And in this special case, WTF stands for: What’s with The Font-rendering…
This has happened to me a couple times now, and each time I have filed a bug, waited, hunted, and finally found the solution, so I’m officially documenting it here and now for anyone else that might have the same issue (and for me, so that the next time I have the issue, I can more easily find the answer…).
Somewhere, somehow, I see something that says I should update my version of Google Chrome, and I do so. This only happens at some rare, vague, fuzzy moment between consciousness and comatose; it’s the same situation as when you arrive home safely from your daily commute, but have no recollection of how you got there…
The several latest versions of Chrome, installed on a Windows 7 PC, renders every page font unreadable, like this:
This is not a compression issue with the image, this is what my screen really looked like!
The last version that doesn’t completely muck things up (but still requires a Custom.css for some pages, read more in a previous Today’s Readings post) is 17.x.
The problem is well-known, and well-documented, so it is amazing to me that for at least six months, two “stable” versions, countless sub-versions, this issue continues to exist… Firefox: fine; Safari: fine; IE: fine; Opera: fine; Chrome’s own browser chrome: just fine; it is just the web pages that Chrome renders.
As I stated above, a Custom.css used to fix a part of the problem, and the above Issue offers a plethora of solution options, but none of them worked for me; these latest rendering issues, at least thus far, cannot be solved, you have to revert to an older version of Chrome (which is something that they don’t bother to make easy).
- Before we do anything else, make a copy of your current Chrome Profile (the files and folders that represent any customizations you’ve made to Chrome, including stored username/passwords, extensions, bookmarks, etc.). The folder to copy should be something like:
- Download the older version of Google Chrome. Again, 17.x was the last that mostly works for me, but you may want to play with other versions to see if there is a better choice.
- Uninstall your current version of Google Chrome (do not remove any personal settings, just uninstall Chrome):
Start > All Programs > Google Chrome > Uninstall
- Install the older version of Chrome.
- Open Chrome, to make sure it loads, and that the font-rendering is returned to a readable state. You will likely get a message regarding the Profile, something like it “being from a newer version so it can’t be used”, just close that for now. You will also notice that none of your bookmarks or customizations are there; we’ll get to that in a minute.
- If all looks good, proceed; otherwise uninstall again and install another version of Chrome.
- Close Chrome.
- Open two separate Windows Explorer windows, one with the Profile for the current version of Chrome, and one with the Profile we copied in Step 1; again, the paths should be something like:
- Copy at least the following folders/files to the newly-installed version of Chrome (once these are installed, you can always try adding others as well, being sure to make a copy of the existing first, so that if some breaks, you can easily revert back):
- Extensions (folder)
- User StyleSheets (folder)
- Bookmarks (file)
- Custom Dictionary.txt (file)
- Favicons (file)
- Google Profile.ico (file)
- Preferences (file)
- Shortcuts (file)
- Web Data (file)
- Open Chrome again and you should see readable fonts, and all your personal settings…
- Return to life as usual, and stop updating Chrome! (That last part was really for me…)
Hope this helps you, I fear it will help me again, some day in the future, when my coffee is not properly doing it’s job…