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Here are some possible reasons for this problem.
1. Recent Update: Download and reapply the most recent Combo Update: Mac OS X Combined Update 10.3.9 or Mac OS X Update 10.4.8 Combo
2. Font duplicates: Please read the articles by Kurt Lang and J.Otava here: Kurt Lang: Font Management in OS X Panther and J.Otava: Fonts & Apple Type Services
3. Corrupted preferences:
Go to Users/Your_Name/Library/Preferences and trash the files:
Restart. If this did not help, go to Users/Your_Name/Library and drag the folder Preferences to the desktop. Restart and see if this solved the problem
a. Only Apple applications affected
b. Also happens when you switch to a new user.
c. First appeared after update to 10.3.4, 10.3.5 or 10.3.6
This usually happens if you do not repair permissions before you update to 10.3.4 or later. There are (unconfirmed) hints that corrupted cache files might also contribute to this problem. You can clean caches with programs like Cocktail or Panther Cache Cleaner. The only solution I am aware of is to do an Archive & Install.
You also might want to read this article: Applications don't work after reinstalling Mac OS X
Remember: Repair permissions before and after an update!
If none of the above solves the problem you might have to do an Archive&Install:
1. Insert the Install CD 1 and reboot while holding down the c-key
2. Once you are booted go to the menu and select disk utility
3. Repair the disk and Repair permissions!
4. Quit disk utility and proceed with the installation
5. Under "options" select "Archive&Install" and check the box "keep user and network data".
6. Install Panther
8. Go to the folder Application/Utilities and run disk utility to repair permissions again.
9. Download (or open if you downloaded before) Mac OS X Combined Update 10.3.9 or Mac OS X Update 10.4.8 Combo and install it.
10. Restart and repair permisssions
11. Go to the Apple menu and select "Software Update"
12. Install all missing updates and restart.
13. Repair permissions
For further information on Archive and Install read these articles:
Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3: About the Archive and Install feature
a brody: Installation options and their meaning
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