Corrupted fonts (?) on Windows XP SP 2 system

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by someonesdad, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    I installed some software from National Instruments and after the reboot, my system was screwed up (a similar thing happened about a year ago and the only fix was to format the hard drive and reinstall Windows). The most obvious symptom is that the three window buttons in the upper right corner of a typical window are incorrect (see attached file). I don't care about this, but my email client (Thunderbird) and browser (Firefox) would not boot up, even after being reinstalled.

    When I ran Open Office, I only had three fonts available: Arial Narrow, Lucida Sans, and one other that I've forgotten. I used my old copy of HP Fontsmart (still a great program) to uninstall and re-install all the fonts I had installed before. After a reboot, this improved things, as the top three buttons were now different and I could boot Firefox and Thunderbird.

    My guess is that a font file is missing or hosed. Thus, would someone with a Windows XP system with Service Pack 2 do me a favor and run a hash tool like md5 or sha1 on all *.ttf and *.fon files under the Windows directory? You could post the results on this thread. Thanks!

    Oh,
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I've had similar problems. It is possible to move the fonts from one computer to another. I used my house network to do it. I have a really large set, they've grown since I've done started with computers, as I keep adding my existing set to my new ones.
     
  3. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Two things:

    How did you miss SP3?

    What was the app from National Instruments that caused the problem?

    If you have to do a reinstall, get caught up to SP3. The service packs are such catch-alls that you really don't know what problems they correct. I just wish MS would stop fooling with multiple OS's.
     
  4. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    I don't have either of those utilities, nor a C compiler to generate them.

    However, you might start off here instead...

    Start Regedit, and navigate to here:

    [​IMG]

    See if your entries are the same as mine.

    Note that these particular files are marked as hidden in the fonts folder.
     
  5. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Bill: I have hundreds of font files and I just want to find the one or few I think was corrupted, if indeed that is actually the problem. If I had a list of font file hashes (e.g.) from a working system, it would be trivial to find the problem. It might also be a compatible DLL, but since I was able to make an effect by using HP's FontSmart program to uninstall and reinstall the basic fonts, I have a pretty strong suspicion that a font file got messed up.

    beenthere: Dunno. My son is a computer tech for the local school system and usually helps us by keeping things updated. Maybe my system has it; I don't know how to check (I'm a UNIX weenie imprisoned on a Windows system :p). I'm doing some consulting work and someone sent me a NI USB/GPIB device and I installed the software from the CD.

    SgtWookie: thanks, I wasn't aware of those keys. I have the same entries as you, but I don't know how to tell if those files are corrupted. If you have a working python installation, you can use the Tools/Scripts/md5sum.py on those files and tell me what the hashes are. (Go to a command shell and type python Tools/Scripts/md5sum.py fontfile.) I get the following result on my system (the files are in c:/windows/fonts):
    Code ( (Unknown Language)):
    1.  
    2. 91e18bc7a00373fb6b55157f1fc9364c vgafix.fon
    3. fd8b85606ec405f96d22d8a6d613bed6 vgasys.fon
    4. 6ca95c4d80777b01c1c83508a078f465 vgaoem.fon
    5.  
     
  6. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Mine was also a few files (fonts). One file ( if you know which one) is trivial to replace.
     
  7. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    To see the state of update:

    Open the Control Panel & double click System. The open window will give the OS & which service pack is installed.

    It's no fun going to a different OS - I am going to have to start Linux before long, as neither Vista or W7 sound very interesting (4G ram just to support Aero Glass menuing is silly).
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  8. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    OK, I've downloaded Python, and it's chugging away at creating a file of hashes.

    The three files you posted before match my hashes.
     
  9. SgtWookie

    Expert

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    Well, got a lot of md5 deprecated warnings to use hashlib instead, but the list is attached anyway.
     
  10. SgtWookie

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    Try experimenting with your Display Properties settings.

    1) Right-click on a blank area of your Desktop.
    2) Click the "Appearance" tab.
    3) Try changing the "Windows and Buttons" settings.
    You could also try the Advanced settings.
     
  11. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    SgtWookie, thank you for taking the time to download python and run the script. I wrote a simple script to compare the hashes:
    Code ( (Unknown Language)):
    1.  
    2. #!c:/python26/python.exe
    3.  
    4. # Compare SgtWookie's font hashes to mine.
    5.  
    6. def MakeDict(file):
    7.     d, lines = {}, open(file).readlines()
    8.     for line in lines:
    9.         hash, filename = line.split()
    10.         d[filename] = hash
    11.     return d
    12.  
    13. wook = MakeDict("wookie_fonts.txt")
    14. dp   = MakeDict("fonts.md5")
    15.  
    16. for file in dp:
    17.     if file in wook:
    18.         if dp[file] != wook[file]:
    19.             print file
    20.             print "    dp: ", dp[file]
    21.             print "  wook: ", wook[file]
    22. print len(dp), "fonts checked"
    23.  
    All my font files match yours, so this didn't give me a simple fix like replacing a file or two.

    I did, however, take your suggestion of changing the appearance. When I use Windows, I have long used the classic interface, as I can tune colors and fonts to my tastes. However, I switched to the XP themes and that fixed a number of the display issues. There are only three choices, so I took the least obnoxious.

    Alas, it doesn't fix my bash windows (I work in cygwin all day long), but that's no big deal as I rarely use those upper right buttons.

    beenthere: I'm indeed still at SP2, so I'll have to download SP3 and install it. Thanks for the alert, as I wasn't aware it was available.
     
  12. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    It may not cure your problem, but it can't hurt.
     
  13. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Yesterday, for no apparent reason, my "corrupted font problem" computer decided to fix itself. After two or three reboots in trying to fix a GPIB problem, I noticed the top right-hand buttons on my bash windows were working again. I had somehow bumped the button on the instrument changing it from a GPIB instrument to a serial instrument, which explained the GPIB problem. Cause and cure of the font problem is still unknown...
     
  14. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    I've been meaning to come back to this, and it keeps slipping my mind. :rolleyes:

    Desktop settings seem to be controlled via registry settings handed to shell32.dll.

    It may be that your shell32.dll in your cache was corrupted or modified by the NI installation, and after several reboots, the OS may have fetched a fresh copy of it.
     
  15. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Sounds possible; do you know any way to force Windows to boot up and trash everything in the cache? If so, next time something like this happens, I'll have it in my troubleshooting checklist and give it a try.
     
  16. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    One handy defense against all sorts of malware crud (some of which affect font files, I believe), it to install the freeware app "Spybot Search and Destroy". It takes forever to run thanks to all the stuff it has to look for, but it will actively prevent something from installing in your system behind your back.

    1. Download
    2. Install the app
    3. Get the update files
    4. Immunize the system
    5. Run the search

    Just another way to plug the holes in MS.
     
  17. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Spybot Search and Destroy is probably a good idea for some folks, but years ago I quit using virus checkers and malware scanners. I've never had a virus and I stay away from sites that would be likely to have such stuff. And I never run any email attachment from anyone. I also never run Internet Explorer. While I won't go so far as to say I'll never have a problem, my usage methods have been safe so far.
     
  18. SgtWookie

    Expert

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    Well, you'd still be well-advised to have at least AVG Free installed and running. You might be surprised what it finds.

    I use Spybot Search & Destroy along with Lavasoft Ad-Aware.
    I also use Javacool's Spywareblaster.

    They are all free.

    The thing is, with you running WinXP SP2, there may be lots of "holes" that were left in your system, and people could have exploited those holes without your knowledge.

    The only way you can really find out is to load up the software and let it see if you have anything nasty lurking.

    Bored people are coming up with new nasties daily; the attacks on your system will never stop. If you're connected to the Internet and you have no hardware firewall, system not up-to-date, no anti-virus, no anti-spyware, etc - you are just waiting for a disaster to happen.
     
  19. someonesdad

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Thanks for the advice and the concern. I used to use virus scanners (Norton, AVG, etc.), but they never found anything -- and they'd occasionally get in the way of something I was trying to do. Of course, if my system somehow gets damaged/attacked, then it's my own fault.
     
  20. SgtWookie

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