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OS X: Blank authentication dialog #

A Mac running OS X 10.9.4 would only display a blank authentication dialog when admin privileges were requested:

blank_authentication_dialog

Text could not be typed or pasted into the text fields.

The issue was ultimately resolved by replacing the entire /System/Library/Fonts folder with a fresh copy from the Mavericks installer (restoring from Time Machine was another option), but not before these potential fixes had been tried:
  1. "Look for Enabled Duplicates..." in Font Book (see Resolve duplicate fonts)
  2. Clear the font caches $ sudo atsutil databases -remove and reboot. (This command did fix the issue for a single launch of the authentication dialog, but the problem returned immediately afterwards.) Others suggest simply running $ atsutil server -shutdown && atsutil server -ping afterwards, but a reboot is recommended.
  3. $ sudo fontrestore default (Restore the available system fonts to a pristine state, if possible.)
  4. Create and login as a new user to see if issue is associated with user profile (needed to create the new user from the Terminal since the authentication dialog was not working).
  5. A thread about A's with boxes around them in authentication dialogs (Mysterious authentication dialogue font error) pointed to Lucida Grande as the likely culprit, but replacing /System/Library/Fonts/LucidaGrande.ttc with a clean copy did not resolve the issue.
  6. Deleting (in desperation) ~/Library/Fonts/ and ~/Library/FontCollections/ did not help, but did render the user account unusable until those folders were restored with fresh copies from the new user account (folder permissions fixed with BatChmod, though Mavericks now offers a "Paste Item Exactly" option (via Alt+Shift+Command+V) which preserves permissions (but not ACLs)).

Microsoft fonts were restored by running the Microsoft Office 2011 installer and selecting only "Office Fonts" (there was no need to reenter the product key).

/mac | Aug 31, 2014


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