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My Mum's old Windows XP laptop is displaying very strangely, with fonts in both Windows dialogues, applications and even the start menu appearing blocked out in rectangles of solid colour. (See picture).

Windows XP blocked out text

This shows up for he on the screen, and for me remotely using screen-sharing (crossloop). (The picture is a screen-cap of my remote view (hence the low colours) but the blocks are much as my Mum is seeing it locally.

I've done a bit of searching, and have determined there isn't a webpage as desktop background as fixed it for some people, and I've disabled drop-shadows, as recommended here. Neither worked.

We're running a virus scan as I type this, but nothing has come up so far (and it would seem like an odd thing for a virus to do).

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your explorer.exe seems currupt. can you revert to a previous restore point? – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Mar 28 '13 at 23:28

I have seen these symptoms before on systems where some of the font files used by Windows could not be loaded due to file corruption on the system disk.

Check for filesystem corruption using chkdsk and then if it finds broken files run "sfc /scannow". If font files are really broken you might have to replace them from original installation media or another computer.

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