A fix for fuzzy fonts in IE9

Summary:Over the past few months I’ve heard one complaint from a handful of Internet Explorer 9 users: the text is unacceptably fuzzy. Now, Microsoft has released an acknowledgment of the problem, along with a fix. Here are the details.

Over the past few months I’ve heard one complaint from a handful of Internet Explorer 9 users: the text is unacceptably fuzzy.  I’ve never noticed the problem myself, but other people are sure sensitive to it, including a Microsoft developer who posted instructions last February on how to fix the problem (by disabling ClearType).

Now, Microsoft has released an acknowledgment of the problem, along with an update intended to fix it. The accompanying support article explains the symptoms and the cause:

Text displayed in some core fonts appears blurred in Internet Explorer 9 on a computer that is running Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2

SYMPTOMS

Text that is displayed in the following core fonts in Windows Internet Explorer 9 appears blurred, when you compare it to text in Windows Internet Explorer 8:

  • Arial (10-point and 11-point)
  • Verdana (9-point and 10-point)
  • Tahoma (11-point and 13-point)

CAUSE

This issue occurs because of a design change to rendering is made in Internet Explorer 9. By default, Internet Explorer 9 uses sub-pixel positioned ClearType to render text by using DirectWrite, whereas Internet Explorer 8 uses whole-pixel positioned ClearType to render text by using the Microsoft Windows graphics device interface (GDI).

Update: This fix was made available earlier this week (the "second Patch Tuesday") as a Recommended update. If you've chosen tlo automatically install Windows updates, it might already be available. To check whether it's already installed, go to Windows Update in Control Panel, click View Update History in the sidebar on the left, and check for an update with the identifier KB2545698.

Direct download links are available in that support article for all supported Windows versions. Here are shortcuts to the Windows 7 downloads:

Windows 7 x86

Windows 7 x64

Topics: Software, Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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