[Fix] Unknown Characters or Vertical Rectangles are Showing in place of Metro Icons in Windows 8 and 8.1 Start Screen and Login Screen

UPDATE: This tutorial will also work in Windows 8.1.

Today we are going to address a weird problem which has been faced by several Windows 8 users. I have received many emails about this problem from various AskVG readers. Recently I received another similar email from an AskVG reader "Ashok Singh Chauhan" which helped me in investigating this problem as well as finding a working solution for it.

OK. Let's talk about the problem first. Many times Windows 8 starts showing weird characters such as vertical rectangles instead of new Metro icons in several places such as Start Screen, Login Screen, several Metro apps, etc. Following images will help you in better understanding the problem:

Vertical rectangles showing in Windows 8 Start Screen:


Weird characters in Windows 8 Login Screen:


As you can see in the above screenshots, the default icons are missing and unknown characters are showing in place of these icons. In many Windows 8 systems, the scrollbar arrows at Start Screen are also replaced by these strange rectangles. It looks very ugly and users have no idea why is this problem occurring in their systems?

Start Screen and login screen are not only the places which show these weird rectangles, you may also see these characters in several Windows Store apps such as Mail, Weather, etc.

Now you might be thinking why does it happen? Let me tell you the reason. This problem occurs if a system font "Segoe UI Symbol" is missing or corrupt in Windows 8. This font contains several metro icons which are shown in the places mentioned above and if the font gets deleted from Windows 8 or if the font becomes corrupt, then Windows 8 starts showing these weird characters instead of metro icons because Windows can't find the required icons to show.

Sometimes 3rd party software also replace the default "Segoe UI Symbol" font in Windows 8 with an older version of the same font which can also cause this annoying issue.

If you are also facing this problem, first check the version number of "Segoe UI Symbol" font in your Windows. It must be version 5.90 (in Windows 8) or version 6.09 (in Windows 8.1) as shown in following image:


If the version number of the font in your system is 5.01, it means either you or a 3rd party software replaced the default font with an older version of the font which comes preinstalled with Windows 7:


Now the question comes how to fix the issue? Very simple! You just need to grab a copy of the original "Segoe UI Symbol" font which comes with Windows 8 and install the font in your system. It'll immediately solve your problem.

Just check out following steps to fix this weird rectangle problem in Windows 8:

STEP 1: Grab the Original Segoe UI Symbol Font

First you'll need to get the original font file to install in your system. You can follow any of following 3 methods to grab a copy of the font:

Method 1:

If you have access to another Windows 8 computer, you can copy "Segoe UI Symbol" font from that system and paste the font in your Windows 8 computer. You just need to type Fonts in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll 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 system.

Method 2:

You can also extract the font from Windows 8 setup ISO. Just check out following tutorial to learn how to extract system files from Windows setup ISO:

How to Extract / Copy System Files from Windows Setup?

Using this method you can extract the seguisym.ttf file present in Windows\Fonts folder.

Method 3:

If you don't want to copy the font from any other Windows 8 system or don't want to extract the font from Windows 8 setup ISO, you can download it directly using following link:

Download Segoe UI Symbol Font

After downloading the ZIP file, extract it and you'll get the font file seguisym.ttf. There are 2 separate versions of the font available in the ZIP file: one for Windows 8 and the other for Windows 8.1.

STEP 2: Install Segoe UI Symbol Font in Windows 8

Once you get the original font file, right-click on it and select "Install" option.


It'll ask you to replace existing font, click on Yes button.

That's it. It'll immediately fix the problem. You can also restart your system to take effect. After restart you'll see default icons instead of those annoying rectangles in Windows 8.

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks Vishal for this guide. I have read about this problem at Microsoft answers forum and now I am going to mention your guide link there. I am sure it will help those windows 8 users who are facing this issue.

  • Hi, this solved problem which occurred on my machine with Win 8 Pro. Thanks a lot man, it saved me few hours of installing and setting up everything again.

  • yup, most people with the old office 2007 with windows 7 upgraded to windows 8 faced the same problem, I did, but reinstalling my favorite fonts fixed it, i never thought this could be possible, wise find, ;]

  • Good one. Faced the same problem after some tweaking and theming. Included a link to the topic on my site.

  • Weird!
    Why microsoft didn't place the metro ui icon on shell32.dll or on another .dll file, and place it on font file?

  • hahah thank you so much :)) I've been looking to fix this issue since I installed Windows 8 it's more than 4 months now :D I was going to refresh the system I haven't thought it will be system font problem.

  • Thank you! This fixed those stupid symbols in Windows 7 IE10 for me!

    8:40 AM EST

  • Worked for me. Great job. Thanks. That problem was really annoying. Thanks again.

  • Thank you very much! My windows looks good now despite of the UGLY and Weird Rectangles!

  • Thank you so much! I thought I was going mad! Words aren't sufficient enough to express how glad I am to have come across this article! Saved my sanity.

  • Thanks man
    Was having this problem for a long time...finally solved (did think the boxes looked cool, though)

  • thanks for ur help. it was really great. seeing those boxes was so frustrating. thank you again..

  • Thanks for this guide, I really spend hours trying to solve this problem, including forums, searched on microsoft, and no one could figure it out, everyone said you should use the command promt and bla bla bla [code +++ code] a windows clean installation, AAAAAHAHHHHHHHH, and many other ways to fix it, but nothing could solve it, don't ask me how I got here, but after hours of searching BINGO!!!, and what I did was hit in my head, Holy Cow! I could not believe it was so easy to fix the @%#*^%@$ problem of vertical rectangles on Metro icons. Thanks buddy for this assistance AAAA+++

  • That helped me like a charm . keep it up buddy.

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH! I spent over an hour online chatting with Microsoft help desk and they could not help me at all. They wanted me to pay $100. Then I found your site. They told me to be careful that I should not trust the site. But I followed your instructions and the issue was fixed before I even restarted my computer. So I have informed the Microsoft people. Thank you again. You are a genius!

  • Thanks man. You're a real genius.... MSFT could have done a better job here, though. But I still see a few vertical boxes, such as the "All Apps" icon and the side scroll buttons on the start menu. although the ones of major concern has been removed. Any more fixes required?

  • VG

    ^^ No. Installing the font should fix the issue. You can try to delete the font and then reinstall it. Also try to re-apply default theme using Desktop Personalization window.

  • Thanks, it was hard to find a explanation for this problem but this simple little trick has fixed it!! thank you so much for your clear explanation and handy download link!


  • VG, thanks yaar, badi muskil se nikla aapki help se..all fonts got corrupted.. Used ur link and also gone to frinds computer, copied both file i.e. segoe ui and segoe ui symbol regular and kept in font folder. Worked for English language but hindi still corrupted.. I think, i should reinstall my office2010..m i rt...

  • thank you so much...
    for now my windows 8 back to normal :)

  • thank you. Now win 8.1 is displaying the symbols as expected.

  • Finally.....................

    ******* THANKS !!!!! **********

    That linked fixed the issue in Windows 8.1


  • Thanks!!!! After installing the fonts the problem is fixed in Win 8.1

  • Thanks!

    It's all back to normal...no more circle with a square box anymore.

  • Thank you! This was driving me up the wall. I'm no longer guessing about what I click on and hoping it's not going to detonate something

  • i tried this for 8.1 but for some reason didnt help cant see my numbers or some other characters in keyboard. thinking i accidently replaced the fonts when i moved all my fonts over from windows 7 laptop. any place i can get replacements for 8.1 versions? thanks.

  • thank you so much bro, it really help me a lot :-)

  • thanks lot.I did it;and worked for me....

  • Thank you sooo much! Been bothered by this problem for so many days now. I've tried so many ways already but this was the only one that worked. Thanks again! :)

  • I just can find words to describe you. Thank you very much. It's fixed.

  • Mine was not fixed. Copied all segoe ui fonts from another PC and installed again. No result. Problem appears after 3 times opening metro Network settings but only by accessing through taskbar icon and only when in desktop. I see fonts slowly erasing until all lost. Not icons only fonts. Then also metro pc settings have same problem. I start to believe this is an ATI X1950 PRO problem.

  • In general problem appears when accessing Metro Apps(specifically all kind of Change Computer Settings), only from Desktop and not from Welcome screen.

  • Great fix. Worked instantly! Wish I would have found your site sooner.

  • My password is not obey by these rectangles and circles....how can I solve my problem

  • I love it when the fix is simple and clear. Thanks so much!!

  • Hi, does this step resolve this issue :-

    eight forums.com/performance-maintenance/19625-appearance-problem-won-8-a.html#post426895

    where it's the words in the windows explorer or other areas instead of the start menu or login screen?

  • I did as instructed and it worked immediately. For some reason I had to hover my mouse over menus and icons for them to convert back to English. However, I restarted my computer just to make sure and when it prompted for a password to log-on, the password was rectangles again. Once the desktop came into view, everything was back to the crazy weird symbols. I re-installed the font and it worked again, but I decided not to restart my computer so I could get some work done but obviously, not restarting for forever isn't a fix to the issue. I installed the right version for Windows 8 so I'm not sure what I'm missing.

  • Good Job..
    Thank you very much for your solution.

  • Thank you. FYI, my Windows store, Calendar, others would only open to the splash screen then close. Many frustrating hours trying to resolve that issue. I decided to shelve that for another day when I had time to refresh or reinstall Windows 8.1 but I would at least try to take care of the icon-being-replaced-with-rectangle issue. Reinstalling the correct Segoe UI Symbol font instantly solved that problem too! What a bonus! Thank you so much!

  • Thanks a lot!!!! At first, I thought my pet was attack by virus and thinking to reformat it. For days of searching around the net I found this one and it really works...Thank you.

  • Thanks a lot!!! you saved my efforts. thanks again.

  • THIS FIX WORKS. If you're just getting here with this problem, follow his/her instructions and you're good. Effects weren't immediate for me. I DID HAVE TO RESTART MY SYSTEM. Once I did ALL WAS GOOD.

    **As of May 22, 2015 the font file seguisym.ttf file available for download here tested clean as well. (Used Malwarebytes and McAfee Livesafe to scan.)**

    Big thanks to the person/people who care enough to make great advice and solutions avail;able to those of us in trouble. You are appreciated.

  • lifesaver! I spent a couple of hours on the phone with Lenovo support (brand new computer) and Microsoft. It was hard even to describe the problem, but I'm delighted to find this solution!

  • Man, thank you very much!! This is just what I have been looking for. My Win 8.1 just became like this after I replaced the font set from my previous Win 7 PC.

  • OMG! Worked Perfectly! Thank you so much! if you only knew, it really has been bugging me for days. Again, Thank you a million times! :D

  • Thank you so much. It was helpful. I used Step 2.

  • It worked only until I restarted my computer and then problem again!

  • Thank you so much. I used Step3 and everything is ok now. Thanks again :)

  • Hello

    I got the same problem. But, my problem is stuck on Log in screen page since I can't type with wired symbols as a password. I can't call Win + R key as well. I can only do one option . That is BIOS setting. How can I fix it ? Can you please guide ? Thanks in advance

  • Hi guys,

    Downloading and installing the Segoe UI font worked for me until I restarted my pc then it reverted back to all those strange unreadable charactors.

    Does anybody know of a permanent fix for this issue please? (I'm not very pc savvy so if you are kind enough to reply pleasse keep it simple - thanks)


  • Thank you so much! I was worried I had a virus. This worked perfectly!

  • Hi, i read all your comments. Does this solution can fix my issue?
    I have "rectangle problems" in Word 2007 and 2013, on systems with win 8.1. I copied all my fonts from xp in win 8.1 (I had thousands of fonts installed on my xp computer, not all free). In word documents, some special characters - romanian language- are replaced by rectangles or by that character but from another font.
    I'm waiting for an answer. Thank you.

  • VG

    ^^ You can try the solution. There is no harm in trying it.

  • Thanks for this very helpful DIY, to the guys and gals over at AVG.com! This fix works for Windows 10 as well, so be sure to try that if you're having issues from a Win 7 to Win10 upgrade.

  • You....ROCK!!! Thanks sososososososososso much!!

  • Hi there,
    Can someone please help again as my nefew┬┤s computer is showing those symbols and rectangles but it is showing them all over the login page , he did download the file as mentioned " Download Segoe UI Symbol Font" above to a pen but the problem is that he can not access any part of the screen to install from the pen ..... can someone give us a tip on how to proceed ? Cheers.

  • THANKS! It worked after i hover the cursor on the rectangles. :)

  • THANKS sosososososososososososososososososos MUCH

  • I think i found out what was my problem
    i installed a few fonts into my photoshop and after that the icons changed.
    I had no idea that was the problem thank you
    respect to you

  • Will this work with a computer that had Windows 8 but updated to Windows 10? Thanks?

  • trust me you are geniuns its look like virus infected system but actually problem you fixed...really happy god bless you !!!

  • thank you
    great job it worked for me. i was searching for this problem for one weeek and finaly found you ;)

  • Downloading and installing the font fixed this immediately on Windows 7 with IE11. Grateful for your wisdom!

  • Does this also work in Windows 10? I guess not :(

  • good one !!!!
    It works ...
    Thanks Lot...!

  • thanks a lot
    it worked!
    == #
    == #
    == #
    == #

  • Thank you so much: i fixed an error on win 10 on screen keyboard...number missing!

  • It didn't work on my system 8.1. I downloaded this font but opened preview and saw this font was 5.01 version at my computer. I installed it but didn't work. I do not know why

  • wow, it's very useful. i thought firstly that was a malware. thanks so much bro!

  • Thanks a lot and God bless you. Fixed one time

  • Thanks My Bro
    Its very use full..........
    I Fixed My Problem...............
    God Bless You Dear.....................
    Thankyou So Much.......................................

  • Thank you,, thank you, thank you. I have been searching for a fix for what seems forever. It fixed it quickly.

  • Thank you sooooo much for this!!! Copied fonts from old machine when I got a computer refresh at work; didn't want to lose neat fonts I installed. So happy I found your clear explain on what was going on.

  • Hello

    Do you have idea how to solve the same issue in windows 10 version

    Thank you

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