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Installing fonts: Moving from another system, issues

Installing fonts: Moving from another system, issues

MacFixIt reader Jamie Saunders recently reported a font problem that is worth noting for others who might be in the same boat.

When setting up a new Mac, you may need to transfer fonts from an older system or a separate Mac OS X 10.3.x, 10.2.x, or 10.1.x volume. However, there are some important rules to remember when doing so.

As noted by Knowledge Base article #25486 applications, including Apple System Profiler, TextEdit, Address Book, and Safari, may unexpectedly quit if System fonts are deleted or moved from /System/Library/Fonts."

The reasons why these critical fonts can be deleted during a routine font transfer are many. Users can overwrite the original versions with corrupt copies, fonts can be duplicated or placed in the wrong folder - /System/Library/Fonts is for base system-critical fonts, [username]/Library/Fonts is for user-specific fonts, and /Library/Fonts has all-user accessible fonts (Knoweldge Base article #106417 further explains these locations) ; or font cache problems can occur.

In Jamie Sanders' case, certain applications stopped launching:

"I just got my new 2x1.8 GHz G5 on Tuesday. It's great. Or it was great. I backed-up my iBook's HD on my iPod and started transferring files. I had about 300 fonts that I added to Font Book and some other programs and files to the new computer.

"Then, programs wouldn't load. The machine wouldn't turn off. The only programs that worked were iTunes and a Yahtzee-type game. I called Apple. They said reinstall (archive) 10.3.2. I did that. It worked great.

"I repeated the process of programs and fonts. Boom! It happened again. Hardly nothing worked. I called Apple again...

"The problem/solution: you must install fonts from the original CDs, not copy them over. And check with compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3. Old fonts that used to work on Mac OS X 10.2 don't necessarily work on Mac OS X 10.3."

If you start having problems after moving fonts from one system to another, try first making sure that all of the original fonts in a Mac OS X 10.3.x installation are in the /System/Library/Fonts folder. You can use a tool like Pacifist to extract these fonts from your Mac OS X 10.3.x Install CD if you don't want to delve into an Archive and Install process.

You might also want to try a utility like Font Cache Cleaner, to make sure a corrupt font cache (font caches are located in /System/Library/Caches/ under Mac OS X 10.3.x) is not at play.

  • #25486
  • #106417
  • Pacifist
  • Archive and Install
  • Font Cache Cleaner
  • More from Late-Breakers