Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Windows 7 for XP fans

The problem
Having upgraded to Windows 7 recently I found myself in a very unpleasant situation. I am doing a lot of text processing, e.g. programming, answering to lots of emails, reading documentation etc and the appearance of text makes a difference. By default, Windows 7 comes with a feature called clear type, that is supposed to improve the readability of text on "modern LCD screens". Quite sadly so, for me it works exactly the opposite way. After working for half an hour, I immediately felt the fatigue in my eyes and I got a headache. At that point in time I decided to stop any work until I manage to fix the appearance of text or to dump Windows 7 altogether.

The solution
Searched the net for a while and came to several useful tips
  • Disable all Visual effects (Control Panel > Search for visual effects > Select "Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows" > Either select "Adjust for best performance" or "Custom" and disable all checkboxes). This will effectively disable Aero as well and the computer will appear more or less like Windows XP
  • Turn off Clear Type (Control Panel > Search for clear type > Select Adjust Clear Type text > Uncheck the checkbox and click next until the end of the wizard

Apart from that, I had to tune the programs I use most, to use better fonts

  • I am using Eclipse fonts - Go to Window > Preferences > Search for fonts > Set the font on the editors that you use (e.g. Java, JavaScript, Text, C/C++) to Courier New 10 points
  • I am using Firefox 8 for browsing, so I had to adjust the fonts there as well. - Go to Options > The Content tab > Then in the Fonts&Colors section click Advanced. Use "Arial Unicode MS" for the Serif and Sans Serif fonts and Courier New as Monospace font

Another minor thing is switching the office theme to Black, so that Outlook etc do not glow to much in your eyes.

With all that set, I now enjoy a much better text experience. Hope this helps you too :)

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