Having an odd issue. My dock is showing these strange red icons where normal numerical notifications should be. For example, Thunderbird will display a 3 when I have 3 new messages, but instead it is showing this red A? icon. This happens with all the apps in my dock that display a notification.

See attached screen shot:

enter image description here

Notice the Thunderbird icon at the top and the Printer icon at the bottom.

Anyway to get my standard notifications back?

  • 2
    Looks like a system font problem to me. Has it always been this way on your Mac? I presume you have tried restarting your computer...?
    – Austin
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 22:20
  • No, but I don't know what triggered it. And yes, have restarted several times.
    – mxmissile
    Commented May 10, 2011 at 22:59
  • 2
    The glyph looks like one from the Last Resort font that is used when the requested font is not available. Most of the system UI uses Lucida Grande, but I am not sure if this also applies to your particular dock icon badges. Use Font Book to check that Lucida Grande is present, enabled, and validates correctly. Related: AD 11909. Commented May 11, 2011 at 1:41
  • @Chris the related question has this answer: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/11909/…
    – mxmissile
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


This looks like it might be a problem with a system font. Try this...

  1. Open Font Book (in /Applications)
  2. Select the "All Fonts" collection in the left-hand pane
  3. Click any font in the right-hand pane to focus that pane
  4. Select all the fonts using Edit -> Select All or Cmd+A
  5. In the File menu, click "Validate Fonts"

If any fonts are corrupt, this method should alert you to the problem.

Font Book - Validate Fonts menu option

Font Book - Font Validation window

  • This in combination with Chris's comment above solved it. Thanks!
    – mxmissile
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 18:58
  • @mxmissile You're welcome -- glad you got it fixed!
    – Austin
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 19:09

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