10
Mar
2011



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firefox blurry bad fonts The new Firefox 4 beta has got a bug that causes a nasty issue as far as the text rendering is concerned. Basically, text and font on every website and blog is blurry and bad thus preventing the user to have a smooth and nice web surfing experience. Such old issue is due to the new GPU hardware acceleration in Firefox 4 that should  make Internet surfing faster and more performing. Firefox 4 uses the new Direct2D and DirectWrite technology that accelerate the way text, fonts, 3D objects and different objects are displayed on websites as well as  online games. The downside of this technology is that text, links and fonts are rendered in a bad way. In fact, some text get “fatter” while other one seems to be thinner and unnaturally shaped. Let’s see how to fix such issue.

At the time writing the only workaround available to temporary patch such issue is to disable and turn off hardware acceleration in Firefox.

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click Firefox menu.
  3. Click Options.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Click the Advanced Section that should be the last tab on the Options window.
  6. In the General tab, under the browsing section, untick the  Use hardware acceleration when available checkbox.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Restart the browser for the change to take effect.

Such workaround is not an optimal solution to the blurry fonts and text issue as it turns off hardware acceleration completely, thus slowing down the rendering of websites. As a result, all websites and blogs will be displayed slowing. The other workaround I am about to show you will fix the blurry issue without disabling the hardware acceleration. However, it has to be said that I do not know if such solution is going to work for everybody as it strictly depends on the hardware specs of the computer.

  1. Turn off Firefox 4.
  2. Right-click on any blank, empty space on the computer desktop.
  3. Click Appearance and Personalization from the menu and try to open nVidia control panel.
  4. Under the  Adjust image settings with preview section, click the for Use the advanced 3D image settings radio button.
  5. On the right of such option you should notice a link labeled as “Take me There”. Click it.
  6. Click the Global Settings tab (it should be already opened).  Now, make sure that  Anisotropic Filtering is set to Application-Controlled.
  7. Now, click the Program Settings tab. Under the Select a Program to Customize section, select Firefox from the list. Under the Specify the Settings for this Program, turn off the Anisotropic filtering.
  8. Turn on Firefox 4.

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2 Comments to “How to Fix Blurry Text Rendering in Firefox 4”

  1. Roy Says:

    I was able to correct this and still have hardware acceleration without the Anti-aliasing addon. The issue seems to be that during an upgrade from 3.x, the ‘key’ that controls DirectWrite may not be added.

    To see if this is your problem type in ‘about:support’ (without the quotes) in the Firefox address bar. You will get info about the browser. Under the section labeled Graphics, confirm that you have the following:

    Direct2D enabled=true
    DirectWrite enabled=true

    If DirectWrite enabled=false, you will need to type ‘about:config’ (without the quotes into the address bar. This will take you to the Firefox config window. Look for the following key: mozilla.widget.render-mode

    That key is probably not present. To add it, right-click on an empty section of that window, choose New, and then Integer. Type in ‘mozilla.widget.render-mode’ (without the quotes) and assign it a value of 6.
    If you have this key and the value is anything other than 6, right click on the key and choose Modify, and change the value to 6

    Close and reopen your browser, and your fonts should look better. You may want to type in ‘about:support’ again and confirm that DirectWrite enabled changed from false to true.

    This worked on Windows 7; it’s worth trying for other operating systems and *shouldn’t* break anything regardless of whether it works or not.

  2. Ryan Says:

    Roy, your suggestion doesn’t work since the mozilla.widget.render-mode is already removed since beta 7 & no longer use anymore.

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