How to fix Chrome displaying weird characters

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Today’s tip has to do with a weird thing that some users are seeing in Chrome. The text characters are missing some pieces and it just looks all weird (and even unreadable). Here’s how to fix it.



What we’re talking about today falls into a category I call a “niche tip”. This means that some people won’t care about at all, since their computer has not had this particular problem. This tip resolves an issue that’s not even an issue for them.

But for other people, the ones who are experiencing this problem, the solution I’ll provide today is probably a Hallelujah Moment, and they will be overjoyed to finally find the solution.

Here’s what the problem looks like when it shows up:

Chrome messed up text


The first time one of my clients saw this, she assumed it was a virus or some type of malicious software that had gotten into Chrome. She called me immediately and had me remote in and check on it.

But she didn’t have a virus. Actually it would have been very unlikely for her computer to be infected, since she’s on my Managed Service Plan (link).

This is just related to a setting in Chrome called Hardware Acceleration.

Without getting all techy, the Acceleration feature allows Chrome to offload some of the graphics work to the hardware on your computer (meaning the graphics card) rather than forcing the browser (Chrome) to do all the work. Usually this means smoother graphics. But sometimes, on some computers, it just doesn’t work that way – that’s when you see those funky character that don’t make any sense. When that happens, the best solution is to just disable Acceleration.

How to disable Acceleration in Chrome:

1. In Chrome, click the 3 dots in the top right corner:

Chrome dots


2. In the menu that drops down, click on Settings.

3. Scroll down to the bottom and click on Advanced

4. Scroll down to the “Systems” section, and find the setting called “Use hardware acceleration when available” and slide that option to the left to turn it off:

Chrome system settings


Now go back to the website where the weird characters were showing in Chrome, and see if the problem is solved. Chances are things will be back to normal again!

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Mike Hill
July 8th, 2019

I discovered Windows’ multiple desktops feature (CTRL-WinKey-Lft/Rt arrows). Is there a way to limit these to 2 or 3 instead of a larger number? When I rapidly move the mouse across the screen, I am presented with thumbnails of all desktops and all open screens. If I move slowly this does not happen. Is this a feature which can be adjusted? I fight with this when I am working quickly and it slows me down. Perhaps this could be a future topic for your show. Thanks.

Scott Johnson
July 8th, 2019

Not sure about that Mike, I would need to research it. Or maybe someone else knows and can comment here.