“Building Font Cache” in VLC

VLC is one of the best media players around, mainly because the app can play almost any video file you throw at it. However, it does have one strange quirk: after installing (or upgrading) it, you might see this dialog box when you try to open a video file:


The font cache is responsible for displaying subtitles in the VLC window. Which is fine… but sometimes the dialog box can hang, or the “less than a few minutes” can turn in to 20 or 30 minutes, or the box appears every time you open a video file. And all of those things can be annoying.

There are two routes you can take to fix this.

The first is to delete the cache and start over. To do this, type %APPDATA% into the Start Menu’s run box (Windows XP) or search box (Vista\7). Delete the “VLC” folder in the Explorer window that opens and try opening VLC again. The “building font cache” window will appear again, but (hopefully) this time the cache will be compiled correctly and you’ll only see it once.

If you’ve tried this and find that it doesn’t work for you, open VLC and choose Tools > Preferences. Look in the lower left corner of the preferences window and make sure that “All” is selected under “Show Settings”. Then click Video > Subtitles\OSD. Change the value of “Text rendering module” from “Default” to “Dummy font rendering functions” and then click “Save”. This will disable font caching completely.

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