Windows 7 fix: fonts on the blink
Are you using Windows 7? Has everything suddenly turned italic and/or bold? Read on. (Otherwise, skip this. Really. You’ll be bored silly.)
This happened to me when I uninstalled a program. A system restore fixed things, but that wasn’t ideal because I hadn’t actually identified or fixed the problem. After it happened for a third time (triggered by uninstalling the exact same program, which makes little sense because it was something I’d added and shouldn’t have affected my fonts or system display) I finally figured out the issue and actually fixed it.
There’s a lot of advice online, some of it useful and some of it not. The most irritating, unhelpful tip is to go into your Firefox settings and reset the default font – hardly helpful if your entire operating system is rendering text incorrectly, not just Firefox. A lot of websites and help forums suggest that you need to download a registry fix or reinstall all your Windows fonts from an installation disc or flash drive. But the fix I found doesn’t require any extra files or programs.
All you need to do is reinstall your Windows fonts. To do this, you need to figure out where your fonts folder is – mine is at c:\Windows\Fonts. Don’t bother going to the actual folder – the Windows 7 interface won’t let you reinstall the fonts from there. Instead, what you need to do is hit the Windows icon (bottom left-hand corner of the screen or the Windows symbol button on your keyboard) and type in c:\Windows\Fonts\Arial.ttf (you may need to change part of that if your Fonts folder is in a different place).
A window will pop up for Arial OpenType with two buttons at the top: Print and Install. Hit Install. It may say: “The ‘Arial’ font is already installed, do you want to replace it?” This means it wasn’t missing in the first place (but you may as well reinstall it all the same). Or it may just do it, which means it was missing. This is what you’re trying to find and fix – the ones that are missing.
Repeat the process of hitting Windows, going to c:Windows\Fonts\[fontname].ttf and reinstalling for all the basic fonts – somewhere along the line you’ll discover one or more where the regular version was missing, leaving your operating system with only bold and italic versions of the font, which is why it will have been rendering your browser in random bold and italics. For example, if a webpage tells it to use Verdana, and it only has bold and italic versions of Verdana installed, those are the ones it’s going to use.
Windows has a list of font filenames but start with Arial.ttf, Georgia.ttf, Times.ttf and Verdana.ttf as they’re the most likely culprits – in my case the regular iterations of Arial, Georgia and Verdana had all gone walkies. I don’t know why, but at least I know how to fix it now. For Windows whizzes this explanation may seem patronising and pointless, but I spent a lot of time trying to find a simple fix online, so I thought the least I could do is post it for other people.