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I just got new PC and upgraded from XP to Windows 8 (yeah I skipped Vista and Win7) and now I have a problem with all this font rendering with smoothing-antialiasing-ClearType crapola. It is hard to read smaller fonts and to work as a web designer/css/html and etc., it's simply impossible, small fonts are totally unreadable and it hurts my eyes.

How do I make it render fonts in sharp pixels without any antialiasing/smoothing effects on Windows 8? Just like in good old XP?

I found that ClearType settings in Control Panel and disable it, but it wrecks the fonts totally and makes it even worse.

So I also Google'd a lot and found out some registry hacks and etc, it kinda fixed the problem, all fonts sharp and no antialiasing and etc. But now there's another problem. Firefox is not rendering the web fonts/Google fonts/the ones that comes in smooth/antialiasing by default.

So how do I keep antialiasing web fonts support on Firefox and how I keep sharp non-cleartype fonts on Windows 8 system/folder/tabs/windows at the same time?

This is serious, I cannot work on my projects with crazy issues like this.

There's what I am talking about (the one I need is 'GOOD'):

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    I think as a web designer you should keep your environment as close to average user's environment as possible. It doesn't really matter if site looks good on your screen, it's all about their screens.
    – gronostaj
    May 27, 2013 at 12:14
  • Well, yeah, that's what I need. Most of my clients are still on XP and I want my screen to be like in XP too.
    – rhazor
    May 27, 2013 at 15:34
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    cough try the Cleartype tuner... cough May 27, 2013 at 23:40
  • There's no tuner on my system. Only basic settings of ClearType from Control Panel. And it is not what I need anyway.
    – rhazor
    May 28, 2013 at 17:20

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You're one of the very rare guys who dislike font smoothing. I cannot live with those ugly, eye hurting XP-style rendering type. But if you really want to change rendering mode, try this.

Mactype is another good option. It's an open source replacement (among others, but right now it's the most updated) for Windows font renderer based on FreeType. You can try different rendering mode, or even disable anti-aliasing completely

mactype aliasing option

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  • Not that rare. As someone with myopic vision, I hate ClearType anti-aliased fonts also. I don't need my computer to help blur text when my myopia does it for me. ClearType/font-smoothing only compounds the problem. Jul 30, 2015 at 2:26
  • @BrianChavez I myself (and also my friends) have myopic and even astigmatism on both of my eyes and cleartype or any other subpixel rendering techniques still greatly improve readability for me. The number of people who do not prefer subpixel rendering is still rare
    – phuclv
    Jul 30, 2015 at 3:52
  • and doesn't this answer the question? any reason for the downvote? is it just because of my humble opinion? haha cannot believe this
    – phuclv
    Jul 30, 2015 at 3:53
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I'm really happy that someone else (and a person that works and read a lot of pages and texts on his computer) is tired of this new font smoothing introduced with windows 7 to replace the standard (and well-working for my eyes) font smoothing of windows Xp. I tried the "universal theme patcher" that you can find on Softonic, that will enable you to patch files in order to install themes like LUNA by Satukoro, available on deviantart. You can also play with advanced options in System folder of the control panel, where you can find the visual effects and then disable font smoothing.

Let me know if it works and if you find other ways.

P.s. I laughed a lot when I saw your animated picture, because it is exactly what I think!!!

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While other answers have covered how to disable ClearType system wide (something the questioner seemed to already know), they have not covered how to enable it only in Firefox. Luckily, Firefox has its own settings for font anti-aliasing. The easiest way to tweak them is to download the extension Anti-Aliasing Tuner

MacType is great for other programs that don't have such features; however, since it forces old style GDI font rendering, the font rendering will be slower than the new style DirectWrite font rendering. If you notice the slowdown, you may wish to use its whitelist feature to only use it on programs that need it.

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  • MacType's DirectWrite support existed long time ago and has been getting better
    – phuclv
    Aug 21, 2018 at 17:06

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