January 30, 2011 -- Scenario: You have been using Family Tree Maker (FTM) from Ancestry.com under Windows XP or Vista without a problem. You have recently upgraded to Windows 7, perhaps to a 64-bit version on a shiny new HP computer. FTM is now unable to create a chart or report. The program simply crashes (shuts down instantly) without warning. Following the suggested workarounds on the Ancestry support site do not solve the problem.
I have no experience with Family Tree Maker but I was able to diagnose and resolve this particular problem for a UK client recently. In this particular instance, the problem appears to be missing standard Windows fonts Arial Regular and Verdana Regular.
I have seen the problem reported on some new HP Windows 7 64-bit systems, but the solution provided here could apply to any system with the same problem. I have seen similar problems reported by users of Intuit TurboTax. At least TurboTax gives an Error 7284 message. The solution provided here may relate to them also.
You should check the System Event Viewer and look at the Windows Application logs. Look at failed events with Family Tree Maker in the Source column and Event ID: 100.
You can scroll through the details but the easy wasy is to copy the log entry and paste it into Notepad where you can search for a line such as Message : Font 'Arial' does not support style 'Regular' or Message : Font 'Verdana' does not support style 'Regular'. These errors are generated after attempting to create a Chart or a Report respectively. This will confirm your problem.
I have to hold Ancestry programmers accountable for part of this issue. A better programming technique would have had FTM report any required fonts missing during chart or report selection, or better still select another font and report this to the user in a friendly manner. Nor did the installation of FTM complain that these required fonts were missing. It is likely that uninstalling some unrelated program may have been the culprit in deleting these standard system fonts, but it is curious that the problems have been reported frequently on HP systems.
You can test to see if you have the fonts installed in a couple ways. The easiest is to open Notepad (not Wordpad) and select Format: Font. Then select Arial as an example. You should see the various versions of Arial listed including Arial Regular. If you do not have this font installed, FTM will crash when trying to create a chart. Obviously this font is required -- no substitutes allowed. Also check for Verdana Regular and Verdana Bold. Verdana Regular at least is required for creating reports.
In Windows 7 if you have the Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) service enabled (which it should be by default), you might be able to restore the missing fonts from a Shadow Copy. On the system I looked at, these fonts had been previously installed and I was able to locate and restore the deleted fonts.
In Windows Explorer, browse to C:\WINDOWS. Right-Click on the Fonts folder. Select Properties. Select Previous Versions. You may have several or many Fonts folders listed. You will need to search through these, find the missing fonts, and then right-click on the required font and select Install for each one needed.
Download the missing fonts arial.ttf, verdana.ttf, and verdanab.ttf from the links provided. Right-click on each, select Save Target As, and Save these to your desktop or somewhere you can find them. Then right-click on each font and select Install.
If you open Windows Explorer and browse to C:\WINDOWS\Fonts, you should be able to find these fonts now installed. The one that says Arial (Open Type) is Arial Regular.
After restoring the missing fonts, open FTM and hopefully you will be able to create a chart or report without a problem. If not, go back and review the System Event Log again for possible errors.
If anyone has more specifics on the program that deleted these fonts, feel free to leave a comment and I will update this posting.