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After a system crash and therefore a reboot all characters got substituted by white rectangles (only these rectangles are displayed by 12.04 LTS - even in the terminal).

The characters in e.g. Google Chrome are correctly displayed. When I start a terminal session via Ctrl+Alt+F1, the system characters are properly shown.

Do you have any idea how to fix this issue?

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Were you using the default system fonts? If yes, try the answer here and see if that fixes your problem. – Tom Brossman Aug 22 '12 at 12:43

You can try downloading gnome-tweak-tool and changing system's default font OR re-install the system's default font.

Re-installing Default fonts:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts 

Changing default fonts:

Install gnome-tweak-tool:

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

You should be able to change the system wide fonts from the Fonts tab.

enter image description here

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