Fix for: Paint.NET Text/Font crashes after installing Windows Update KB2505438

I’ve been getting numerous crash reports that Paint.NET’s text tool does not work, or that the font list only includes a few usable fonts. These are actually caused by the same thing, which is a recent Windows Update that went out affecting Direct2D and DirectWrite. The update in question is KB2505438, “Slow performance in applications that use the DirectWrite API on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.”

The update contains a newer version of d2d1.dll (Direct2D) and dwrite.dll (DirectWrite), but for some reason only the newer version of d2d1.dll is being loaded by Paint.NET. I’m still trying to figure out why this is happening and what the ultimate fix should be, but in the meantime I have determined several different ways that you can fix this by yourself.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are affected by this, both 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64. Windows XP is not affected, since it only has GDI for text rendering. I have a report (see comments below) that this affects Windows Vista, and I also have a fix (see below).

Here’s the fix:

If you’re seeing this problem, you can choose from one of the following fixes, depending on which version of Windows you’re using:

Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008:

  1. Install the “Platform Update Supplement,” which you can get via Windows Update, or you can download it from Microsoft.
  2. or install Internet Explorer 9, which you can download from Microsoft. (I think it’s available via Windows Update, too.)

Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2:

  1. Install Windows Update KB2454826, which you can get via Windows Update, or go download it from Microsoft.
  2. or uninstall the offending update, KB2505438. To do this, you should:
    1. Open the “Programs and Features” control panel.
    2. On the left pane of the window, click on the “View installed updates” link.
    3. Find the update titled “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2505438)”. (you can type KB2505438 in the search box at the top right, which makes this much easier)
    4. Right click on it, and then click Uninstall.
  3. or install Service Pack 1 for Windows 7. This is something you can do with the Windows Update applet, or you can download it from Microsoft.
  4. or install Internet Explorer 9. You can also get this via Windows Update, or just go and download it from Microsoft. 

My personal preference is that everyone have the latest versions of everything, so I recommend both fix #3 and fix #4. However, if you can’t/won’t install SP1 or IE9, then the first option works just fine too. Windows 7 SP1 and Internet Explorer 9 both contain updated DLLs for Direct2D and DirectWrite which do not cause this problem.

The few usable fonts in this situation are all the bitmap fonts such as Courier and Fixedsys. These are rendered using GDI, not DirectWrite, so that is why they work.

I’m currently talking with some folks at Microsoft to figure out what else can be done so that a manual fix isn’t necessary. This may involve a new update to Paint.NET, or something else. (edit: new fixes have surfaced, see the new #1 for Win7 above, and the options for Vista users, also above)

If you’re interested, the forum thread discussing this is here:

Hope this helps.

Edit on 2011-03-24: Added details on KB2454826 for Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, and fixes for Windows Vista/Server 2008.


Paint.NET v3.5.8 is now available

As usual, you can either use the built-in updater from the Utilities menu, or you can download and install directly from the website: There’s no need to worry about removing the old version; that is all handled automatically.

This update fixes some issues with the fault-tolerant save functionality introduced in 3.5.7.

Oh, and I’d like to point out that even with these fixes, the original “mission” of fault-tolerant saving was being upheld. In previous versions, if errors or crashes happened while saving, the original file would be lost (honestly it’s a bit inexcusable that I waited so long to fix this!). In v3.5.7 it had some trouble saving the new contents in some situations, but the overall strategy was working because the original contents were still there. Since saving is such an important task to have working correctly, I’ve decided to roll out this update very quickly without attempting to roll in any other improvements.

Changes since v3.5.7:

  • Fixed: Saving to a folder that has been moved or renamed will display an error instead of crashing (regression from 3.5.6)
  • Fixed: Saving to a Sharepoint site will now work (regression from 3.5.6)
  • Fixed: Saving to a file that is marked as read only will now give an error instead of crashing (regression from 3.5.6)
  • Fixed: General reliability and correctness improvements to fault-tolerant saving