Frequently encountered problems with fonts

Article contributed by Alan Edwards

The first thing to establish is the number of fonts you have installed (including variations). The limit is around 700–1000, although I would recommend having no more than 250. For more detail on this, see I'd like to delete some fonts, but I'm afraid I'll remove some that Word needs. What fonts do I have to keep?

Here is a list of other common font problems:

If System is not checked (and greyed out) on the Properties dialog, then you cannot install new fonts; to fix this, restart your computer in DOS mode, and at the command line, type the command:

attrib +s +r C:\Windows\Fonts

  1. Press Return to invoke the command, reboot, and all should be well.
  2. Or you can use TweakUI from PowerToys. It has a Repair Fonts option which will also fix the Fonts folder. For details and the download, click here [Lene Fredborg, 11-Feb-2018: Removed outdated link to]. TweakUI can also fix the missing or damaged Desktop.ini file issue mentioned in 6.
  3. Your Font cache has become corrupted (this is less common). Delete C:\Windows\ttfCache (which is an extensionless file, not a folder) and reboot. (Do not move it; delete it). It will be regenerated.
  4. Check that the Fonts value in the registry at:

"HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders"

  1. has the data C:\WINDOWS\Fonts (assuming that your Windows directory is C:\Windows)
  2. Fontext.dll is missing or corrupt, or the Desktop.ini file may be missing or damaged. If so, see Microsoft Knowledge Base (MSKB) article Q133725: Missing Menu Commands in the Fonts Folder.
  3. Check the following MSKB article on the use of the Fontreg tool: Q133732: Missing TrueType Fonts in Fonts Folder or Programs.