Windows 7 magnifier impractical for vision impaired people

Dan Warne has tipped us off about a "bug" in Windows 7 for vision impaired people.

Dr Scott Hollier of Media Access Australia wrote to APC mag to reveal the problem.

Hollier says "The bug occurs when a user tries to use the full screen Magnifier in combination with a high contrast colour scheme. The Magnifier appears to be largely dependent on the Aero graphics engine, meaning that it works well when Aero colour themes are used. However, when a user switches to a high contrast colour scheme such as High Contrast Black, the OS dumps the user back into the old Magnifier feature which, by default, shows a small magnification bar at the top of the screen."

According to Hollier the "majority of people that need the full screen magnifier will also need a high contrast colour scheme" so this could be a huge issue for the thousands of visually impaired people. We have contacted Microsoft for a response and are awaiting a company spokesperson to provide further feedback to this issue.

As is often the case "it's not a bug it's a feature" springs to mind but it's a feature Microsoft should certainly change.

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people say its bugs . . .
i say people did not take a quick look at the options of Windows 7's Magnifier.
Magnifier > Options (Gear image) > Turn on color inversion
hmmm i wonder what that checkbox does?
Color Inversion ~ High Contrast (note i didnt use the = symbol)

If you get locked in "Docked" over reboots.. either by changing themes to high contrast, or just by playing with the "docked" zoom mode> Then
Export the buggy registry entry (just practical) [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ScreenMagnifier], then delete it > reboot. Launch Magnifier, (perhaps you'll find yourself with options again) regedit to key and compare what is pasted below.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ScreenMagnifier]
"RunBefore"=dword:00000001
"MagnifierUIWindowMinimized"=dword:00000001
"ClassicDocked"=dword:00000001
"ClassicDockPosition"=dword:00000001
"ClassicWindowHeight"=dword:000000f0
"Magnification"=dword:000000c8
"MagnifierUIWindowDeltaX"=dword:00000096
"MagnifierUIWindowDeltaY"=dword:000000f0
"LensWidth"=dword:00000001
"LensHeight"=dword:00000001
"MagnificationMode"=dword:00000002

Bug/Features=Opportunities to excel..
How much did you pay for Window 7?

if the guy just submitted a bug report microsoft can sweep it under the rug ... if the guy goes public (like he did) it almost forces microsoft to make the change ... or face criticism for not changing it.

i say fix it, and i hope Microsoft does and i hope people are as passionate about these future quirks as they were about UAC

Microsoft also took a lot of usefulness out of the magnifier tool when they changed the way WPF works, programs can no longer magnify WPF applications as vectors, the image is always returned as pixelated bitmaps.

People who gave vision impairment won't want the updated UI in Aero. the glass doesn't improve readability, but rather reduces it. When it comes to high contrast, less distractions is better.

simon360 said,
People who gave vision impairment won't want the updated UI in Aero. the glass doesn't improve readability, but rather reduces it. When it comes to high contrast, less distractions is better.

They are talking about the layout engine which uses the GPU, not "Aero Glass".

I know, I was responding to #10.1. Windows Classic should be able to run under Aero, imo. Some porting work, but Microsoft can do it for the sake of these people. Eventually they'll need to anyway.

I am really hoping that this feature works well. My wife can use this and I won't have to pay for expensive software from AI Squared (ZoomText/ZoomWare).

necrosis said,
O NO! A bug in beta software!

It's pretty much something we are going to have to get use to... the media reporting on "major" bugs in BETA software as if its a huge flaw in a program that was released... gives people impressions software sucks even before its ever released...

neufuse said,
It's pretty much something we are going to have to get use to... the media reporting on "major" bugs in BETA software as if its a huge flaw in a program that was released... gives people impressions software sucks even before its ever released...
Yeah this is what bugs the hell out of me.

The other thing I hate is the reports of how fast 7 runs over Vista. Its freeking beta software!

I gave a friend of mine my beta copy of Vista way back just to see how it will run on his aging rig. It ran great to our surprise. Well months later I threw the final Ultimate version (the beta was biased on Ultimate) on his rig and it ran like cold **** in January.

I have seen the same thing with PC games. The beta's running better than the final's. I have no idea why people go so in depth with a beta for Christs sake.

Large beta's are good and all to catch bugs like this. But when you get jackholes that run around like its the end of the world instead of just releasing a notice to MS and making a BACK PAGE NEWS post on their blog about it or some crap, it makes me wish for closed beta's.

necrosis said,
Yeah this is what bugs the hell out of me.

The other thing I hate is the reports of how fast 7 runs over Vista. Its freeking beta software!

I gave a friend of mine my beta copy of Vista way back just to see how it will run on his aging rig. It ran great to our surprise. Well months later I threw the final Ultimate version (the beta was biased on Ultimate) on his rig and it ran like cold **** in January.

I have seen the same thing with PC games. The beta's running better than the final's. I have no idea why people go so in depth with a beta for Christs sake.

Large beta's are good and all to catch bugs like this. But when you get jackholes that run around like its the end of the world instead of just releasing a notice to MS and making a BACK PAGE NEWS post on their blog about it or some crap, it makes me wish for closed beta's.


A beta running better than the final? In my experience, it's ALWAYS been the other way around. That goes for the Vista beta's, too. I don't know what crack you're smoking, but Vista didn't get its speed boost until somewhere in the 54xx builds and onwards.

The thing is, this is not a bug. Therefore, it wouldn't have been addressed in RTM. Especially since Windows 7 is meant to be feature complete. The only way to get MS to budge on added a new feature at this point is to cause a fuss.

all the more reason why they should just create Aero versions of the high contrast themes.
heck, all they'd need to do is invert the colours and tweak the dpi. done and done.

Good to see they're making some improvements to the magnifier. Hopefully they'll improve it even more by RTM.

I miss the Magnifier feature in OSX, the one in Vista is useless.

I just tried it out. I enabled it full screen then Alt-shift-printscreened into High Contrast... it kicked me into the old magnifier. Alt-shift-printscreened back into Aero theme, and the magnifier crashed. Reported and submitted bug.

Maybe it's just because MS hasn't finished with Win7 development yet? :P The author should have submitted a bug via Windows Feedback Program.

Brandon I always thought The rendering engine shouldn't be turned off when glass was switched to something like the classic theme, but rather turned on and off dependent on hardware and the users preference, not what theme your using. Why shouldn't you be able to have the classic theme with flip3d? There has even been an effort in the past with vista to remake the classic theme as a DWM theme, which actually worked fairly well (on top of needing Rafael's patched files)

It may have been an issue of consistency to not confuse users (old themes, old rendering) but i think it should be explored more.

The new full screen magnifier probably runs on the same graphics engine as Aero, so when you disable Aero it forces the older Magnifier... Logically. No Aero in High Contrast theme thus no full screen magnifier.

The only 2 solutions for that would be to force Aero to run in any theme, which would be counter productive to people who want to disable it for use on older computers. So they would be forced to make the ability to toggle Aero in any theme. Pointless for a magnifier, if you ask me.

I would just suggest force unclicking that feature if Aero is disabled, saying something like "This feature is not available with Aero disabled." Or... make a high-contrast Aero theme.