[SOLVED] Strange problem / hoping for some insight

By mikebottomley ·
So I have a user that is having a strange problem with her workstation and I am drawing blanks. The problem is related to text on some web pages. On certain web pages there is text sections that is the same color as the background and essentially disappears while on other sites there is some characters only that are not present at all. E.G. "account" would read as "ccont" (just an example off the top of my head.

This is consistent in Fire Fox, IE, and Chrome and between restarts. This does not occur in any other programs other than internet browsers. I have run multiple virus scanners with no joy, checked her language bar was set properly to English (would affect more than just browsers if it wasn't anyways), and Google is of no help when multiple browsers are effected.

The users is on Windows XP SP3.

Any suggestions or further lines of inquiry that I should follow? I am coming close to a repair install of Windows but would like to have an answer to the problem first.

Thanks for taking the time to help out, Mike

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All Answers

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Might check the fonts this user has installed,

one or more of the font files could have been corrupted. Should be able to
reinstall the fonts from your Windows media (repair partition, DVD, etc.)

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Reponse To Answer

by mikebottomley In reply to Might check the fonts thi ...

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that we had tried that. It is not font related since there are not entire fonts missing on all pages but some words are missing characters and other times the font is just colored to match the background. You can copy and paste the "invisible" text since it is there just matches the background color.

This only happens in web browsers and not in MS Word or any other application.

I am now thinking it might be a rootkit but the few scanners that I have run show nothing out of the ordinary.

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by JimKlallsoo In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

Have you tried re-installnig IE Version (X?)

I would check JAVA, FLASH, ONE Note and possibly Adobe anything that is basically being called/embedded in both browsers. remove the simple one's like Adobe, google toolbar etc as they are easy to re-install

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Reponse To Answer

by mikebottomley In reply to Browser

That was everyone in the offices first thought too; broswer! But, the issue persists through IE, FF, and Chrome. They don't all use the same rendering engine and the Java install between IE/FF and Chrome is different. We have also tried using each in their respective "stripped" mode / "no plugins or extensions mode".

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Windows Performance settings

by cstafford0 In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

Ran into something similar but not exactly the same. Try this:

System Properties --> Advanced -->Performance --> Visual Effects

Change from Let Windows Choose what's best.... to Adjust for best performance

Click OK, Go back in and change setting to Adjust for Best Appearance.

It fixed my problem, maybe yours???

Chris Stafford

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Reponse To Answer

by mikebottomley In reply to Windows Performance setti ...

Interesting thought. I have some times scheduled on the workstation this Friday while the user is away. I had planned to do a repair install of XP but this will be first on my list of things to try. Will update with status.

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Is there any aritfacts outside the browser?

by Slayer_ In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

Try and turn off hardware acceleration for the browsers. The system might need a video driver update or the video card/chip might be dying.
I am not sure where that option is in chrome and firefox, but in IE, you go to internet options --> advanced tab.
In the list, it should be the first item, where it says Accelerated graphics, check off "Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering" then restart the browser.

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by mikebottomley In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

Just for some clarification:

Note how in the top section these are strictly characters missing in some words. If there was a font issue would the entire word not be missing? Also note that in the bottom of the image is part of a website where the white part should contain a heading. It is there but it matches the background.

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Screenshot

That almost looks like web page corruption, are you certain the internet is stable, maybe try a different ISP or different NIC

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Reponse To Answer

by Charles Bundy In reply to Screenshot

If you look at the HTML source what does it show? Specifically could something be cached and the cache is corrupt? (e.g. a system temp directory or web accelerator)

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