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Windows XP SP3 cleartype stops java vm from working

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2009-04-30

Hello everybody.

I'm sorry to post this here.
I searched all over the Internet with no joy and here is my last hope in finding a proper solution to this issue.

The problem is that Java applications do not start when the Windows display cleartype font effect is enabled. (Display settings > Appearance > Effects... > Use the following method to smooth the edges of screen fonts:)

The same happens when you try to run the java embedded into web pages.

If I do the java test on the Sun site, , it loads the applet but then it crashes and does not display anything.

If I try to run the java console from the Control Panel or the Taskbar it doesn't work either.

It does work when the setting is disabled or on "standard" mode.

here some pictures:

Using Opera browser it shows the message "Applet Crashed"
Using IE it shows just a blank square and if you change window and return back to it keeps part of the window was above earlier.

Hope the pictures can explain better then my horrible English.

some links that talk about this same issue:


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Joined: 2009-08-26

I have just closed a chapter on a day long saga on similar lines.

It would be worthy of a Simpson's Halloween special "Treehouse of Horror" story.

For some reason my JRE v6.0 update 15 stopped working (Windows XP SP2 on an IBM Thinkpad X60s)

No java application would run, despite some disk activity, nor would the Java Control Panel open up, everything was dead in the water.

I used the following to do a scorched earth cleansing of Java installations:

Installed, cleaned and reinstalled JRE v6.0 Update 16 several times, all to no avail.

Continued to plod along in the search engines, and fortuitiously discovered this reference (above) to disabling "ClearType".

Once ClearType was disabled, lo and behold eveything worked! All Java apps worked and the Java Control Panel was fine as well.

I rolled back to v5.0 update 16 and that worked for those Apps that could run on it. From memory there was never such problems with the v5.0.x JRE, OTOH, it never tried to engage ClearType and font display suffered accordingly.

Enable ClearType on JRE v6.0.x and it would all stop again.

So what was a mysterious "Heisenbug" revealed itself to be a "Bohrbug" with the toggling of ClearType.

Having ClearType permanently disabled was not an option.

On a hope, rather than a hunch, recalling that ClearType can be tweaked, I downloaded the Microsoft ClearType PowerToy:

And re-tuned my ClearType parametrisation.

Fortuitously, after that, everything was back to Normal with JRE v6.0.x working as expected with ClearType enabled.

Problem solved for me, on my machine at least - at least for now.

[b]Clearly there are vulnerabilities in the Windows implementation of the JRE that Jave Engineering really needs to pay attention to, there is, apparently, code of substantial bogosity that needs to be reworked.[/b]

As it stands you wouldn't want to run a mission critical java application on a windows platform, given this vulnerability.

I hope someone bring it to their attention. At the very least a topic in the Java FAQ's is in order - this failure on my system was without rhyme or reason, the JRE v6.0.x had been working fine for months without any issues.

Possibly, I haven't explored it, but maybe the ClearType PowerToy could be used to "de-tune" ClearType to the extent that it will crash the JRE on any Windows XP system, all of the time.

Luckily, I had an "11th hour reprieve" - I was on the verge of doing a scorched earth rebuild of my entire system...

Who knows how many other sufferers are out there, completely flummoxed.

Thanking you for your attention.

For the Search engines: Java Applications Won't Wont Work Java Control Panel CP Doesn't Does not Open ClearType Tuner PowerToy Problem Solution Workaround

Joined: 2009-08-26

Some further resources:

Description of alternate font smoothing for XP:

GDI++ Font Smoothing

The latter two have a convenient up-to-date download link for the application.

The Developer's website:

The Developer's latest builds:

To use GDI++ you first disable ClearType, and then run GDI++ and enable it.

[b]One very interesting aspect of GDI++ is that it appears to totally break the v6.0.x JRE - neither will Java Applications, nor the Java Control Panel will run.[/b]

So it may be useful for exploring that current vulnerability in JRE v6.0.x with ClearType and font smoothing in general.

Joined: 2009-08-26


Open Bug Report:

[b]Microsoft ClearType font-smoothing crashes Java JRE v6.0 with no error messages[/b]

Best regards,

Joined: 2009-08-26

A very interesting account, which is on topic for this bug:

Serious Java bug triggered by X-Setup tweak

It also provides a tool for triggering the problem.

Over to Java Engineering.