[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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Rule out HW causes

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

You mention one user's workstation; Are there other workstations in the same environmont with the same machine profile that don't show this behaviour? Then compare. You mention backgound colors and text; this may be therefore graphics properties- graphics card- displayscreen related, If anything, you may wish to rule out HW causes..
- Suffcient memory available?
- separate grahics card, or graphics emulated on board? Todays websites can be pretty demanding
- Iffy memory? I once had a intermittent distorted display problem, replacing the apparent iffy memory strips with higher quality memory saved the problem. If you have a comparable WS nearby, try swapping/(temporary) adding memory with that workstation.

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Reponse To Answer

by Chaz Chance# In reply to Rule out HW causes

Swap the hard drive with that of a similar computer.

If the problem moves with the drive, the problem is definately not hardware. This is the simplest, least effort, method to rule out HW.

I did once have a similar problem which turned out to be the video card, which although it was supposedly compatible with the other HW, was too advanced. Swapping it with a cheap card from a newer computer improved the performance of both computers and solved the problem.

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Safe mode

by Chaz Chance# In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

You don't mention trying safe mode.

It's such an obvious method that one assumes you will have tried that first.

After that set this computer and another similar one to create a log as it boots, and compare for anomolies.

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desktop theme

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

Have you ruled out the fact it may be a desktop theme causing the issue. I have seen that do some strange things in different software.

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Default Font

by a.portman In reply to [SOLVED] Strange problem ...

Go to IE and see what is set at the default font. Tools > Internet Options > General > Fonts. Set for something boring like Times New Roman and make sure it is set to black. Now go to the other browsers and see if use system default is set to on.

See if that does it.

The next step would be to download an IE9 installer, uninstall all of the browsers, reinstall all of the factory fonts and then reinstall IE then the others.

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

Just to follow up... I tried every suggestion mentioned just for completeness. None of them worked. There must have been some system file somewhere that was not directly font related that was affecting the workstation and causing this issue.

A 20 minute XP repair install worked out of the box. Typically I never advise running a repair install but this was the only solution that worked. No user files were lost and only had to run about another 20 minutes of system updates to get the user back up and running. Who knew :)

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Reponse To Answer

by Charles Bundy In reply to Solved

Thanks for the followup, glad you got it fixed! Not to be a downer, but have you checked your hard drive and memory? Wondering if there are bit errors somewhere...

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