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Text is missing on icons in the taskbar and start menu

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a client with an older laptop,circa 2005 Dell laptop running XP Pro, SP3 who has a problem I have not come across before: The icons on the start menu and the taskbar, for active programs (not the systray, or notification area) are missing their labels, or their text, if you will. This is happening randomly, and they seem to just suddenly go away.  I have not actually seen the laptop yet, but I wanted to try to get some ideas about what it might be and some suggestions. I am already thinking brand new user profile, or possibly rebuild, but would like to try to resolve it with minimal intrusion/time investment.

Initially, I had asked my client to try using a different local profile (new profile). He said he had another account (existing) that he had not logged into for a long time, but the result was the same, and I wasn't entirely surprised by that. Randomly, after some time, the text on the icons simply disappears. In an attempt to fix the problem himself, the client recently upgraded the RAM and also downloaded SP3. However, neither has resolved it.

I am also thinking video driver update if there are any for this old beast of a machine, and possibly update the BIOS, although I don't think that BIOS really has anything to do with this problem.

Any ideas? Validation?

Thanks,

Brad
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Question by:bsemmel
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Mike earned 500 total points
ID: 35131199
Try a Windows XP Repair Installation
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Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 35136106
As the symptom is happening randomly, it could suggest Malware or a virus.
Have you already thoroughly scanned this machine?

If in any doubt i would suggest downloading & updating Malwarebytes anti-Malware, from here:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php

Run in normal mode.
Tutorial, if required:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t169669.html

Then, even if the laptop appears clean, try Hitman Pro a second opinion scanner:
Hitman Pro http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro
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Author Comment

by:bsemmel
ID: 35245050
I ended up doing a repair install, which fixed it. My best guess - a corrupt system font.  Thanks all.
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