Author Topic: Strange problem with avast UI text elements  (Read 19954 times)

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vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #30 on: September 09, 2011, 06:27:10 PM »
Update!

I've experiencing strange web browsing issues that I think are related to the Avast UI issue I've been trying to solve here.

While on one of my threads over at TSF (Tech Support Forums), I noticed a strange glitch.  Some elements on the page weren't displaying properly.  Certain containers (divs, tables, etc) were stretched hundreds of thousands of pixels wide (seriously.  I used Firebug to get the widths of elements).  This gave me a tiny little horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of my browser.  Most of the text in affected areas was just gone, however, in some cases, I could still see underline formatted (such as a blue underline for links and red squiggly underlines for spelling errors), even though there were no words there.  I could select the invisible text, but all I could see was the highlighting.  The next was never visible.

In addition to the stretching of the elements that forced the whole page to widen to the right, certain elements with borders had the borders shifted to the LEFT (just the borders, not the elements themselves).

At first, this only happened on one page of that specific thread on TSF.  Then it happened with a specific message within a specific conversation within Gmail.  I also noticed it again on another site but I don't remember what it was.  When I returned to TSF, I noticed that it was not consistent there and would usually occur, but not always, and it would occur on any of the 3 pages of that particular thread.

Why do I think it's related?  The last time this glitch happened to me on a website, it left a few letters of text here and there visible, and instantly reminded me of the Avast UI problem.  I began to think... if Avast uses a restricted web-browser-like interface for displaying the content in its windows, it could explain why I'm getting the same effect.  Explainable differences would include the stretching of elements.  Without the presence of scrollbars in the avast UI, stretched elements wouldn't be noticed at all.

I realize this problem is now not something that belongs in the avast forum.  It is a deeper issue.  Still, if any of you have any suggestions, please do share.  Oh yeah, and while I use Firefox as my browser, I tested this in IE as well as Firefox Safe Mode and it still happens, so that rules out FF addons.

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2011, 06:40:52 PM »
Have you tried simply setting a VERY old standard resolution, standard dpi fonts, standard color bits...?

For example:

800x600x (8 or 16 or 24 or 32) colors and standard dpi fonts, with standard Windows default theme, with standard font files (original tahoma...)

All your current configurations and settings can be saved, so you can test and go back to what you are used to and what you like.

Aaah, yes, reboot after the changes, so to eliminate glitches.

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2011, 06:53:39 PM »
I mentioned this in another forum and someone else made the same suggestion in fewer words.  Check my screen resolution.  I'll go ahead and humor you this time, but for the life of me with all of the experience I've had working with computers for years I cannot even begin to imagine why that would have any relevance to this problem in any way, shape or form whatsoever.

Before I go changing my display resolution and settings and take time to reboot (which isn't fast), would you please explain to my why you think this would solve anything?

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2011, 06:59:34 PM »
I didn't mean for that last post to sound so arrogant.  I just honestly don't get what my display settings have to do with this glitch and I really want an explanation.

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2011, 07:13:51 PM »
Sorry for the triple post.  Just want to make sure this wasn't missed.

Well, I changed all of the settings as you suggested and rebooted, and as an added test, I decided to boot into safe mode to test it there.  The problem still occurs in safe mode, and I don't know how to trim settings back any more than that.  It happens in both FF and IE.  One thing I didn't mention is that the effects are not exactly the same in FF and IE, but they happen in the same pages/elements.

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2011, 07:14:47 PM »
would you please explain to my why you think this would solve anything?
Well, the first thing you need is the correct system fonts, with the corrects fonts dpi (which is not the same as changing your screen and resolution dpi).

The problem with fonts being displayed in strange manners *is* related to resolutions, colors, contrasts, font dpi and sizes. The font file is not "limitless". As long as you use standard settings, it is easier for your system (including your display drivers) to display the fonts (and other elements) the way they were supposed to.

The combination of many different settings is not always tolerated by every component (as your fonts, for example).

This is similar as changing font sizes in a document. You can change font sizes to "whatever you need", but the font file does not include "every size" you need. The system somehow "compensates" this, and tries to show you what you want, not always successfully.

BTW, your printer does something similar.

To be clear, I have no way to assure you that using standard settings is going to "solve" the problem (which can be also related to your display driver too). It may not show you any real difference / consequence. I am only saying that, when troubleshooting, I usually try to start from a "known point", where the "normal" system/user would expect a "normal" experience. That "normal" point turns into a baseline.

If the baseline also fails, then something deeper is going on. If the baseline works correctly as expected, then I can start from that point to "play" with several combinations of settings and systems to find out what exactly triggers the display problem.

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2011, 07:18:15 PM »
Well, I changed all of the settings as you suggested and rebooted, and as an added test, I decided to boot into safe mode to test it there.  The problem still occurs in safe mode, and I don't know how to trim settings back any more than that.  It happens in both FF and IE.  One thing I didn't mention is that the effects are not exactly the same in FF and IE, but they happen in the same pages/elements.

What would happen if you use standard default Windows Display Drivers, instead of the current? In theory, Safe Mode uses that, but who knows?

In addition, you might want to try uninstalling other web browsers, reboot, and installing them anew (including IE).

I'll ask again, is there any possibility your system font files are somehow changed or corrupted?

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2011, 07:36:04 PM »
It is a font problem after all.  I'm not sure why I didn't think of testing it this way before...

I opened up the faulty email.  I selected all so that I could see the highlighting.  I noticed that part of the highlighting extended to the right by hundreds of thousands of pixels.

I used the Stylish addon to change the fonts of the page, and as soon as I set it, everything went back to normal (aside from the fonts being changed to what I set them to).

Okay, so now we know it is a font issue.  There are still some mysteries unsolved, but this is a good lead.

Do you know what font Avast uses in its UI?  


EDIT:  I've got a hunch.  I'm gonna try something...


I found the culprit.  It's the Calibri.ttf font.  For some reason, when I view certain pages, my system is using that font instead of Arial.  To test this, I used Stylish to force other pages to use Calibri and in doing so they immediately showed the same glitchy effects.

I'm trying to delete Calibri now.

I had MS Office installed, and I bet that's what did it.  I uninstalled it and I will reboot soon, but first I want to see if I can remove Calibri manually, or create a script that will delete it upon boot.

Actually I'll just reboot without deleting it yet... maybe... let's see...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 07:58:51 PM by vertigoelectric »

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #38 on: September 09, 2011, 08:05:38 PM »
Why delete Calibri?

There are several "places" where you can set that change (by mistake or on purpose).

IE options, office options, printer software...

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #39 on: September 09, 2011, 08:16:41 PM »
Well, then... what do you suggest I do?

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2011, 08:49:23 PM »
The same as with most computer related issues (and other matters too): first, do no harm :).

Copy the suspicious font file to another location (your documents folder for example). Change its name from "calibri.ttf" to something like "calibri_ttf.backup" (do not use the ttf as the final file extension).

Change the name of the original file in fonts folder, from "calibri.ttf" to something like "calibri2.ttf". Test if this changes anything.

Look into IE options -> general -> "fonts" and also "accessibility" and "languages". Anything strange there?

Printer software also has "fonts replacements" settings for different goals.

You also mentioned Office. You could test the same text in Word using different fonts and display preview.

Search for "calibri.ttf" in your Windows CD and compare it with the backup copy you made (MD5 checksum should be enough).

As I already mentioned, rebooting after making changes "might" make a difference. In theory, in current Windows versions there shouldn't be a difference, but (much) older Windows versions used to have MANY problems with fonts, and rebooting was a "must" when changing fonts under those older versions.

Your last test would be deleting "calibri.ttf" and/or "calibri2.ttf" from your "Fonts" control panel (but leave your backup in documents, which has a different file extension, so it is fine). After this (delete), reboot (must this time) and try loading those same web pages/email/Avast.

Please report back.

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2011, 08:56:28 PM »
I used Unlocker to rename the calibri font files so that the system would no longer be able to find them.  I then rebooted... and...


EVERYTHING IS BACK TO NORMAL!! :D :D :D ;D ;D ;D

Avast is looking fine and those web pages display without any issues.

Problem SOLVED!!

Thanks for your help.  I'm still not sure why my system wanted to use Calibri for those elements.  Calibri is a Vista font, isn't it?  Anyway, I don't need it, and I have no problem renaming it or deleting it from my system.  

ady4um

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2011, 09:11:31 PM »
I'm glad you have Avast and your system working as you want and need.

Now we know that font files and replacements do matter :).

Searching for the original calibri.ttf file (in your Windows CD / DVD) and comparing it to your current ttf file could show you if the problem is in the file itself, or some setting somewhere.

Please, edit the topic subject in your first post of this topic (first post -> upper right corner of the post -> modify). Please add [SOLVED] to the current topic subject.

Thanks for sharing your findings.

vertigoelectric

  • Guest
Re: Strange problem with avast UI text elements
« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2011, 09:20:39 PM »
Calibri is a Vista font.  I don't even think it would be on my Windows XP disc.  Some of my research showed that many people were having issues because they created documents in Vista using their default Calibri font and were unable to view/print them properly from a Windows XP machine.  Suggested solutions in those cases involved installing Office compatibility packs which included the Calibri fonts, or in some cases getting the fonts elsewhere.

I have thousands of fonts, so I'm not shocked that I have the font installed.  What I didn't get is why my system suddenly decided to start forcing web elements to use it.  In fact, it still is.  That email message, for example, still has CSS properties that say "font-family: 'Calibri';".  However, since I no longer have the font installed, it just uses an alternative (in the email case, it uses Times New Roman).

Then again, that would suggest that something in my system is altering the source code of those pages before it is output to my browser...  I really don't know.  Perhaps I can check on another computer if I want.  As of now, I'm just glad things are looking normal.

I can go run an avast scan now.