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IE10 Consumer Preview Smoothing Fonts Without Any Color

    Question

  • I'm double posting this in the IE forum and here, just to make sure Microsoft sees it.  I haven't figured out how to get and set up the Feedback Tool yet...

    Something's gone wrong with IE10's font smoothing logic:  It's not using any color in the font smoothing process while rendering web pages.  It's being done properly in Windows 8 CP in general, and even in the IE10 menus and chrome, just not in the rendered page.

    I've tried it with the IE10 "Use Software Rendering instead of GPU Rendering" setting in both positions, and I've tried it with all different settings of the ClearType Tuner.  Under no conditions will IE10 use color precompensation in its font rendering.

    This worked properly in the IE10 in the Windows 8 Developer Preview.  It looked quite good there, actually.

    Here is a magnified view, so you can see clearly:

    As you might expect the text does not look as sharp and actually looks more color-fringed without the color compensation in the font smoothing logic.

    Please let me know if I can supply any further information.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my new eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options


    • Changed type Niki HanModerator Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:39 AM
    • Changed type Noel Carboni Tuesday, March 06, 2012 7:48 PM This is an open question - was it done on purpose or not?
    Friday, March 02, 2012 7:42 PM

All replies

  • FYI, I have learned that one can submit bug reports on IE10 at the Connect site:  http://connect.microsoft.com/ie

    I have done so:  https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/728298/ie10-consumer-preview-is-smoothing-fonts-without-any-color

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:13 AM
  • I hate this, too. That's why my eyes are aching so much after using Windows 8 a while.

    others see this, too:

    http://www.istartedsomething.com/20120303/cleartype-takes-a-back-seat-for-windows-8-metro/


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:45 AM
  • I don't buy that it was intentional.  Pretty much the rest of the system still uses it.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:54 AM
  • Rumor has it this was done on purpose.

    I'd dearly love to know whether Microsoft has degraded the IE10 font smoothing to exclude color on purpose, or is intending to fix this.

    It makes a big reduction in the crispness of the display on a good LCD monitor, especially with these small forum fonts.

    It really doesn't seem to make any sense just to turn it off, because there are choices in the ClearType Tuner that would have allowed it to be a user choice whether to eliminate all color, and Microsoft could have just defaulted those settings to just use grayscale rather than removing it from user control entirely.

    Thanks in advance to any Microsoft people who could provide confirmation of whether this is a feature or a bona fide bug.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 7:48 PM
  • yes, I really need an answer. This totally ugly and broken font rendering causes terrific headache.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:09 PM
  • The Internet Explorer Team has just confirmed that this is by design.

    http://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/728298/ie10-consumer-preview-is-smoothing-fonts-without-any-color#tabs

    No engineer I have ever met would think this is a positive move.  It must really stink to work at Microsoft and have management incessantly telling engineering to make the product worse.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook:  
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012 3:23 PM
  • This ugly font rending hurts my eyes to much. I hate it :(


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:24 PM
  • Windows 8 Release Preview has same problem, the IE 10 uses gray-scale font smoothing instead of ClearType, the text looks terrible and my eyes hurts.  I have to install Google Chrome on Win 8 and it's text looks great with ClearType. Also if system cleartype is turned off, it will turn off cleartype too. 
    Friday, June 01, 2012 10:02 PM
  • I guess we'd all just better get used to the degraded eXPerience.  The next generation of products are apparently not about improving the user eXPerience, but more about increasing the number of different systems people are running Windows on.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBook:  
    In development:

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, June 01, 2012 11:26 PM
  •  The next generation of products are apparently not about improving the user eXPerience, but more about increasing the number of different systems people are running Windows on.

    That's what I also think everytime I see a new blogpost on the B8 Blog.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Sunday, June 03, 2012 7:47 PM
  • For what it's worth, since it doesn't seem this change is going to be reversed, you can use the last screen in the ClearType Tuner (it's panel 5 of 5 here) to fine tune how fonts are rendered with colorless font smoothing in IE10.

    It's not possible to make them look quite as good as with IE9, but at least you can pick the setting you most prefer (least of evils?).  Try each choice in IE - don't just go by what you see in the ClearType Tuner panel.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Sunday, June 03, 2012 10:09 PM
  • I tried the Tuner, but it improves nothing. Also IE9 was terrible for me, too. I've also tried the old XP Cleartype Tuner which gives more options, but it also doesn't improve the horrible font rendering.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 8:29 AM
  • If this is by design, then Microsoft management are absolute idiots.

    How to alienate users:

    1. Remove a perfectly good font RGB rendering.

    2. Insert dreadful grey-scale font rendering.

    3. Make users eyes water and heads ache.

    This would have to be one of the most stupid things I have ever seen Microsoft do. 

     

    Monday, August 20, 2012 10:24 AM
  • I thought MS was bragging about having the best font-rendering... A new shiny OS with such poor font rendering? Something went terribly wrong, I guess. MS dev teams fighting each other and one succeeded to make an other team look worse by doing this? I don't understand.

    If you read this http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer then you see what is going on. This font rendering is a sabotage from within... lol.


    • Edited by PC EliTiST Friday, November 02, 2012 1:40 PM
    Friday, November 02, 2012 1:37 PM
  • Honestly, something as obvious as this had to have been done on purpose.  We're only left to guess at why.  It makes no sense whatsoever - the technology was already working.  It's one of a couple of things that pushed me over the edge to avoid licensing Windows 8.  I don't need more eye strain.

    Font rendering and smoothing was and is a touchy subject.  Some like it one way, some like it another.  But that's okay - there was a ClearType Tuner application to govern that.

    It's when the IE people stopped following the system settings that the real trouble began.  What could possibly be the justification for that?

    At least Apple fires people who screw up the product.  Microsoft seems to embrace them.  That doesn't say good things for the guy at the top, and it's sounding like not the kind of company I want to partner with any longer.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, November 02, 2012 6:38 PM
  • It is not just the IE10 team that are the problem.

    Office 2013 is also just as bad. Text is so blurry it is unusable!

    It beggars belief that Microsoft could deliberately stuff this up so badly. It really is a spectacular failure.

    Then again, the article mentioned by PC-EliTiST indicates MS management is focused on some idiotic people management strategies instead of the product.    

    Saturday, November 03, 2012 7:00 AM
  • The scary part is that the general public is probably too dumb to notice, and are certainly swayed by fashion.  Microsoft appears to be spending megabucks to make Windows 8 seem fashionable.  Funny thing is the commercials are far more polished than the UI itself.

      

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Sunday, November 04, 2012 4:07 AM
  • The justification that I've heard is that clear type doesn't work very well when the RGB pixels are vertical, ie. when you rotate your phone/tablet 90deg. Additionally, the difference between greyscale/color anti-aliasing is less noticeable on higher pixel density displays. Since windows 8 (and IE10 by association) is designed toward these types of devices that is probably what drove this decision.

    I have a hard time believing that the general public won't notice this. If you open IE10 and chrome on windows 8, there is a clear winner in terms of readability. This feels like the nail in the coffin for IE as a product. There are too many, better, alternatives now, at least for desktop browsers. It's worrying to hear that Office2013 exhibits the same issues. Hopefully this infection won't continue to spread into other Microsoft products.


    Friday, November 09, 2012 5:15 PM
  • The justification that I've heard is that clear type doesn't work very well when the RGB pixels are vertical, ie. when you rotate your phone/tablet 90deg. Additionally, the difference between greyscale/color anti-aliasing is less noticeable on higher pixel density displays. Since windows 8 (and IE10 by association) is designed toward these types of devices that is probably what drove this decision.

    Yeah, that's been my take on it too.

    The right answer would of course be to make the product more complex to handle the expanded scope of intended products, so that it does the best job on all of them - not dumb it down to the least common denominator.  It's not like we can buy 200 ppi desktop monitors yet.

    This underscores the Microsoft committment to run - not walk - away from serious computing, which is and will be done on desktops for quite a while.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, November 09, 2012 6:03 PM
  • "I hate blurry text in Windows 8, IE10 and Office 2013" - Facebook
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:50 PM
  • A classic case of the Dilbert Principle.
    Monday, November 12, 2012 10:01 AM
  • Okay so ClearType performs badly on vertically oriented pixels, so they can't turn it on ONLY for horizontally oriented displays?? They totally yank color subpixel anti-aliasing?
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:44 AM
  • So IE10 release preview was released today, and it looks like at least in that version color cleartype antialiasing is enabled. It still doesn't look as sharp as the latest version of chrome, but not nearly as a bad as IE10 on Win8 looks. Hopefully they realized the issue and a "fix" for the Win8 version is coming.
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:40 PM
  • Installed IE10 on windows 7 today.

    IE10's font rendering is definitely far better on Windows 7 than on Windows 8.

    However, Firefox and Opera are still much better again.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:38 AM
  • Well, that's somewhat encouraging, though I'm a bit wary...  This is a Release Preview, not the actual release for Windows 7.

    Recall that Microsoft significantly degraded the desktop experience on Windows 8 between the Release Preview and actual release, removing Aero Glass.  What will you do if they degrade the font rendering at the time of actual release to match what we're already seeing on Windows 8?  Remember the "wean them off the old theme and onto the new" thing they did with the Windows 8 previews.

    I installed it on a VM to check it out.  Sure enough, there's some color and it does seem to respond to the Cleartype Tuner.

    But I see that they've got those silly flat gray scroll bars from Windows 8, not bothering to conform to the selected Windows 7 theme.  Does anyone think those are good?

       

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012 6:03 AM
  • I used IE10 on Windows 7 for a for a day, and even though the fonts aren't as bad as in windows 8, they were still blurred enough to give me a headache.

    Ticking "Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering" made no useful improvement.

    Therefore, I have already given up on IE10.

    Back to the clear fonts in Firefox 16 for me.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:20 AM
  • I used IE10 on Windows 7 for a for a day, and even though the fonts aren't as bad as in windows 8, they were still blurred enough to give me a headache.

    Ticking "Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering" made no useful improvement.

    Therefore, I have already given up on IE10.

    Back to the clear fonts in Firefox 16 for me.

    the only workaround is to set the the value FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION under  FEATURE_BEHAVIORS in the registry:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee330730%28v=VS.85%29.aspxHere you can set that the IE10 runs in IE8 mode so you have the old font rendering back.


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:05 PM
  • But doesn't changing the value of FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION change the Javascript engine from Chakra to JScript?
    Friday, November 16, 2012 12:39 PM
  • So they have a tweak to the registry that can cause IE to drop back and emulate a whole bunch of characteristics of an older browser, including the font rendering.  But as xpclient has implied, changing everything back to work like old software doesn't seem a good solution.

    Who at Microsoft decided not to include an option to tweak just the font rendering?  Do they have their head in the sand?  It works well for some and others don't like it at all. 

    I personally find the sub-pixel rendering pleasant, as long as they include the color assist.  For now, the IE10 Release Preview does do the color assist on Windows 7.  Heads need to roll if they remove the color assist by release time!  Clearly they know how to do it!  And really it ought to be put back into IE10 on Windows 8 as well.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, November 16, 2012 1:45 PM
  • yes, this emulates the IE8 and only uses the IE8 engine.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Friday, November 16, 2012 10:31 PM
  • Interesting.  Thanks for confirming that, Andre.

    There must be a quite different decision making chain in the Internet Explorer development organization vs. the Windows development organization.

    On the one hand, all the engines from all the old browsers are still compiled into IE.  On the other hand, perfectly good features are just deleted from Windows 8, presumably on the premise of making it more efficient.  The words "efficient" and "deficient" sound so much alike, you have to wonder...  ;-)

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, November 16, 2012 10:47 PM
  • I tried the registry tweak, and it improves text on many sites to some extent.

    However, with the registry tweak set to IE8 mode my outlook.com email just would not work. I tried some of the other modes too without success. 

    What we really need is the options in that registry tweak built into Compatibility Mode, so that you can use it on a site by site basis.

    Seeing as the functionality is still there, it should be dead easy to include it in compatibility mode.

      

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 4:50 AM