although even the newer XP implementation of the Vista ClearType technology is still not as good as the one native to Vista because it is an inherent part of Vista's core technology.

    The full (Vista) ClearType technology works by splitting each pixel into subpixels (in RGB values) and adjusting the colour values of these to smooth and blend the fonts. If you were to look very closely as a ClearType font you would see it is made up of loads of colours, even though at normal size on the screen it looks black. Very clever technology.

    The idea behind this technology is to increase the font's resolution to improve onscreen font readability. In the past the focus for fonts was always on pre press and printing. But with crisper LCD technology of recent years and the increase in time users spend reading text online, especially the internet, better font rendering technology was needed.

    The mission for the Microsoft Font development team behind this new Cleartype technology was to find a way for a font to be truly readable on the screen. The problem has always been that displays are relatively low resolution devices of 72 or 96 DPI. To get fonts to look and be as readable as printed text requires a display capable of between 200 and 300 DPI. Something that is too expensive to manufacture for anything larger than the current ebook screens.

    So if they couldn't have larger resolution displays, the other option was to split the pixels up for the displays they did have. Thus creating subpixel font rendering. Microsoft haven't released exactly how the technology works (patent pending), but from the video interviews with the Microsoft font team I've watched, and the couple of design seminars I've attended, it roughly works by splitting each font pixel into 3 sub pixels, using the RGB values. The intensity of the three RGB values for that one pixel are then adjusted to create 3 sub pixels that can be manipulated to "trick" the eye into seeing a smoother edge. In effect turning a 96DPI PC display into 288DPI.

    They did a lot of scientific research into how the human eye perceives colour based on adjacent colours and used this with this subpixel technology to create the final ClearType technology. Quite scientific, technical and ingenious.

    ClearType is also an important technology for more than just smoothing fonts and trying to make them look more like printed Fonts. Its subpixel rendering made it possible for the first time ever to have full pictographic Asian character sets that could be displayed in the same uniform way as roman alphabet characters. Before this it was quite hard to depict something like Chinese character forms within a set font character space. ClearType solved this problem.

    Something else that is interesting is that a very similar technology to ClearType existed over 20 years before Microsoft "invented" it. It was actually an Apple invention, as part of the Apple II, released in 1976, and using a very similar idea of pixel-splitting and sharing. At that time the displays were B/W and the technology used greyscale subpixels to smooth the fonts. Microsoft however started to developed and design their colour version of the very similar ClearType technology in 1998 without realising Apple had already invented it over 20 years earlier. And those involved with the Apple II have even stated as saying that "Microsoft has rediscovered something that was old".

    And Apple have no claim over this as the Apple II copyrights expired 17 years after the technology was released in 1976, so it was public domain (and forgotten about) even before Microsoft started their development.

    It is quite strange to think that after the Apple II Apple didn't continue developing this technology. Most think it is because Apple have had a different design philosophy where being faithful to font size and proportion was more important to typographical display then onscreen readability was. However with OSX Apple did start to realise that onscreen font readability is quite important. However their implementation of font smoothing is mostly based on the old anti aliasing techniques with creates blured and heavier looking fonts, that are not visually nice.

    After Vista was released Apple did try to copy the ClearType ideas and introduced their own version pf sub pixel rendering in OSX, but it is far inferior and generally makes fonts look blurred and heavy on the screen.

    Here is a zoomed in comparison of the XP, Vista and OSX version of font smoothly technology.

    Mac OS X 10.4

    Windows Vista

    W
    indows XP


    Note: Sorry the post got quite long. I'm fascinated with Fonts and font rendering technology and follow the whole thing quite closely.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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