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or by downloading a controller. In WinXP and IE6 it is off by default. But in IE7 it will be ON by default, and will be on regardless of the OS setting.
ClearType=ON improves type rendering by incredible factors, partly because Windows-hinted fonts know about ClearType. Everyone should turn it on now, and the decision to default it on in IE7 is an excellent one.
Windows actually has two methods of smoothing fonts. Windows 98 (or was it XP?) introduced a system that only kicks in when the fonts go over a certain size, like large headers on websites. You can switch this off and choose ClearType instead, which applies to most fonts at all sizes.
Also, you don't need to visit a website or download anything to turn on ClearType in XP. The option is there built-in for you. I would recommend the ClearType Tuner though, for setting the contrast used.