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March 07, 2007

An Invisible Font

I spent six and a half hours yesterday finding and fixing a corrupted Windows/Fonts file.
One effect of the problem was that nothing appeared on my screen when I typed characters into Amazon’s search box. Nevertheless, what I had typed was used as a search criterion when I clicked on GO.
After about two hours of examining the page’s html I concluded that when the Style attribute of an element included “font-family: fixed;” blanks were rendered rather than visible characters.
You might have a similar problem if you can’t see one of these words fixed proportional serif sans-serif cursiv fantasy monospace in the following list:

    • fixed

    • proportional

    • serif

    • sans-serif

    • cursiv

    • fantasy

    • monospace

    I then spent another hour trying to find what was wrong with Mozilla as there was no problem with IE. I concluded it wasn’t Mozilla/Firefox’s fault – the culprit was a duff Windows/Fonts file.
    There are a mere 457 files in my version of Windows/Fonts. And deleting one often doesn’t have an impact until after a restart. Hence it took me three hours to isolate the culprit: a corrupted version of phonetic.fon

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