Snow Leopard + iMac + fonts = major problems ... help?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by adammcd, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. adammcd macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Computer: iMac 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.
    OS: 10.5.8 & 10.6.2 (2 partitions)

    Here is my story/problem:

    My iMac was running fine under 10.5.8. I 'upgraded' to SL and immediately it froze at startup (even in safe mode). So, I backed up my data anddid a clean install of SL. I installed a few hundred fonts that I have used for years, along with Illustrator & Photoshop.

    Over the next week, I had many computer issues. In particular, the process 'fontworker' started using up 50%-99% CPU usage when doing anything at all (i.e. - checking email).

    I was advised to remove all extra fonts and only leave the default ones - I did so. Upon restart, it froze during startup. I booted in safe mode, repaired the disk and emptied the font cache. I rebooted into safe mode again, and it froze during startup.

    I have tried starting from scratch (clean install of SL, adding Adobe apps and only a few dozen necessary fonts) with the same results. Because of this behavior, I have my iMac partitioned as half 10.5.8 (thousands of fonts, runs great), and half 10.6.2 (unusable, freezes during startup, even in safe mode).


    Right now the plan is to try to (yet again) clean install SL once 10.6.3 is out. My questions are the following:

    (1) I have not seen anything about this on MacRumors, and have not seen any real solutions on other forums ... is there anyone who has had similar problems or, better yet, have a suggestion for a solution for me? (It is tough to sort through hundreds of posts in a general "SL crashes!" thread - point me in the right direction if I have missed something)

    (2) I'm assuming 10.6.3 won't help (apple didn't seem to make any attempt to fix this issue with the other two updates, so I won't assume the next update will either). Does anyone have an easy to understand method of safely adding fonts to SL without causing it to die? I have always used fontbook, but tried FontExplorer (without success) during one of my clean install of SL.

    Someone suggested adding 10 fonts at a time, writing them down if they cause problems, then repeat. There are two problems with this: first, the added fonts seem to cause havoc non-immediately (making it hard to know which 10-font batch caused the problems), second, having to keep clean installing SL every time a bad batch of fonts is installed then 'repeating' is not something I have the time & patience for - I have thousands of fonts.

    Any help/tips/etc would be appreciated. Thanks!!!
  2. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Let me ask a few questions:

    1. How are you adding the fonts?
    2. Do you plan on installing "thousands" of fonts?
    3. Have you made sure that the fonts you are adding are not corrupt?

    Number 3 is where I think you should be starting, if you haven't already done so. You can use a tool like Font Doctor, or you can use Font Book.

    In Font Book:
    1. File > Validate File.
    2. Select a font folder (if you have thousands of fonts you may want to do smaller folders at a time, although it should be ok).
    3. Font Book will list fonts that have let you know if a font is ok, has an error, or has a warning.

    From this list, exclude the fonts that have an error for sure. Warning fonts can be ok but may be missing information which could produce undesirable results.

    If you are going to have 100s (or thousands) of fonts installed, you may want to consider an application like Suitcase or FontExplorer Pro. Having hundreds of fonts loaded alone can drag a system down.
  3. adammcd thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Thanks calderone. To answer your questions...

    1. In 10.5.8 I used fontbook without problems. In 10.6.2, about 50% of the time, fontbook gives warnings when installing a font, sometimes saying it is corrupt. Because of this, I tried FontExplorer (free version) instead of fontbook during my last clean install attempt of SL. Unlike fontbook under 10.6.2, FontExplorer could install the vast majority of my fonts without issue.

    2. Under 10.5.8, I just have all of my fonts installed and active (about 1,000?). Considering the issues under 10.6.2, I plan on installing fonts as I need them for projects. I create stationary for people, so this means eventually having hundreds of fonts (maybe even 1000+).

    3. According to fontbook in 10.5.8, and FontExplorer in 10.6.2, I have little to no corrupt fonts. However, fontbook in 10.6.2 gives me warnings about every other font I install. Some of fonts are currently available for free online and I can (and do) re-download them if I have problems. Other fonts I have backed up on a few CDs and have used without problems over the past few years - it seems strange that so many would suddenly be corrupt now. Could they have always been corrupt but 10.6.2 is simply less equipped to deal with corrupt fonts (compared to 10.4, 10.5)?


    Perhaps I will try Suitcase next time ... FontExplorer seemed a bit confusing to me, and fontbook (under 10.6.2) is basically useless (which is strange, because it worked flawlessly for me in 10.4 and 10.5).

    If I do use FontExplorer or Suitcase, what settings & method of installing fonts do you recommend? (I remember the options being a little confusing when I tried using FontExplorer for the first time ever). Also, are there other font maintenance things I should be doing, like emptying the font cache? (Under 10.5.8, I never even knew there was a font cache, let along that it could be emptied!)


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