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Re: A serious error?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg71909] Re: [mg71888] A serious error?
  • From: "Chris Chiasson" <chris at>
  • Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 06:26:32 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <>

A few ideas:

This happens on my system when my network share is unavailable because
I have set the environment variable MATHEMATICA_USERBASE to be on a
network drive.

Have you tried a Shift+Option startup of Mathematica?

If neither of those work, use a command that can give you a (binary)
diff of a directory structure to compare the Mathematica install on
your system with the backup install on your external drive. AFAIK,
most of the files should be exactly the same, but if the front end is
complaining - some of them might be missing or corrupt.

Also, you may want to look into using a source code repository - I use

Good luck,

On 12/2/06, Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at> wrote:
> I have just encountered a puzzling problem with my Mathematica 5.1
> for Mac OS X. It's probably an issue for technical support, but just
> in case someone has encountered it before (and known the answer) I
> have decided to post it here. (Actually, I am not even sure this is
> really a Mathematica issue rather than a Mac OS X issue issue).
> My Mathematica 5.1 was working fine this morning, but then for some
> reason I restarted the computer and on next launch the following
> message appeared:
> A serious error has occured while Mathematica was starting up.
> Mathematica will probably not function properly until this problem is
> resolved. You may choose to continue anyway, but Mathematica may
> crash or exit without warning.
> The installation Mathematica may be corrupted. Contact technical
> support or visti hhtp:// for more information. Error
> code: 16.
> I clicked "Continue Anyway" and Mathematica crashed as promised. I
> then immediately re-installed Mathematica from a back-up disk and re-
> started. Exactly the same thing occured. So corrupted installation
> does not seem to be the problem. I decided to check if the problem
> lies in my Home directory. I created a completely new user, logged in
> as the freshly created user and tried launching Mathematica. The same
> message, the same crash.
> I then booted form an external hard disk, containing a back up of
> most things on my hard disk. I launched the copy of Mathematica 5.1
> on my internal hard drive (the same one that was crashing on
> startup) . It launched and worked without a problem. So, it seems
> that something is indeed wrong with the system software on the
> internal drive. What could it be? The only thing that came to my mind
> was some font corruption, so I replaced all the fonts in my internal
> hard drive by those in the external one, but to no effect.
> I have also confirmed that the problem is only with the FrontEnd; if
> I launch the Kernel from the command line it works fine. Just in case
> I tried Mathematica 4.2 on the same system: it also works fine.
> At the moment it looks like I will have to replace the contents of my
> internal hard disk with my external one. This is going to be time
> consuming and I might even loose something, because the two disks
> have not been kept not synchronized. So I consider this as a last
> resort. Apart of that, however, I would like to solve this puzzle.
> What could it be, that seems to affect only the Front End of
> Mathematica 5.1, and does not lie within the application package
> itself (since that works fine when used with a different startup
> disk), nor in the User directory, and does not seem to be caused by a
> corrupted font?
> Andrzej Kozlowski


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