Fixing Blurry Text Anti Aliasing Issue in Firefox

Yesterday, we acquired a new ATI Radeon 6950 Graphics Card and hacked its BIOS to unlock inactive shaders and turn it into a more expensive 6970 Card. Everything went smooth, but for some reason Firefox decided to go ugly. The text and the UI looked a bit blurry with rough edges. Like This:

Blurry Fonts Issue in Firefox

We tried everything we could in ATI’s Catalyst Control Panel, but nothing helped. This issue only affected Firefox, and none of the other application, which was a bit weird initially, but helped us narrow-down on the problem and resolve it. The main culprit for this problem turned out to be Firefox’s hardware acceleration feature, which tries to use GPU to render fonts and other elements of the browser. We simply disabled it, and restarted Firefox to solve the issue.

Blurry Font Issue Fixed in Firefox

How to Disable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox

Click on the Orange Firefox Button, choose ‘Options’ from the menu (if you are using different operating system or older version of Firefox, go to Tools > Options). Go to Advanced, and under the ‘General’ tab, you will find ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’. Just uncheck it and restart your browser.

Fix Blurry Fonts - Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware Acceleration is a very useful feature which uses your GPU’s potential to improve page and multimedia rendering, and it was too good to simply be disabled. Upon future stumbling, we found a nifty little extension called Anti-Aliasing Tuner which allows us to keep hardware acceleration feature enabled, but at the same time fix the blurry anti aliasing issue.

It’s not really a plug and play kind of add-on, and you may possibly have to fiddle around with the settings of the add-on to be able to resolve the blurry font issue.

This post was published by on May 9, 2011

About the Author: Thilak Rao works as a Social Media Expert. He is one of the first professional bloggers from India, and he loves to write, travel and click photos. Follow him on Twitter @thilak

  • mark palmer

    This could also be caused/fixed by your AMD/ATI Catalyst Control. After upgrading to 11.5 I was having this problem in FireFox, but also in LiveMail, Live Messenger, and could see small amounts of fuzzy looking fonts in other programs too.

    Here is the fix:

    Here’s a response just in at the W7 ITPro UI forum:

    I’ve just experienced the same problem. It was caused by installing the ATI 11.5 Catalyst driver update from Windows Update.

    To resolve it open Catalyst Control Center, goto the “Gaming” section and untick the top checkbox “Morphological filtering”. 

    Apply those settings and then restart Windows Live (making sure the process is actually stopped in task manager before starting it) Simply re-start the application and your problem will be solved!This “fix” worked RIGHT AWAY. No need to reboot computer.Good Luck,Mark

  • Thilak Rao

    Thanks for helping us out!

  • Kel

    That was my exact problem! Thank you!