GDI bugs with 2K/XP’s East Asian Languages option

For many (at least 7) years, there has been a bug which has driven me absolutely crazy when it comes to Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It’s very easy to explain: when the East Asian Languages check box is enabled in the Regional and Language Options, the GDI layer in Windows 2000 and Windows XP stops redrawing underlying windows properly when a window is dragged across another, or resized. The visual result is quite noticeable: leftover white lines all over the underlying window.

It honestly looks like an off-by-one bug of some kind, and is only induced when EAL is enabled. If you disable EAL and reboot, the problem goes away. The issue has kept me from enabling EAL for some time now. I’ve been able to confirm it on virtually every Windows XP Professional installation I’ve seen or done. However, on most of our workstations at work (Microsoft!), EAL is enabled and the problem does not occur.

When I brought it to the attention of some peers of mine who are more in-tune with the underlying workings of Windows, they were baffled. It’s well-known (and documented) that enabling EAL does “magical stuff” to GDI underneath, which leads me to believe the problem lies there. Here’s the video:

The only workaround I know of is to avoid checking the EAL box, and instead extract individual Asian fonts from your Windows CD (they should be in \i386\lang), decompress them, and copy them using Windows Explorer to your fonts folder. For example, copying msgothic.ttc and batang.ttc to your font folder would get you the ability to view Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, many Kanji, and with the 2nd font, Korean Hangul. Japanese or Korean input (IME) will not work, however.