What is Purpose of Building font Cache in VLC Media Player

by Venkat eswarlu on July 30, 2010

in tips and tricks

UpdateRead How to disable Building Font Cache Dialog of VLC Player

After installing VLC player, when you run it for the first time by opening any media file in it,  you will see Building font cache dialog box saying “please wait your font cache is rebuilt.This should take less than few minutes”. After couple of minutes video file will be played without any problems, lot of people wonder why this happens.

BuildingfontcachedialogboxofVLCMediaPlayer thumb What is Purpose of Building font Cache in VLC Media Player

I have faced this dialog box only once that too after installing and running VLC player for the first time. This will happen every time when you first play VLC Player with any file/stream after its installation.

VLC rebuilds font cache to show subtitles for files/stream which are shown at bottom of screen while playing.

If Building font cache dialog box hangs showing progressing bar each time whenever you play a file in VLC, type %appdata% in Run command box and press enter and delete VLC folder. This will make VLC to freshly rebuilds font cache again after that, you will be able to  able play files in VLC player without any problems.

And also make sure you are using latest version of VLC media player which comes fixed with lot of bugs like these. You can find update for VLC player by clicking ‘Help’ menu and clicking ‘Check for Updates’.

Read How to Update VLC Media Player


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

jordan August 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

“And also make sure you are using latest version of VLC media player which comes fixed with lot of bugs like these.”

I’m experiencing severe hanging and waiting times just to wait for the font cache to rebuild when I’m not even utilizing subtitles at all. Is there is a way to disable the font cache rebuilding process? I’m thinking of downgrading to an older version that doesn’t have bugs like these.


Venkat August 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm

As I mentioned in the post try to delete VLC folder in AppData by typing %appdata% in run command box.
Buiding of font cache only done when file contains subtitles as I found in VLC support documentaion.


VLC turns to crap August 19, 2010 at 8:28 am

Ugh I hate this. It was a great little player before and now it’s so frustrating to use.
Yes it works eventually but I have to wait 5-10 minutes every time I open up a video file on VLC.

Any way to stop it from building a font cache? Who the hell even uses subtitles?


tillops February 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm

The deaf find subtitles pretty handy.


Kittysafe August 24, 2010 at 5:06 am

“Who the hell even uses subtitles?”

Um… people watching foreign films?


at August 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

lol, totally agree with you. i watch foreign films all the time and vlc comes very handy


David September 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Thanks, this actually sorted my problem which occurred due to me cloning the files across hard drives, I think VLC is a great little player and I myself have never experienced problems with it on any clean installs or older installs.


Marisa September 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm

The “building font cache” pops up for me every time I open the program and play a file, not just after I’ve installed a new version, and even if I’ve played that type of file before. I’m getting sick of it popping up all the time.


Drew September 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

I solved this by running the VLC.exe in Vista Service Pack 1 compatibility mode. I am running Win 7 64-bit. Browse to where you have VLC installed to (C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC) and right click on the vlc.exe file, select properties and choose compatibility mode. Ensure the “run this program in compatiblity mode” check box is selected. Choose Vista SP1 and click apply. You will need Admin rights to do this obviously. Anyhow, the program starts instantaneously and the completely annoying and seemingly useless font cache “feature” disappears. Who ever decided to include this functionality should be ridiculed mercilessly. Can you imagine if you loaded a web page in a browser and before you could use it, you had to wait 10 minutes before “the font cache” was rebuilt? Ya, you get my point…how stupid!


Gopu October 16, 2010 at 11:24 am

Drew you rocks it work for me thank you…!!!!!!!!!!


Teglicha November 11, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I’ve never seen another video player doing any such kind of “font cache rebuilding” :@ .
How is this possible that any other player works perfectly with fonts and subtitles without any popup and waiting to rebuilding anything?! Come on, waiting fo about 1-2 minutes before I can watch my first video?!
Also the ever lasting bug with not memorizing my volume level between sessions dragged me away to an older version where there WAS some sort of memorizing the level. What a shame , this is a very good player that plays some of my files that weren’t playable with other players but bugs like these make me think there isn’t a stable and just… working player out there.


Daquest November 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

Thanks for the tip Drew, it works…………..


Drew November 15, 2010 at 6:33 am

You guys are welcome…

FYI, I uninstalled VLC until they get that straightened out – if ever. What a shame. I went back to Windows Media Player Classic with extra codecs instead.


Karan November 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm

this “building font cache” wait happens everytime i run VLC after installing new fonts to XP SP3, it is illogical as i think VLC player needs to only use basic windows fonts to display subtitles and if i install some design font it really has no business building that font into its cache. VLC devs, do this fix please.


Mike November 20, 2010 at 7:32 am

Please remove this nuisance dialog and delay by the next version. Definitely a UI design mistake. Irritating as can be. Thanks Drew for the workaround!


Venkat November 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

Invitation sent.


Yoshiyah November 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm

It only takes a few seconds on my Quad Core AMD. Come on guys/gals, have patience. Whenever I see that I just simply do something else and less than 15 seconds it is gone. Then I can load it without problems. Even on my Intel Atom N450, it takes about 1.5 minutes to rebuild cache. Are we so impatient that we cannot wait even less than a few minutes!! SMH.


John December 1, 2010 at 2:46 am

Well, I guess most ppl are frustrated since their other options (MPC/whatever) don’t have such (major to the frontend user) problems.


Mandeep December 5, 2010 at 1:02 am

“Building Font Cache” should have been a background process rather than a nuisance preventing the user from watching/listening the video/music (well it does for at least those 2 or 3 mins). I tried the workaround Drew suggested, but that did not work for me (Windows 7, Core i7), but I managed to disable it completely ;) How?

1. Open VLC
2. Tools => Preferences (CTRL+P)
3. Click on “All” (bottom left corner – “Show Settings”)
4. Expand “Video” (last option in left tree)
5. Click on “Subtitles/OSD” (last sub-option in Video)
6. In the section “On Screen Display” (first on the right), look for option “Text rendering module”, and select “Dummy font renderer function” (last option from the drop down)
7. Click “Save”
… you are done… no more waiting :)

Hope it helps!


Souvik February 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Thanks you very much. It is really helpful for me.
Again…….THANKXXXX A LOT!!!!!!!!!!……….


phoenix April 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm



TT May 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

VLC was my favorite player for so many years. This font caching pissed me off, uninstalled VLC…. installed mplayer and WMClassic…. I’m sure vlc will fix it after loosing millions of users…. (Yah! I know how to disable the font caching by going into preferences and bla bla… cannot do that all the PC’s in my company too much headaque for me to manage)


rs387 May 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I wonder how every other player in the world manages to render subtitles without forcing the user to twiddle thumbs just as they were about to watch something. Argh!


Michael May 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Stupid programmers, that’s all.


Dazza from England October 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Well in this age of adverts and collecting marketing information to sell isnt anyone a little suspicious that this rebuilding fonts dialog appears all the time. I would hazard a guess that the dialog is a front to the application phoning home with some information to sell. The message is just a red herring.

Am I Paranoid ? Not sure but I am a software developer and cannot see why anyone would “rebuild font cache” everytime you start.


UI February 22, 2013 at 3:52 am

Since you are a developer you should know how to setup the requisite traces to see what the application is doing. I doubt its doing anything like that….


Faisal January 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

It’s annoying that once it appears on screen, doesn’t shut off. Thanks for sharing the solution


Michael February 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm

@Dazza from England:

The nice thing about VLC is that it’s free software, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL)

So if you want to know whether it’s “phoning home with some information to sell”, just download the source code and look through it. Surely, with the large community of developers VLC has, if someone added code like that to VLC they would find it and eradicate it quickly before the next release.


Prabesh January 19, 2014 at 8:29 am
Melody July 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm

My only complaint with the ‘rebuilding font cache’ function is the fact that VLC does it EVEN WHEN I’M OPENING THE MOST RECENT FILE!

I watch a certain video each morning before I get up to face the day. The file in question is Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru OP (English name: Maidens are falling for me) because that opening is a reminder of a tough time I went though.. But that has little to do with this.

I open a file that was used less than 24 hours ago, and it has to rebuild the font cache, when it’s the only file I’ve opened in the last week.

There is a reason that many people call this a ‘bug.’ ↑ That is mine.

Extra information: This has happened with every update since 2.0.0 except for 2.1.0 which had a slew of other bugs that (luckily) were sorted out quickly. I’m using a Windows 7 PC, HP All-in-One (A computer I loathe to no end) with a dual core 1.3 GHz (I can’t be bothered to look up the model and whatnot right now. Been up for nearly 30 hours working on a Pokemon Hack, see blog linked via name)

Just did another update tonight, let’s hope this version doesn’t have this ‘bug’ for my sake, at least.

PS As aforementioned by others, why does VLC have a function that every other media player seems to lack? Does it have anything to do with the support file types? Granted, very few media players can handle .mkv files at all, let alone with the quality and finesse that VideoLan can. But that really shouldn’t make THAT much of a difference, right?


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