Cleaning white film from windows -- tried everything!

I just moved into a downtown city apartment that has nice, big windows... with a weird white film on them. It looks as if someone tried to clean the windows with something odd (hairspray? sticky-tire-spray?) and now it's dried and hardened itself to the windows. I've read extensively in this group and Googled, and I have tried the following things to clean it:
(1) Windex (2) Solution of water/vinegar/soap (3) Solution of hot water and vinegar (4) Mineral Spirits (5) Goof-Off (6) Window Razor Blade (good at removing the bird poop, didn't do a thing to the film)
It's definitely a film on the window -- I can feel it on the outside as a sort of sticky, filmy stuff (although it's lost a bit of the "sticky"). And it's not on every inch of the window; there are places where it's thicker, and little holes in it where you can see straight through.
Does anyone have any other cleaning advice? If I have to, I'll get new panes, but I'm 40' off the ground, so that might be really expensive.
--joe
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Have you tried something like WD-40? I used that to clean almost an entire room that needed a good cleaning... Takes scuffs, marks, fingerprints and random things off walls and it also did real good on my windows and the tracks. Mind you, I didn't have a strange white film on the window, but I did have everything from crayon to other unknown marks on the window.
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Joe Masters wrote:

My car windshield used to get a film. I haven't seen it since a nearby plant closed. I resorted to an electric tool with an expensive buffing compound for auto glass. Then I found the Bon Ami would do the same thing cheaper. Then I found that newsprint would get it off if I applied a couple of drops of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts ammonia, 8 parts water.
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This is quite strange. From your list I can't imagine that none of these solvents improved the glass. I doubt it (from the Mineral Spirits try) but I'd try a little kerosene to see what happens, then alcohol. If the alcohol works, then your film is probably shellac. Try a gel paint remover, but be very careful (this stuff is very caustic!!!). CLR will remove other kinds of deposits. Whatever eventually works you may need to wash the windows with dishwashing detergent and warm water, then follow up with household ammonia. Are you sure the film is on the surface and not inside the glass? Is the "glass" really glass or is it quartz?
wrote:

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Just a shot in the dark, but what about Cigarette Smoke or cooking oils being the cause? You could try toothpaste after first testing on an inconspicuous area of the glass to ensure you don't scratch or damage the glass. Wow, I have to get over this desire to put little disclaimers on the things I write. If the person is too much of a dullard to know the stuff I suggest, I doubt they'll follow my advice. Nor do I think my little "Disclaimer" will keep me out of court should someone wish to sue me. Sorry, I digress. DOH!! There I go again.
RC

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