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Could you provide a screen shot of the small font. Perhaps a bug or specific issue with your setup.
Here are two screenshots to compare what I see in director 8.5 vs 10.1,
screenshot Dir 8.5
screenshot Director 10.1
I know these are kind of small but at least in the Director 8.5 IDE it looks like the smallest font is at least 8 pt, while in 10.1 it looks like around 2pt (compare to the text in the message window). Of chief concern is the text in the Object Inspector/Watcher which is imperative for debugging. Someone suggested making a change to the applicationpath\Configuration\Panels\Director8.txt but I don't see anything that would control the font size there.
I am using win XP Pro SP2
This is just an out on the limb sort of comment but could it be a setting for your Windows environment? I see that you have altered your Windows appearance by making your menu names italic for example. Perhaps the property that D10 uses to display the text has changed since 8.5 and you have it altered in your settings.
Like I said, just a guess and first thought.
Charles, I did try some fiddling with the windows environment settings including increasing the DPI to 144 pt with no effect. I also went to the Adobe website as I heard that there was a 10.1.1 update, unfortunately the link on the Adobe site still points to http://download.macromedia.com/pub/director/updates/mx2004/win/dir_sw_player_update_en.zi p
which is a broken link