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Chinese Characters Showing as Blocks on Windows 7

    Question

  • Hi there,

    I have a problem as described in my title. I found a temporary solution on this site 
    http://elementdesignllc.com/2011/04/chinese-characters-showing-as-blocks-on-windows-7/ 

    Basically, I ran into the issue where all Chinese characters displayed as blocks (literally a square box, like those in a mahjong set). I tried restarting the computer to fix the issue, to no avail. A temporary to fix this issue is to delete my system’s font cache file @  C:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT

    After I restart my computer, Windows will rebuild the file. However, the problem recurs every morning when I turn on my computer. And I have to do this (delete my system’s font cache) EVERY DAY! I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the chinese language packs in windows, but that did not work.

    I can still type chinese characters, but they will be rendered as blocks when I complete my typing. All file names, and the title bars of all applications are displayed in blocks. However, chinese characters display fine on web pages, but not in the browser title bars, be it IE, or Chrome.

    This is only restricted to chinese characters, both simplified and traditional. Japanese and korean characters display fine on my computer.

    I cannot remember any particular instance where a possible software installation could have initiated this issue. I havent installed a new software in a few weeks and this just happened last week, with increasing frequency each day.

    Please help, many thanks in advance.

    Please do not ask me to do a virus or spyware scan as that is obviously not the cause. I have done those and my PC is clean (at least I think).

    edit* I stand corrected. All non-latin characters are displayed in boxes. Even after deleting fontcache.dat and restarting the pc, the problem persists. Have to do this many times.

    • Edited by whoosh321 Monday, March 05, 2012 1:04 PM
    Sunday, March 04, 2012 3:18 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    This type issue may be related to the settings of the “Language for non-Unicode programs”.

    Let us take the following steps to test the issue.

    1. Click Start, Control Panel.

    2. Click Clock, Language, and Region.

    3. Click Change display language.

    4. Switch to Administrativetab.

    5. Click Change system locale…

    6. Select “Chinese (Simplified, PRC)” and click OK.

    7. Click Applyand OK.

    8. Reboot the system.

    Best Regards,

    Kim Zhou


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    • Marked as answer by whoosh321 Saturday, March 10, 2012 5:08 AM
    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 2:46 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    This type issue may be related to the settings of the “Language for non-Unicode programs”.

    Let us take the following steps to test the issue.

    1. Click Start, Control Panel.

    2. Click Clock, Language, and Region.

    3. Click Change display language.

    4. Switch to Administrativetab.

    5. Click Change system locale…

    6. Select “Chinese (Simplified, PRC)” and click OK.

    7. Click Applyand OK.

    8. Reboot the system.

    Best Regards,

    Kim Zhou


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    • Marked as answer by whoosh321 Saturday, March 10, 2012 5:08 AM
    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 2:46 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi, this has worked...so far.

    Why is this so? Previously everything went fine w/o having to change the "current language for non-unicode programs".

    I will let you know when it occurs again.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012 5:09 AM
  •  Kim Zhou,  i am very grateful for your information. I use portuguese keyboard, but after install chinese language, i have the same problem as mr. whoosh321, by my error of changing my language region from Portugal to China.  Many programs and also when installing them show chinese characters mixed inside english, portuguese text. Thank you, Mr. Kim Zhou. Best regards, Jose Abreu

    josehabreu

    Thursday, March 29, 2012 2:04 PM
  • Hi Kim

    I had the same problem as described above on Windows 7 x64, but even after a completely clean install of Windows 8 Pro x64 (UK locale), the same issue still appears.

    I've not noticed it in any Metro/Modern UI apps, as it only seems to appear in Desktop apps. This issue affects both Windows itself (e.g. Explorer jump list names, text in Notepad etc.) as well as fairly modern apps (Chinese characters in Skype 6 are displayed as squares). It's also present regardless of whether a Chinese IME is installed.

    I did stumble across a simple workaround, though, that doesn't involve changing the system locale. Simply keep a file on the desktop with a Chinese name. For example, create an empty file called '中文.txt' etc. The next time Windows loads, all Chinese characters in Desktop mode will be displayed correctly.

    I have no idea why this works, but it's a simple and quick fix to this annoying problem. I hope a real solution will be provided in a future update, though, as this bug has been around for years.

    Hope this helps.

    Jonty




    • Edited by Just Jonty Monday, December 17, 2012 1:44 PM
    • Proposed as answer by 0xJerry Wednesday, January 02, 2013 1:10 AM
    Monday, December 17, 2012 1:32 PM
  • @Jonty,

     I just bought a new laptop with Windows 8 and I had the same problem.
    I read your advice about keeping a text file with Chinese, then I thought, I don't want to waste desktop space on that fie, what if I just renamed the Recycle Bin? So I clicked on Recycle Bin, pressed F2, and changed the text to "
    資源回收筒." I rebooted and it worked! So thanks for that tip about putting something Chinese on the desktop!

    Sunday, January 06, 2013 5:56 AM
  • I'm running windows 8 and realized I've the same problems when trying to change a file name to Chinese character. I can see the character as I type it but when finished the files show up as small empty boxes。 Also Explorere 10 also showing chinese characters as small boxes. I don't want to make Chinese as the primary language as everything will then be in Chinese. Appreciate any help from anyone. Thanks in advance!  
    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:13 PM
  • Hi,

    I have quite the same stupid problem. I experienced this issue first under Windows 7 x64 when I began to listen to music from Japanese artists with Winamp. One day I encountered the fact that all japanese symbols in Winamp were displayed as boxes except the playlist (maybe only because it was another font? UTF8 support?) This was several month ago. During this period I'm already through all stuff you guys mentioned here in order to solve this problem, but without success.

    I also can say, that, in my case, it is not permanent. Sometimes it doesn't come up for days or even weeks, but It happens again nevertheless just out of nowhere. Lately I upgraded to Windows 8 and my hope was to eliminate the issue though. But.. it's all the same... It occurred again a few hours i startet to test with Winamp again.

    with kind Regards,

    Jules

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013 10:47 PM
  • Thanks! Helped me a lot too!
    Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:19 AM