I'm not on a Windows XP computer here, but I suggest you right click on an empty part of the desktop, choose properties and go to the Appearence (or something like that) tab. Then from the checkbox choose Icons and check and reset the font type it has.
If you need more instructions, post so. Somebody with the English version of XP will surely come along.
It's not sure it will help, there can be other corruptions of the fonts, but this is the first thing to try, especially if all other programs (which presumably you can run from Start>Programs) don't experience font problems.
HELP! Am hoping someone has an idea how to help me with what has happened on my XP laptop. I was cleaning some temp files, internet cache, cookies and when I rebooted the computer. The desktop got strange symbols under each icon on the desktop. Now it is impossible to determine what any of them mean. Which means I can't run any of the programs because I can't read the symbols! PLEASE HELP
Thank you so much