I switched over to Cleartype on Windows XP about 3 years ago. And in the Theme settings I used Vista (made-for-Cleartype) fonts for all the UI widgets.

However, certain system dialogs of Windows and Windows utilities still show up in the older Windows font. That now looks butt-ugly under Cleartype. Anyone knows how to change this system font too?

  • 3
    Could you take a screenshot of this and put it in the question? – Stefan Thyberg Jul 16 '09 at 11:21
  • Can you give an example of what exactly would you like changed ? – Rook Jul 17 '09 at 13:43

Sometimes the font is hard-coded into the application.

In that case you have no chance to change their font through the global Windows settings.

Remember when Microsoft decided to lighten the dialog background color a little bit? (Windows 2000/ME) Suddenly many applications had dialogs with a mixture of dark and light gray colors. (Most times when glyphs/icons were not transparent and instead had the old dialog color background)


The problem is, indeed, with the fonts used for MS Shell Dlg which, by default, is Microsoft Sans Serif. The latter is described as "metrically compatible with the MS Sans bitmap font" which hints at why high-dpi scaling can get messed up.

Solution: right-click over the Start button (windows icon) and select "Run", the type "regedit" and press Enter to open the Registry. Then locate


in the registry and change MS Shell Dlg to something else - Arial or Tahoma will work, but to look like the rest of Windows I chose Segoe UI.

You can now back to normal Dialog or...

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