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The Bane of Auto Updates – What Worked on Friday No Longer Works on Monday

If you opened a file in CorelDRAW, QuarkXpress, Powerpoint, Excel or a few other programs, you may have experienced font problems this morning. We did. While working on a large project for a client Charlotte opened one of several hundred CorelDRAW files to do a quick correction to some text…only to find that all the text in the file had disappeared! Well, sort of disappeared. It was no longer visible, which one might describe as having disappeared. Yet the text was still there. We could select the text, we couldn’t see the text. When we changed the font and the text appeared. Hmmm…Strange.

What was causing this issue with the text?

Time for more troubleshooting.

Next check: When the file is opened on a different system does the problem still exist? Yes.

Next check: Are other files affected? Yes. (OK, now is the time to remember not to panic – remember I did say several hundred files.)

Next check:  When the file is opened in different versions of CorelDraw does the issue still exist? Yes.

So let’s review…all files on all systems (including laptops and desktops) seem to be affected in multiple versions of CorelDraw.

Time to go to forums and boards. Font issues can be the worst to diagnose and there were some pretty strange explanations out there, but we’ve found the culprit. Microsoft did an update last week that caused the issue. Windows Update KB2753842, designed to patch some potential security issues with fonts seems to have broken some fonts. Specifically some OpenType and Type 1 fonts. If you installed this update (or you have your computer set to automatically install updates), you may be experiencing font issues today.

You can learn more about the Microsoft security update here.

You have several options at this point:

  • Uninstall the update and continue to use your fonts. That might sound scary, and yes, it does leave you exposed to a known security risk…but you’ve been using your computer with the known risk for quite some time.
  • Keep the update installed and no longer use your OpenType and Type 1 fonts. Your machine is safer but you’ll have to update all your documents. (Don’t forget, that can mean reflowing of text, so check the whole document before printing.)
  • Hold your breath and wait. OK, you don’t have to hold your breath. Microsoft hasn’t said yet whether they are working on a fix to their fix, but they would be fools not to…it’s just a matter of when.

The options aren’t great at this point, but they are what they are.

If you choose to uninstall the update, click here for instructions. Or go to IT and let them handle the uninstall. Go directly to IT. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

That, my friend, is how you lose several hours on a Monday. Hope your Monday is going better!

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