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Vista allows you to set the default UI font for most European languages by going into the Control Panel > Personalization > Window Appearance > Classic Appearance Properties > Advanced. (The default font is Segoe UI.)

But how do you do this for complex scripts? For example, the default system font for Hebrew is Gisha, but I'd like to change it to something more legible, like Arial Hebrew. Where can I find the settings for this?

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From Change the default Windows XP fonts:

Use regedit and change the following two keys of "MS Shell Dlg 2" and "MS Dlg" to whatever font you want. Make certain that C:\windows\fonts already contains that font.

Here is a .reg file that can change the default fonts:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes]
"MS Shell Dlg 2"="Tahoma"
"MS Shell Dlg"="Microsoft Sans Serif"

For more info : Source1, Source2, Source3.

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I think this changes the default font only for the default script (Latin). How would I change the default font for another script (e.g. Hebrew)? – kpozin Mar 15 '12 at 13:20
"MS Shell Dlg*" is the default system font, but any other font can be substituted. For an example see Change the Default System Fonts in Windows 7. Just be warned that font-names must be exactly specified and are case-sensitive. – harrymc Mar 15 '12 at 13:44

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