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Font Display Problem - Jagged


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#1 BrandonH

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 10:42 PM

Hi. I installed this program called Vista Rainbar. It's just a variation of Rainmeter. Right after it finished installation, I noticed the fonts become more fuzzy. Just instantaneously. Which confuses me, because this program just displays different configs. It shouldn't affect the computers display. But I updated my graphics card driver. It didn't improve. I then used ClearType and downloaded ClearType Tuner from Windows XP Power Toy. It improved the appearance quite a bit. However, it's still a little fuzzy and bothers my eyes. It's mainly a problem on my browser - Firefox - and email - Thunderbird - because I use dark themes and fonts look much worse when it's light on dark. And in these cases, some of the text, like in the Address Bar, Search bar, and Context Menus have these green spots unless my monitor is at a certain angle. I'm pretty sure it's unrelated because I'm sure I had the font problems before this Browser Hijacker infection. And I've scanned with MBAM, SAS, and IObit Security 360 and also AntiVir and all scans came back clean. The screen resolution is correct and I've run hardware diagnostics with no errors. I'm just not sure what it could be. Unless my eyes just suddenly worsened. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have Sony Vaio Windows XP MCE 2005 with a Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset graphics card.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 05:04 AM

Unless I'm missing something, I don't observe any effects in those images like you describe with the text in address & search bars. Are you able to temporarily substitute another monitor to see if it also shows the same effect for you? The fact that the images appear normal to me suggests that the computer itself is generating normal appearing text. (At least as far as the frame buffer, which is where a screen capture comes from. That leaves the monitor, cable and output section of the video card which are after the "good" screenshot.)

Edited by Platypus, 22 October 2009 - 05:07 AM.

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#3 BrandonH

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for replying so quickly. Yeah, the green spots in the address bar, that whole area up there, only shows if I have the monitor angled to a certain degree. So I have to have it tilted at a particular angle to avoid those problems. Maybe it has something to do with ClearType Tuner's method of sharpening the font. I'm learning it's not so much of a hassle. I'd like to test another monitor, but this is a laptop. Guess it really only bothers me after being on the computer for long periods of time. Just wanted to see if others saw the distortions I saw and if they would know what's causing it.

Edit: You can see the jaggedness when it's a bigger size.
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Edited by BrandonH, 22 October 2009 - 12:21 PM.


#4 Platypus

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:02 AM

If what's catching your attention is for example the stepping visible on the near-horizontal curvature of the "e", that's hard to avoid. I actually don't like what ClearType does on my laptop, so I don't use it.

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#5 BrandonH

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 01:16 PM

Yes that's exactly what's catching my attention. But with Standard, the fonts is hardly legible. So I can live with it. Thank you so much for your input. Take care,

Brandon

#6 BrandonH

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 01:15 AM

Hope it's ok I'm reviving this thread. I've been putting up with this issue for the last month and decided to hook up an external display. I realized that it is the monitor. This is a Sony Vaio VGN-N160G laptop. I tried opening up the monitor to see if I could see any physical damage, but did not want to cause any further damage so didn't try when I got stuck. From the front of the screen, the screen seems to have smudge marks but on the inside of the screen. I'm not sure if the cleaning cloths would have caused some damage. The manual says to use a dry cloth, but I used cleaning clothes that had isopropyl alcohol. It's bizzarre because a month or so before this monitor had problems, our desktop monitor failed after using a screensaver that blurred the desktop using Net Framework 3.5. But our graphics cards should be able to handle the visual effects. I had been using Windowblinds on both computers, so that makes me wonder. Using that program alone, I didn't have any visual problems, but on the desktop, once I installed the screensaver; the backlight must have went out. I opened that one up and didn't see any damage to the capacitors - leaking- like others had suggested. And on this laptop, I noticed the change immediately once I installed Rainmeter, without even running it. So I don't see why the monitor just suddenly decreased in quality. The desktop graphics card is a Intel® 82865G Graphics Controller, and the laptop's is a Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset Family. Could an insufficient video card cause monitor problems? I'm just afraid my customizing leads to these problems, but doesn't seem like it should. I know what I'm doing and it's a personal computer, but it seems like I can't personalize it without encountering some problem. The font usually seems around 80 to 90% of what it should be in quality, but seems like it also decreases in quality later in the day after being on for hours. But since it first occurred, the quality hasn't decreased. Does anyone know why these things happen when I perform just routine customizations? I feel like I have to use a computer as a child now, that any modifications can cause problems. Thank you.

#7 Platypus

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:05 AM

That would explain why I couldn't see the problem you were describing.

Cleaning an LCD screen with isopropyl alcohol is an uncertain issue AFAIK, its use diluted 50% with distilled water is often quoted, but alcohol can degrade some anti-reflection treatments and leach some plasticizers. So I don't know whether to think that is a possible contributor.

I don't see any mechanism by which software like screensavers, or video chipset behaviour can contribute to monitor failure like you've experienced with the backlight.

Does the location of the effect move if you alter the screen resolution, and therefore the position of elements on screen? If you are seeing what would be categorised as Mura (a localised defect in illumination of the image) its position will not change, but it may be more or less visible and have differing effects according to what is on the screen at that spot. Mura can be caused by various faults in different layers of the screen, from clouding of the light guide under the LCD through to deterioration of the outer transparent layer.

One thing you could try is to Google & download a test program like Nokia Monitor Test, and cycle through full white screen and Red - Green - Blue to see if a visible aberration shows in the region where you see the effect. It may then be that the changes you make with fonts etc just alters how much your eye notices the Mura at that location (like how you said in your second posting that you have to have the screen tilted a certain way to notice it).

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#8 BrandonH

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:35 PM

Thanks again for such a swift reply. It was kind of funny. I was reading about a similar problem on another forum. The person posted a screenshot and described the font distortions. I saw what she was talking about and thought I was on the way to a solution. But then someone replied saying he didn't see any of the distortions. Turned out it was some setting on her graphics card, but I had no such settings. And when I set up an extended monitor, the quality of the screenshot changed significantly from one to another*.

Anyway, when I changed screen resolution; the aberration seemed to move proportionally with the wallpaper as if it's a matter of per-pixel coloring - if there is such a thing. And when changing wallpapers, a discoloration is apparent in different spots. When I did the color test using the Nokia application, I focused on one particular aberration. It was much more noticeable on the red and green screens than on the blue and black. Seems like I have conflicting results. Because the results from changing resolution doesn't seem to correlate with a Mura; but the color test does. Either way, I'm guessing it'd be better to put up with than pay the repair cost.

Edit*- By that I mean, the font in the image. Images and videos don't seem to have any distortions; only like screenshots with font, or when using Remote Access via TeamViewer. The font is hardly legible even with the highest quality setting.

Edited by BrandonH, 11 December 2009 - 03:48 PM.


#9 Platypus

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:11 PM

It's possible you have two problems that just happen to make each other worse in some instances.

In a situation where the font is hardly legible, can you get a picture with a camera (no flash) that might give us an idea of how it looks?

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#10 BrandonH

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 01:30 AM

I tried getting a picture, but I couldn't get a large enough picture with sufficient detail. But basically, the letters become faded mainly where there are curves or diagonals. Also, some of the straight lines of letters are thickened and maybe blurred a little bit. Also, just wanted to mention when I ran the color test with the Nokia Monitor Test, the aberrations were clusters of lighter - brighter colored pixels.




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