Font too small to read in Windows XP home

November 5, 2011 at 19:09:32
Specs: Windows XP
Something happened to my parents Dell, they are running Windows XP home edition. All of the system fonts are way too small to read. I was able to locate the magnifier through memory and it doesn't do anything to make the font readable. I am looking for a way to change the font possibly through a command prompt. Even when running in safe mode the font is too small to read. I was trying to find a keyboard shortcut too, but haven't come across anything.
I tried to repair windows with the disk, but again, can't read anything to proceed through the process. Help would be greatly appreciated.

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November 6, 2011 at 00:49:48
when you refer to fonts, are you speaking the font on the desktop icons, or the font in like wordpad or office word?


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November 6, 2011 at 01:12:54
cmg528, my arms have gotten too short to read things too, do they by chance run Firefox? If so, FF has an app called 'No Squint' which allows them to enlarge each page individually and remembers the setting (accounts for different fonts on different sites). Works good (I use it). Can't provide a link, but search on their site and it'll turn up,
If they don't use FF, Ctrl+ will enlarge things in IE while Ctrl- makes things smaller.
Ed in Texas

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November 6, 2011 at 08:44:27
The system font is what's been effected, under the icons, all the boxes in windows etc. For instance, I brought up the display properties box (via memory) and the box is too small to make out anything within it. Some of the I.E. font is small too, but not when running Chrome. I need a fix that can be done without having to read anything within a box...either a keyboard shortcut or something via the command prompt.

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Related Solutions

November 6, 2011 at 11:20:37
Here is the grope through path to Display Properties - if you can make it:
Right click blank part of desktop. Select Properties (at the bottom). Select Settings tab (far right tab). About a third of the way up there is the slider. If you can find it then drag it fully to the left with the mouse. Even if things are a bit larger it would presumably help you to fix it.

I could give you the blind mans route to DPI setting but the above might be easiest.

If it the problem came along recently you could try system restore. You can get there by typing this either in the Run box or at the Command Prompt:

Even if you can't see what you are typing, with care you should make it. Hit Enter key afterwards. It's then a matter of groping around to see if you can read or guess the restore point dates.

Sorry, can't think of anything that entirely rules out a box to deal with. Apart from the visual issue we don't really know what is wrong which is why system restore would be safest if you can make it.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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November 8, 2011 at 20:46:46
I had tried both of those ideas prior to posting, but not being able to see anything on the page makes it very hard to know what I'm clicking on. I will go in and try the display settings via desktop again following your guide and see if I can increase it to something view-able....TY for your help

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November 9, 2011 at 20:46:27
I went to try your suggestion today, unfortunately the slider is already all the way to the left. While playing around trying to find it, I accidentally moved it to the right, and everything got even smaller than it already is.
According to my father, my niece's kids made his icons too big while on the computer, he typed 'make icon smaller' into IE and clicked on one of the links that suggested the 'normal' size was 20 (20 what I do not know) so he chose 20 and it changed everything for him. This makes me nervous on many levels.

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November 10, 2011 at 09:05:40
It could have been done in Display Properties > Appearance > Advanced but it would be far too detailed for you to fathom and I am not aware of anything there being set as low as 20.

Increasing the DPI via Display Properties also looks far too detailed, involving a drop down. I'm tempted to think this was what was attacked (dropped from 100% to 20%).

For what its worth in Safe Mode it should be back to the size before you accidentally moved the slider in Display Properties.

I'm now like you, stuck. I will keep thinking about it and if suddenly inspired I'll shout back. Just one thing, when you get the Safe Mode menu is that normal size? Not that I have any brilliant idea but it might tell me something.

The only other options are reloading Windows (or Dell restore if you have such thing) but I assume you don't want to go that way.

One more question. When you tried XP Repair is this the procedure you used?:
If so were the blue screens too small as well?

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November 10, 2011 at 09:34:18
To save editing the above post, here is the path to the DPI setting if you care to try.
In Display Properties select the Settings tab with is on the far right at the top.

You then have to go to the Advanced button which is bottom right just above the Apply button.

About a third of the way down is the drop down box which should be highlighted blue which might help. At the right hand end of this is the drop down. If you can get this to work then the three choices are "Normal" then "Large Size" then "Custom". Either the top one or the middle one might get you out of trouble.

Of-course you then have to OK/Apply your way out and probably reboot.

Note that in Safe Mode you might only get the Normal option - not sure, never tried.

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November 10, 2011 at 12:29:38
I'll give it a try the next time I'm down there. When I hit f8 to enter safe mode, the text is normal size...but when windows loads in safe mode everything is still tiny. I find this odd, on my own computer safe mode is always huge compared to my normal font size.
I never got past the initial command prompt when trying to set the computer back. It brought up a box, and I wasn't able to read anything within the box. I also tried restarting the PC with the restore disk in the drive, but this did nothing. Not sure it would have helped if it actually started the restore process anyways.

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November 10, 2011 at 14:36:36
Yes, Safe Mode is usually way bigger on screen than normal. What I'm not sure about is whether Safe Mode resets DPI to normal so there is a chance with that if you can find your way around. I realise it's going be tough so good luck with it.

My guess is the restore disk would do the trick but if you manage reset the DPI it could save a lot of hassle.

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