WWW FAQs: Why do images look bad on my computer?

2006-02-24: if you are using America Online, you probably have AOL's "image compression" feature turned on; it is turned on by default. MSN has a similar feature called "MSN Accelerator" that reduces the quality of images to speed up page access. A low-cost ISP, "NetZero," may be using similar software. This accelerates your browsing experience, particularly if you are stuck behind a 56K modem, by converting all or most images on the web into a proprietary format known as an "ART" image (for AOL) or a lower-quality JPEG image (for MSN). The catch is that you can't get something for nothing in most cases -- quality will suffer.

Turning Off AOL's Image Compression

To turn it off, first make sure you are signed on to AOL properly, not as a guest. Then, pick "members" from the toolbar, pick "my AOL," locate the "web" preferences, and turn off "use compressed graphics." For more complete information, see this excellent "before and after" comparison. See also why do images keep saving in ART format?

Turning Off MSN's Image Compression

Right-click the MSN Accelerator icon in your system tray and set the level of acceleration to "none."

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