Buggy Microsoft patch causing fonts to disappear

Black Tuesday patch KB 2753842 is making certain OpenType fonts disappear on Windows XP and Windows 7

Another Black Tuesday, another weird bug.

CorelDraw customers posting on the company blog started complaining about disappearing fonts on Wednesday. Two posters, Gary G and drummachine, discovered that the cause of the problem is yet another buggy Black Tuesday patch delivered by Windows Automatic Update. MS12-078/KB 2753842 is a Microsoft-designated critical patch that "resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The more severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted document or visits a malicious webpage that embeds TrueType or OpenType font files."

Quark Xpress has similar problems, as does the Flexi sign design package.

Details so far are sketchy. Microsoft hasn't acknowledged the bug or pulled the patch, but based on the CorelDraw forum postings, it appears the bug affects Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit systems, as well as CorelDraw X3 to X6. Poster David Milisock suggests that the fonts that disappear are Open Type fonts with Postscript outlines.

Posters report they can get their fonts back by simply uninstalling KB 2753842, although many went to the added extravagance of rolling back to a restore point and installing all of this month's patches except KB 2753842.

Claudep, identified on the blog as a Corel employee, says:

I looked into it and found out that it is indeed a Microsoft problem: not ours. Other application have similar problems, not just CorelDraw. The problem is with a windows API called GetGlyphOutline(). For certain fonts... it fails to return us the memory size we need to extract a character's glyph's curves. That means that any application trying to convert character to curves will fail. CorelDraw requires that to display text object in enhanced view mode. Other view modes might still work. Convert to curve will also fail and the bounding box calculation of artistic text object will not work as well.

No word on when Microsoft will officially acknowledge -- much less fix -- the patch.

This story, "Buggy Microsoft patch causing fonts to disappear," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.