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Median filter has been widely used for restoration of noise image. In this paper, we present a novel adaptive fuzzy median filter to the restoration of salt & pepper impulse noise-corrupted image, which is particularly effective at removing highly impulsive noise. First a fuzzy estimation phase is based on the calculation of the sum of eight direction gradient values (for each color component), then an extensive window is selected for the best tradeoff between noise suppression and detail preservation. The proposed filter has demonstrated preferable performance in suppressing different noise ratio of color image noise from 10% to 90% noise ratio. Besides, the median computation method based on histogram and multilevel staged search is used to improve the speed of the filtering process.