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Windows XP machine has no Font

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2013-11-22
I have a user who contracted some kind of virus that might have originated from a word document. Now his XP machine does not have anything written next to any of the icons. The only words showing up at all on this machine are the window labels. Anyone heard of this?
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Question by:numb3rs1x
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24297104
If they use thumbnail view this is a built-in function (switch on/off by holding the shift key down when changing view to Thumbnails).
Assume you mean something more serious than that though, so desktop icons too?
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by:pablovr
ID: 24297138
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by:sfarazmand
ID: 24297176
There are viruses and spyware that do this. Unfortunately, with some the changes can be permanent and require restoration.  Try using the system restore to a date prior to the problem. If that doesn't work you will have to re-image the machine.
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by:numb3rs1x
ID: 24297213
Masquerade, could you be a little more detailed? The icons are still there, I just don't have any words anywhere. Which means that I have to remember anything done on the GUI by the icon and then the order of the options to click, so the "OK" and the "Cancel" are not written on anything. I still have text on the command line.

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by:numb3rs1x
ID: 24297281
sfarazmand: system restore has been disabled. I'm not sure if that's related to the virus. I would hate to have to re-image this machine. isn't there a way to restore the font? I have a hard time believing there isn't a way to reverse this.
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 1500 total points
ID: 24297357
>>Masquerade, could you be a little more detailed?
Yes but I don't think this is what you are dealing with.  Grab a fully working machine, open any folder in Explorer and while holding shift change the view to Thumbnails -> No text!  Just suggesting it because I've seen users do this and then panic because it's not always done intentionally and there's no obvoius undo (change view and then repeat to restore the filenames).

That change doesn't affect any other view or Desktop Icons so I guess we are dealing with something else more malevolent.  Check if the text is transparent/set to background by trying to highlight it.

Do you have fonts on system buttons, dialogues etc?

Try opening desktop Properties, Appearance, Advanced, select Item "Icon" and then see what is the selected font, the default should be Tahoma 8pt.  If it is possibly Tahoma in your font folder has been deleted/corrupted - given the lack of text it won't be possible to check but use a copy from a working machine to put into the fonts folder on your system.
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by:numb3rs1x
ID: 24297974
Masquerade: I did that, and after a little moneying around making random selections with the font and font-sizes I was able to get text to show up  on the desktop. It's still missing from most of the menus, however, so maybe there are a few corrupted font files? Is there some other place I should try to change the font?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 24298238
No let's work with it as it is so far, the more things that get changed the more has to be put right at the end!

One other thing I thought of since last post was to try system file checker:
Start > Run > SFC /scannow

Ideally with your XP CD handy but if not you could always point it at your \i386 folder on your harddrive (if you have one)

Next grab Tahoma from another machine and install it to your Fonts folder.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 24298911
From http://www.ascendercorp.com/support/

How to clear the font cache

The best approach to delete the font cache file(s). Its OK to delete these files, as they will automatically be restored once your system is restarted, or when you relaunch an application.

The Windows operating system has a font cache file that is located here:
C:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT
Delete this file, and restart your system. A new FNTCACHE.DAT file will be created on startup.
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Author Comment

by:numb3rs1x
ID: 24299261
So changing the font actually did do the trick, and everything came back after a reboot.
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