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This gave me the runaround today. Turns out fonts (except for those already installed in the system) do not work if you happen to have disabled the windows firewall.
Why this is, i've no idea.
Now that is a weird one.
What happens if you try to run it on win7 or 8/8.1 sans firewall?
it works fine on Windows 8.1 with firewall disabled. I flagged this problem because it is so weird. Most people don't switch off their windows firewalls (except me), so i don't regard is as especially serious.
Just in case anyone else does get this; that's the reason.
The only explanation i can think of is that it's a security feature. Since fonts can run code (!), perhaps it won't load them (outside of those already installed) without the firewall to secure them.
But then if your firewall's off then your firewalls's off ! :-)
Have to agree with your initial assessment, but it is really weird. There's a first time for weird issues, have filed this away in my cranium for future shoukd something like this happen again