When I sat down at my computer last night, after checking journals and so forth, I fired up MagicOnline. Or rather, tried to. Instead of running, it gave me a cryptic error message along the lines of “Failed to find initialize sserife.fon fontname sserife.fnt!!!” (Exclamation points not added.)
So, I went to my font directory to see if I had sserif.fon. I did. In fact, as I was soon to discover, sserif.fon is the font that Windows 98 defaults to using for…just about everything. File and directory names in Explorer, pull-down menu bars, desktop file names, windows headers, etc.
At Lut’s encouragement, I have a semi-current backup of my C drive on my D drive—we use a program that makes an exact copy of the two, with the result that if anything goes wrong on the active drive, we can mirror the backup onto it an, voila, it will work again.
Thinking, “Maybe my sserife.fon file has become corrupted. I will copy the D drive version back to it.” I try doing this. I get an error message saying “You already have this font. You must uninstall this font before you can install it again.” I delete sserife.fon from the C drive.
My entire desktop converts to an illegible 6 pt font. . o O (This is not a good sign.)
I try to copy sserife.fon from D to C. I get the same error message as before. Oooookay. I check to make sure that deleting a font does uninstall it. According to Windoze help, it does. I go look through the C drive fonts directory again. C claims sserife.fon is still in it. I delete it again.
I try to copy the D drive version to C…only now the D drive says it doesn’t have sserife.fon. Ok. I go to deleted items, recover two separate copies of sserife.fon, and reboot.
The machine powers up, and claims it can’t find sserife.fon anywhere, including under deleted items. I gradually discover that the D and C font directories are pointing to the same list.. Delete a font in one, it goes away in the other. Add a font in one, it is added to the other (Though I wouldn’t find that out until later). I discuss this matter with Tufty and Kage, my computer-literate friends, and they agree that, yes, this is very strange. Kage sends me a copy of sserife.fon from his computer. I try to reinstall it, and this time get a new error message, along the lines of “This font file is corrupted, or you have too many fonts. Uninstall some fonts, or get a new copy of the file.”
At about this point, Lut got home. I abandon the computer to his devices and start cleaning.
A few hours later, Lut has managed to get the sserife.fon file to install, but everything is still displayed in 6 pt illegible.fon. Lut runs numerous diagnostics, all of which label my computer “Working as intended.” He finally gives up some time after I go to bed, and tells me in the morning it’s still not working.
I boot my computer in the morning. Everything looks fine. MagicOnline runs without a hitch.
Technology at its finest.