Q: Buttons on start screen turned into weird squares

Please see the picture below, the power off button, the setting button the the arrow button at the bottom all turned into this weird looking squares. Does anyone have the same problem??? How can I fix this?


1. Are you aware of any hardware or software changes made on the PC prior to this issue? Especially if any language pack or any third-party software was installed?
2. Do you have another user account on this PC? If yes, please check and confirm if you are seeing the same issue.

This problem occurs if a system font (Segoe UI Symbol) is missing or corrupt in Windows 8.1. If the font gets deleted from Windows 8.1 or if the font becomes corrupt, then Windows 8 starts showing these weird characters instead of Modern User Interface icons because Windows can't find the required icons to show.

Sometimes third-party software also replace the default "Segoe UI Symbol" font in Windows 8.1 with an older version of the same font which can also cause this annoying issue.

To fix this issue, follow these steps:
Method 1:
If you have access to another Windows 8.1 computer, you can copy "Segoe UI Symbol" font from that system and paste the font in your Windows 8.1 computer.  Type Fonts in RUN dialog box and press Enter (To get to RUN window, press Windows key + R).  It will open Fonts folder.  Scroll down and you'll see "Segoe UI Symbol Regular" font in the list.  Right-click on the font and select copy option and then you can paste the font file in your USB drive. After that copy the font file in your Windows 8.1 system.

Method 2:
If that does not help, you may peform a System Restore to the date before you started facing this issue.
Restore your PC to an earlier point in time

Let us know if it helps. If you have further queries, we will be happy to help.

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If you have changed any of the System Fonts or installed a different language font recently, this could be the problem.


I have seen this behavior when changes are made to the default fonts.

See the following link for a fix.

[Fix] Unknown Characters or Vertical Rectangles are Showing in place of Metro Icons in Windows 8 Start Screen and Login Screen - Tweaking with Vishal:

Note: This fix also works in Windows 8.1.

Let us know if this works for you.


MVP 1999 - Present
Windows Insider MVP

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Question Info

Views: 1,191 Last updated: April 29, 2018 Applies to: