From crappy to snappy in five steps

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/08/23 06:01 -04:00, original URI:

Earlier, when I posted What would a 'Kartika Fixed' font for Malayalam, do, exactly?, a few people noticed the screenshot I posted that used the Consolas font (and the Kartika font via Uniscribe font fallback) contained text that looked liked crap:

Yet I claimed to be using a Vista almost RC1 build -- and as has been widely reported since first mentioned in the Terminal Services in Windows Server "Longhorn" Executive Chat, RC1 was going to support ClearType over Terminal Server. So why didn't this text look good?

Well, if you look at the chat, Terminal Server Dev manager Joy Chik said:

ClearType will be available in Vista RC1, it's disabled by default, but you can enable it through the RDP client experience tab. The Host OS is Vista or LH Server, the client is Vista based RDP client on XP or above.

Ah, there is the problem -- I am using the XP SP2 client, not the Vista client installed on XP SP2. But I am not running as an Admin (Aaron would be so proud!), and I am stubborn (translation, lazy).

Luckily for now there is a solution for folks like me, too! :-)

It turns out that although I cannot automatically make ClearType enabled over TS in my scenario, I can turn it on manually. Just

1) right click on the desktop:

2) Choose Personalize:

3) Select Window Color and Appearance:

4) Click on the Effects... button and 5) Click on the Checkbox to enable ClearType:

And then the text that looked crappy will look snappy!

Much better!

Now like I said, this is not a perfect solution, since it won't remember that I did this next time around. My client is not smart enough to ask for ClearType support, so it doesn't. Eventually I will happen to logon as an Admin to be performing some task or I'll use RunAs or some other elevation step, and I'll install the Vista client, probably as soon as I get annoyed about having to turn on ClearType explicitly.

Though for now it is so cool to switch between the crappy and the snappy that I will probably hold off until the novelty wears off....

That is just so freaking cool. If I weren't so lazy I'd go back and fix all my old screenshots! :-)


This post brought to you by (U+0d28, a.k.a. MALAYALAM LETTER NA)

Dean Harding on 23 Aug 2006 6:23 AM:

I think screenshots should be taken with ClearType off anyway, since you don't know anything about the display that'll be rendering it.

But I'm sure we all know my thoughts on ClearType :p~

Actually, I'll definately admit that it looks a whole lot better in Vista, though I'm running Vista on my laptop which has a pretty high-res screen. We'll see how it goes when I run it on a CRT...

Michael S. Kaplan on 23 Aug 2006 6:34 AM:

For a font like Consolas, it even helps a CRT. :-)

Chris Becke on 24 Aug 2006 7:54 AM:

Actually, for some reason the "nice" version of the screenshot makes my eyes water. The font edges are so "soft" my eyes seem to think they arn't focussing properly.

Chris Lundie on 14 Sep 2006 7:54 PM:

Michael, I created this bit of software to solve the problem. It's a tiny app that just turns on ClearType and quits. May you find it useful.

Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Sep 2006 5:05 PM:

Hi Chris -- very cool. :-)

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