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Default fonts in  Windows XP

Posted on 2003-02-27
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Here's the deal. A while ago I decided to make a backup on the fonts installed in my system. So I went to Windows\Fonts and drag&drop to another disk.

Normal Windows behaviour would be to copy files (since directories were in different disks). But as it was the "special" Fonts folder Windows decided to move them out. The result was simple ... Windows misconfigured the default fonts.

My problem now is ... when I open an application let's say Adobe Photoshop ou Macromedia Dreamweaver (any application almost) the font used to display application specific text on the screen isn't the default (the aplication goes to the operating system to get the default font wich Windows as replaced by another!) so I end up with a box of properties of an aplication with alot of options which isn't resisable and because of the change in the font I can't see all the options!

It isn't application specific because it happens with applications installed after that problem occurred and the result is the same.

I have already reinstalled the fonts. No change.

Does anyone know how to restore the original "behavior" of Windows XP (the defaults on fonts)?

Anyone? =)
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Question by:Drift3r
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22 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:bparnes
ID: 8046064
Is it too late to use XP's System Restore functionality to get back to when things were working properly?
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by:dearsina
ID: 8047188
The blatantly easiest thing to do is to re-install XP, it'll take you about 10 minutes, but everything will be back to normal. You don't even need to un-install it, just install in the same directory.

If you don't want to do that, make sure that you have installed all the fonts, not just the true-type ones, but also the ones that come up with a red icon. The way windows handles the fonts folder is quite horrible, things might seem to be there, but they aren't actually there and vice-versa.

sina
london

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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:Drift3r
ID: 8049154
I am trying to avoid re-installing Windows XP. Does it keep the registry as it was?

System Restore is not an option ... it has been too long since this problem has appeared ...

I am trying to find a solution in case this happens again with another machine ...

Any more options?
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by:dearsina
ID: 8051968
If you re-install, it will only overwrite the files that were there from the beginning, it will keep everything else intact. Reasonably safe.

Another quick way I guess, is to simply copy the fonts folder off some other reasonably fresh XP computer and paste the entire contents in the one with the files missing. That should hopefully recover the missing files.

sina
london

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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:bparnes
ID: 8052110
I haven't had much experience mucking around with this kind of font issue in XP, but my gut tells me this is a registry problem, not a missing font files problem.

I suspect that what happened when you initially accidentally moved the fonts out of the font folder is that Windows decided to make some significant changes to the registry so that it could continue displaying whatever it is it had to display using whatever fonts were left available to it. When you moved the fonts back into the fonts folder, Windows did not then revert the affected parts of the registry back to where they were before the initial accidental move. It would be most uncharacteristic of Windows to do so, since from its perspective it has valid entries for everything it is required to have.

If this analysis is close to describing what is going on (I'm not positive it is), then a Windows reinstall is not likely to have any impact on those registry settings. Unfortunately I have not invested in learning how XP handles font settings in the registry, so I'm not in a position to help you at that level.

As far as avoiding this in the future, first thing to do is keep in mind that System Restore is your best friend in XP. It would also help to be more aggressive in making and keeping backup copies of the registry, since mucking about in the registry for arcane font settings is not part of most people's skill set. Finally, I suggest that you remember to right-drag rather than left-drag when you are confronting drag-and-drop file copy/move/create-shortcut issues. A right drag gives you the ability to specify exactly which option you want, whereas a left-drag leaves it up to the Windows programmers (and it's not consistent). I'll do a little more investigating on-line to see if I can come up with something else for you; keep us informed as well. Best regards.
   (bob)

 
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Expert Comment

by:athrak
ID: 8172341
There is an addon for Windows XP called "TweakUI" - it was written by Microsoft, and helps you to fix up a few issues/problem with Windows. You can find it at the Microsoft website.

In the Windows 98 version, there was an option that allowed to you to "Repair" the Fonts folder, when it "lost it's magic". I think the Windows XP version has the same option. It (should) fix up your font related issues, as microsoft realised that Windows could sometimes do it, and This was their fix for it.

TweakUI, part of the Powertoys suite, can be found at

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp

It's 564k, so not a massive download.

Hope this helps, cheers!
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by:Drift3r
ID: 8179268
Actually ... I already had tried that ... (tweakUI) It doesn't do anything (at least .. not that I can see). The problem still remains!

Help? :/
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Expert Comment

by:bparnes
ID: 8182997
I'll try to help, but I'm heading into unfamiliar territory so we may get lost.

Let me ask you to run REGEDIT and tell me the values of the following two keys on your system:

HKLM/software/Microsoft/WindowsNT/CurrentVersion/FontSubstitutes/MS Shell Dlg

HKLM/software/Microsoft/WindowsNT/CurrentVersion/FontSubstitutes/MS Shell Dlg 2

You should see the names of two fonts (one for each key) there. Tell me if either of the font names you get there corresponds to the font you are actually seeing on the screen inappropriately. Also tell me the values of those two keys.
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Expert Comment

by:b_vishwajit
ID: 8561661
Here is the mskb article on how to restore default fonts in win xp:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q234749

That might help you. Yeha.
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Author Comment

by:Drift3r
ID: 8570677
Thx in advance ...
I have these:

HKLM/software/Microsoft/WindowsNT/CurrentVersion/FontSubstitutes/MS Shell Dlg = Microsoft Sans Serif
HKLM/software/Microsoft/WindowsNT/CurrentVersion/FontSubstitutes/MS Shell Dlg 2 = Tahoma

Are these right?
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:centerv
ID: 8670920
Not at xp at the moment, but try something along this line

Right click on desktop/properties click on settings
choose windows defaults and apply.
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Expert Comment

by:PhilipYim
ID: 8906327
To Reinstall the Standard Fonts Included With Windows XP
The following fonts are included with Windows XP and are installed on every computer:
Courier New (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
Arial (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
Times New Roman (TrueType, including Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic variations)
Symbol (TrueType)
Wingdings (TrueType)
MS Serif
MS Sans Serif
If any of the standard fonts that are included with Windows XP are missing, you can run Windows XP Setup again. Setup replaces missing or changed files. If these standard fonts are missing, other Windows XP files may also be missing, and Setup corrects these problems.

(more info.  http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;314960)

If it does not work, please use this

How to Use the SPCheck Tool in Windows XP
(http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;312646)

Using SPCheck
SPCheck examines each component, one file at a time. SPCheck must run under a security context that is equivalent to the local Administrator account. If SPCheck does not run under this security context, files may be reported as missing even though they are installed. SPCheck searches for files by using the PATH system environment variable. If files are reported as missing (although they are installed), make sure that the folder or folders in which the component is installed are included in the PATH system environment variable.

Switches for SPCheck
You can use the following switches with SPCheck:
/i: Use this switch to specify the name of the .ini file that you are using. If you do not specify this switch, the default SPCheck.ini file is used.
/r: Use this switch to specify the name of the report file that is generated. If you do not specify this switch, the SPCheck.rpt default report name is used.


This tool is in your XP CD, if not, downloaded it from this link:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/e/0/6e0b8c10-a71b-44f1-99d5-27f6fc535f5c/XPSPChk.exe 
0
 

Expert Comment

by:PhilipYim
ID: 8906332
Sorry, the last information on SPCheck does not related to you.
I mistake it as SFC.exe, which is not available in the system tool in WinXP, but can be found in Win98.
0
 

Accepted Solution

by:
PhilipYim earned 300 total points
ID: 8906375
This method assumes that your action may have affected your system files, so

Method 1: Reinstall or Repair Windows XP
To repair or reinstall Internet Explorer and Outlook Express in Windows XP, complete the following procedure while you are logged on as an administrator:
1) Use the System File Checker tool to scan all of the protected files on your computer:
a) Click Start, and then click Run.
b) In the Open box, type sfc /scannow, and then click OK.

Note that you may be prompted for the Windows XP or Windows XP Service Pack 1 installation media.

2) Test to determine if the issue is resolved. If the issue is resolved, skip the remaining steps. If the issue is not resolved, continue to the next step.

3) Complete an in-place upgrade of Windows XP, a repair of Windows XP, or reinstall Windows XP. For additional information about how to complete an in-place upgrade or repair of Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
     315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP
     (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;315341)

4) To reinstall Windows XP updates, visit the following Microsoft Windows Update Web site:
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

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by:Drift3r
ID: 9995541
This solved the problem:

3) Complete an in-place upgrade of Windows XP, a repair of Windows XP, or reinstall Windows XP. For additional information about how to complete an in-place upgrade or repair of Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
     315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP
     (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;315341)

What I did was an in-place upgrade of Windows XP.

Thx for all your help guys. The funny thing is that I agree with bparnes (with the reasoning) I also did think that doing the 'install and pray that everything else remains the same except the fonts' would work but I read the 315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP  and decided to give it a try (and prayed I didn't had to format the disk and reinstal XP and all my applications after).

At some point it seemed to block on the "24 minutes remaining" (this was where I started really praying) I restarted and the same ... so I awaited about an hour and it finished.

Apparently the only thing lost (which was to be expected) was the updates.

So ... thanks PhilipYim for the working solution and all the others for the contributions.
0
 

Expert Comment

by:freejohnuk
ID: 11106231
ALTERNATIVE EASY SOLUTION without reinstalling Windows XP

I had exactly this problem.  here's how I fixed it.

I reset the windows default font size to 75%, applied it, then back to 100% again.  After being asked to restart all was back to normal again - phew.

On my Windows XP with and ATI driver I chnaged it under Display/ Properties/ Settings/ Advanced/ general/ Display DPI Settings  from Normal size 96 dpi I choose Custom from the drop down and changed it to 75% from 100%.

After applying and CLOSING DIPSLAY PROPERTIES the fonts went very small (without a restart) and then I went back to the same place and reset it to 100%.  After closing display properties I was asked to restart and bingo - all is visible in option boxes again.

Much better than a reinstall! (If it works for you)

John
0
 

Expert Comment

by:rtilghman
ID: 12186481

Recently I had a problem very similar to the one addressed in this thread.  I decided to post an addendum to this thread since:

1. I kept getting it in my google results
2. Every post in it is wrong
3. I don't consider "reinstall windows" a valid answer (points for that? pffft...)

After a deep analysis of this problem I discovered that the problem is really two-fold.

First, windows has a default regsitry field called "fontsubstitutions" that manages meta-level font associations.  Essentially its like a fonts host file, referencing certain font names to default font files.  For example, "Helvetica" in fontsubstitutes points to the font "Arial" directly.  This accounts for the reason windows users always see Arial instead of Helvetica in, say, programs like IE.

Anyway, if the values of these fields changed its ENTIRELY possible that you would get faulty references.  As such you should go into the registry and check to make sure the values are correct.  Teh location is:  

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes

Whether mine are still correct or not is a toss up, but I have the following (there are more than I list, but these seem to be the system important ones):

Helv = MS Sans Serif
Helvetica = Arial
MS Shell Dlg = Microsoft Sans Serif
MS Shell Dlg2 = Tahoma

Now while this COULD be the problem the OP was having, I don't think it is (and it wasn't for me).  The second possibility is that certain core font files were acccidentally removed or deleted, and that because your system can't find them its substituting random fonts for the ones it needs.

My problem specifically was taht dialog windows would display HUGE fonts that pushed out of the bounds of a non-adjustable window.  A novice would probably assum the size was wrong.  Howeber, knowing that different fonts look different and have different default sizes I realized it was probably just a missing or incorrect association.

Anyway, I did a comparative list and was troubled to find that certain core font files, namely:

MS Sans Serif (which is NOT Microsoft Sans Serif)
MS Serif

and a few others were missing.  The odd thing was that they weren't ttf files, and I couldn't find them or a reference to them.  Everyone who listed defaqult fonts just listed the names (e.g., MS Sans Serif), and I was at a loss to find them either on the net, in the install cd, or on my machine.  Perhaps even MORE amazingly, MS' own typography site doesn't even LIST these fonts (like ms sans serif) as default windows xp fonts!

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/product.aspx?PID=135

To make a long story short it turned out these are ".fon" files (a type I didn't even realize existed), and for some unknown reason had just gotten deleted or removed somehow.  They wouldn't appear in a search for truetype versions, the names are odd, and you basically don't realize what you need unless you already know.  You can get a complete list of the fonts installed in XP by default, INCLUDING fon font files, via the link below:

http://www.styopkin.com/articles/fonts_installed_winxp.html

Since MS doesn't offer file downloads for them the only solution is to either get them from another XP system's font folder or extract them from an install CD.  I chose the latter since I didn't have another XP system immediately on hand (I do, but no monitor for teh desktop at the moment).

To extract the files type the following at the run line with the MS install CD in the cd drive (e:):

for ".FON" font files:
expand E:\i386\Sserife.fo_ C:\Sserife.fon

for ".TTF" font files:
expand E:\i386\Arial.tt_ C:\Arial.ttf

The first reference is to the file on the CD, second is the extracted file that will be placed at the top of the main drive.  Just change the filename as needed, paying attention to the file type reference (the underline).

And THAT is an actual answer to the OP... reinstall windows... I mean REALLY, do you tell someone whose car won't start to go get a new engine?

-rt

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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:Drift3r
ID: 12205509
"To make a long story short it turned out these are ".fon" files (a type I didn't even realize existed), and for some unknown reason had just gotten deleted or removed somehow.  They wouldn't appear in a search for truetype versions, the names are odd, and you basically don't realize what you need unless you already know"

.ttf -> true type font
.fon -> normal font

It's normal you can't find it in a search for true type fonts as .fon are not true type.

As for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes ... went there ... done that ... did not work. Right now I have 22 references. The problem (as far as I understood it was not there).
And reinstalling the fonts did not work either ... (this was actually what I tried first).
As you don't know, at the time of this question I worked in a Helpdesk Support office on a University and had access to hundreds of XP computers. So I was able to check for registry entrys and for difference in fonts' folder on many machines. Addicionally I used to install XP machines almost every day ... I had the same settings as a new installed machine and still it wasn't working.

> 1. I kept getting it in my google results
> 2. Every post in it is wrong
> 3. I don't consider "reinstall windows" a valid answer (points for that? pffft...)

I went around this problem about a year before I posted here for help... If that solution you posted worked for you, good! But that did not work for me ... only the XP reinstall did. So don't assume that everybody's stupid and just like to say "reinstall XP n00b!". And don't assume that the points were poorly given. I gave them to who posted an answer that solved my problem.

I read your entire post ... nothing new there ... the simple fact that you didn't even knew that there was .fon files for me says it all. Can you explain to me what did you say/post that wasn't already said before?

Today I would try freejohnq's first ... (although I still think there was a problem on the registry level ...)

Of course reinstall should be used as a last resort ... but sometimes it's all you have ... some people do have to 'change the engine' ...

Just for kicks ... what's the big problem with a reinstall? I even thought that it had stopped at the middle of it and I restarted twice the machine in the middle and it still installed everything right ... so what's the big deal? The aplications remained all the same.

From your post ... I still don't understand what solved your problem ... copying the fonts to the folder? You really think if it was that simple that I (or the other guys here) wouldn't have figured it out?

0
 

Expert Comment

by:nat_al_ya
ID: 12614064
I used freejohnuk's solution (below) and it worked :)
thanks!
natalya

> ALTERNATIVE EASY SOLUTION without reinstalling Windows XP
> I had exactly this problem.  here's how I fixed it.
> I reset the windows default font size to 75%, applied it, then back to 100% again.  After being asked to restart all was back to normal again - phew.
> On my Windows XP with and ATI driver I chnaged it under Display/ Properties/ Settings/ Advanced/ general/ Display DPI Settings  from Normal size 96 dpi
> I choose Custom from the drop down and changed it to 75% from 100%. After applying and CLOSING DIPSLAY PROPERTIES the fonts went very small (without a
> restart) and then I went back to the same place and reset it to 100%.  After closing display properties I was asked to restart and bingo - all is visible in option boxes
> again.
> Much better than a reinstall! (If it works for you)
> John
0
 

Expert Comment

by:stretchr
ID: 13241523
I just used freejohnuk's solution too and it worked - this has been bugging me for a couple of years.

I thought (and still do) that it was caused by installing Adobe Creative Suite (and previous versions) as the only boxes here ever to exhibit the problem were ones that had had Adobe installed at some point in their lives.

But yayyyy .... all is fixed finally!!  And so simply too.

Many thanks, this is an awesome site.
Richard
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Expert Comment

by:im_dragon
ID: 14951232
freejohnuk's brilliant solution also worked for me.  Thank you so much.

No need to use a tank to kill a fly!
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Expert Comment

by:AdiF
ID: 15079522
Just had a similar problem after installing and uninstalling Adobe Fonts Manager (go figure).

So for future reference, in case anyone has fonts problems:
1. Make a folder X:\WINDOWS\FONTS.NEW
2. Open Command Prompt and go to the i386 folder of your Windows XP CD-ROM.
3. Type: expand -r *.tt_ X:\WINDOWS\FONTS.NEW *.ttf
4. Type: expand -r *.fo_ X:\WINDOWS\FONTS.NEW *.fon
5. Type: expand DESKTOP.IN_ X:\WINDOWS\FONTS.NEW\DESKTOP.INI    (this file makes the Fonts folder "special" with all the features).
6. Using Windows Explorer or My Computer, go to your WINDOWS\FONTS folder. (Do NOT go to Fonts from the Control Panel).
7. Copy all the files you see, and paste them into the WINDOWS\FONTS.NEW folder.  Choose "No to All" when prompted to overwrite.  (This step will ensure that all extra fonts that you or programs have added, will be available afterwards.)
8. Restart your computer into the Windows Recovery Console by booting with the Windows XP CD-ROM and pressing "R" in the Setup.
9. Go to X:\WINDOWS and type: ren FONTS FONTS.OLD
10. Type: ren FONTS.NEW FONTS

You're all set!  Just restart your computer.
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