Microsoft Patch Breaks Font

Sometimes the importance of the humble font is rather overlooked.  However this week Microsoft released a security patch which effectively removed many fonts from users computers.  Many of us will not have noticed but if you’re a designer or one of those fonts is in your corporate portfolio this can cause huge problems.

The Security update in question is KB2753842 and the intention was to repair a weakness in the OpenType Compact Font Format (CFF) driver.  It was marked as a high priority security update so many people’s machines installed this patch automatically.  Unfortunately as soon as it was installed many fonts which used the driver simply disappeared.  Initially many users were unaware, I initially thought it was something to do with how I browsed the web using a US based proxy for security, see here.


At the moment designers are left with a difficult choice, particularly if you used one of the affected fonts.  You can remove the security update from the Windows control panel and restore the font, however this will mean your machine is potentially susceptible to the security problem.  Given that this particular security hole is very exploitable then that course of action is not recommended.

For many people it can be extremely difficult to live without a particular typeface for very long.  Many firms have invested a huge amount of time in specific fonts, particular if it’s been incorporated into their company brand. On web sites for example it can take a long time to find font that works well in all browsers.  Switching the font on a web site may not take long but can damage a design and ultimately even sales and profitability.

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