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Troubleshooting OS Activation errors in Mac OS X

Description

This article discusses multiple steps to troubleshoot OS Activation errors in Mac OS X.

Solution

OS Activation errors are the result of the Operating System preventing a font from being activated. Below are the most common steps used to address OS Activation errors.

Note: On Mac OS X 10.8 and later, you may run into activation errors when you try to activate many fonts at once. This is due to a bug with the fontworker process built into Mac OS X which handles the internals of font activation. To work around this problem, wait for a couple of minutes and then try activating fewer fonts at a time.

  1. Remove non-essential system fonts:

    Removing unnecessary fonts from the Local and User system font folders can clear up many font related problems and conflicts. For instructions on cleaning the system font folders, follow the directions listed in the "Manually cleaning up your System Font and Application Font folders" section of our Fonts Best Practices Guide: Best Practices for Managing Fonts in Mac OS X. Once the Local and User system font folders are cleaned out, restart the computer.

    Note: UTS administrators can do this remotely for multiple clients simultaneously by enabling the System Font Policy in the UTS Users and Groups management

  2. Reset the system font cache:
    1. Using Suitcase Fusion or Universal Type Client:
      • In Suitcase or UTC, go to File > Clean Font Caches...
      • Click on 'Clean and Restart...' to confirm
      • Enter an administrator password when asked to authenticate
    2. Using Terminal:
      • Mac OS 10.5:
        • Quit all running applications
        • Launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities
        • Enter the following command exactly as shown:
          atsutil databases -removeUser
        • Restart the computer
      • Mac OS 10.6 - 10.8:
        • Quit all running applications
        • Launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities
        • Enter the following command exactly as shown:
          sudo atsutil databases -remove
        • Restart the computer
  3. Reset the Font Book database:
    • Mac OS 10.5:
      • Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Font Book/ and trash the fb.db file.
      • Empty the Trash
      • Restart the computer
    • MacOS 10.6 - 10.8:
      • Restart the computer and boot in in safe mode
      • Restart again and log in as you normally would.
  4. Create a new vault/Reset the UTC Cache:
    • Suitcase Fusion
      • Open Suitcase Fusion
      • Switch to the Type Core tab
      • Click 'New' in the Type Core preference pane
      • In the 'Save as' dialog add a '2' after 'Suitcase Fusion' so it doesn't overwrite the existing database, then click on 'Save'.
      • Add your fonts to the new Font Library in Suitcase.
    • Universal Type Client
      • Open Universal Type Client
      • In the menu bar click on "Server"
      • Hold down the Option key. "Synchronize" should change to "Synchronize and Reset"
      • Select "Synchronize and Reset" and allow the client to sync with UTS.
  5. Additional Steps:
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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 58278-855
  • Date Created: 10/20/2015
  • Last Updated: 08/24/2016
  • Viewed: 23229
Troubleshooting OS Activation errors in Mac OS X
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Topic 58278-855

Troubleshooting OS Activation errors in Mac OS X