Fonts not showing up


New Member
Hi all,

I have pasted some English alphabet OpenType font files into control panel / appearance and personalisation / fonts but they do not show up in the fonts folder. If I try to paste the files again it tells me "the gotham light file font is already installed - do you want to replace it?"

So if the font files are installed why can't I see them in the fonts folder?

I have tried unchecking "hide fonts based on language settings" but that does not seem to help. The fonts do not show up in Microsoft Word or Adobe CS6 and I get the same problem on my Windows 7 machine.

Any ideas please?

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Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

Well I was going to answer this, but when I checked I found that the whole install fonts thing has changed.
It used to be that there was an add fonts option accessible from the fonts icon in control panel.

But this option seems to be missing now.

The reason that I just figured this out is, that as a graphic designer I have my master fonts folder (about 700 fonts other then the standard Windows fonts) carry over, from install to install for many years (decades actually).

When I set up a new computer I just merge my master fonts folder into the C:\Windows\Fonts folder and all of my fonts are installed along with the standard Windows fonts for that version of Windows, so that I can open any job I've ever done and the fonts are there.

To get back to your problem, the way I add fonts it to copy the font directly into the C:\Windows\Fonts folder.

You may have to reboot before the font shows as installed.

But you should be able to right click on the font file in Windows Explorer and see the option to install the font. You can batch select the fonts and install multiple fonts at the same time.

Alternately if you double left click on the font a preview window should open, at the top will be an Install button.

If you don't get the preview window to open, open properties for the file and change the open with setting to "Windows Font Viewer".

If you don't see the install option it is probably because the file isn't a legitimate font file (i.e Adobe fonts have several extensions and only one of them will install in Windows for example) but ".otf" files shouldn't be a problem.

I recommend a free application called "Font View OK", I've used it for many years, it will display all of your installed fonts and let you compared them side by side with what ever text you want.

It will confirm what fonts are installed and working.

If none of this helps, come back and we'll look at more options.

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Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
@Mike Hawthorne, yes Microsoft likes to change things once people get used to them.

To be clear,
1. The correct path for fonts is "C:\Windows\Fonts"... assumes windows is in the default drive but works in 7&8.
2. After placing them in that folder you open 1 at a time and click the install button.
3. Windows will see the font now and Cs6 etc should pick up the new fonts after a system restart.



New Member
Thanks for replies. I have restarted in the two machines but I still have the same same problem. Please see the attached screenshots.

The 26 fonts I am trying to install.


My Windows/fonts folder shows only Gotham (Gotham-XLightItalic etc is not there)


Message "Gotham-XLightItalic is already installed"


The Gotham fonts previewing in Fontviewok under "installed system fonts"


MS Word (Gotham only)


Font folder = Gotham only


right click / install on font file


font file properties


Message "Gotham-XLightItalic is already installed"


previewing a font in Windows Font Viewer

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Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
1. Un-install the fonts you had before… just ones from other folders will do.

2. Put the new fonts into the windows folder c:- windows-fonts

3. Install them

Adobe Cs6 should see the other fonts but Word is a crap Microsoft product and will only look in the default folder i.e. if you install a font from somewhere else then word won’t see it.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

Yes, just copy the fonts to the fonts folder.
Adobe Type 1, True-type or Open Type, should all work.

Something you might want to do is once you have everything working, make a copy of your fonts folder and save it some place, (I have copies of my fonts folders going back many computers, because as a graphic designer the most frustrating thing is not being able to find a font, from a previous job) I just name them Fonts used on my computer, with a date.

You can always merge the folders to add anything that has come up missing over the years.

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Matthew Lala

New Member
just registered to share a (possible) solution for people with various windows font issues.
This may solve stuff like -

• the font is in the folder, but not available in word or adobe photoshop or whatever
• the font says it's already installed, but it's not
• you say "yes, replace the installed font" but still don't see it showing up anywhere
• you have a ton of duplicated files in the windows font folder, ending in _0, or _1, etc.
• windows shows some members of a font family but not all of them
• the installed version of the font is different from some alternate version you're trying to install.

What I figured out is this - when you install a new font, windows copies the font file to the windows font folder, and at the same time updates a list of available fonts in the windows registry.

This list of fonts is important. If a font exists in the font folder, but the registry list didn't get updated... then you won't see the font in your applications.

If the font doesn't exist in the windows font folder, but exists in the registry list, windows thinks it's installed. Even if it's not working anywhere, even if it's been moved or deleted from the windows font folder, windows considers it "installed" because it's on this list.

And if you try to install a font that isn't working, but it's on that list... you get that annoying popup error "this font is already installed, do you wish to replace it?"

If the list has the font, but the list has incorrect info about the font's file name... like the list thinks it's called "font1.ttf" but the actual font file is called "font2.otf"... you can't use the font.

Also, the windows font folder gives you a weird specialized view of your files, which looks different from other folders. The actual filenames are replaced with the font name, so instead of seeing "times_0.ttf" you see "Times New Roman Regular". The listed fonts can act like "folders" that you can double click to see the full font family within. This 'special' font folder view is controlled by this hidden registry list. So let's say gotham-bold.ttf is in the windows font folder, but it's not in the registry list... gotham bold will NOT show in that special view of the font folder either. It's actually there in C:\windows\fonts\ , but you can't see it. And if you right click gotham-bold.ttf (from any folder) and choose install, you'll get that annoying error about it already being installed. Worse, even if you say "yes, replace it"... you still might not see the font appear in the folder.

That's how you end up with a ton of duplicate font files with names like font.ttf, font_0.ttf, font_1.ttf, whatever_0.otf, etc.

If you are prompted to reinstall the font, and choose yes... windows won't overwrite the file, just create a renamed copy. So you might end up with 2-5 copies of the same font in your windows font folder, and these separately installed files can get listed twice in the registry too.

Anyway at this point someone's probably thinking "that's great but how do I fix it?"... here's the fix, if you want to install a specific font but keep having trouble getting it to show up and work

1. Open up an explorer window (e.g. by pressing the windows key + E) and at the top, click in the address bar and paste this: \\localhost\c$\Windows\Fonts ...this gives you a true, normal view of the windows font folder, where you see a complete list of the files within your windows font folder, with their actual filenames (e.g. "times.ttf"). Every variation is listed by its filename too, so times italic will be in there as maybe "times_it.ttf" and not combined with (or hidden by) other font names. You don't see the convenient previews and full font names, but you DO see a true, accurate list of your files without the registry list screwing things up by hiding some of them.

2. Click any font inside the folder, ctrl+A, ctrl+C to copy every font to the clipboard. Then make a new folder (let's call it fontbackup) and ctrl+V to paste all those font files into a backup folder. Now close the backup folder. That's important because you don't want to get the two folders confused.

3. Keep the original font folder open. Run regedit. If you're unsure about how to do that, I'll let you google that and see all the scary warnings about how you might break the computer if you're not careful. Within regedit, navigate to this "folder": HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts

**note, that's not microsoft\windows, it's microsoft\windows NT\, the folder (actually called a key) should definitely be there.

Once you click it, you should see a bunch of fonts listed on the right. Look for the font that's giving you trouble, click that item in the list (the "list" is actually a bunch of separate registry items called "values", one value per line) and tap delete on the keyboard. Be careful doing this, make sure it's the font you want to fix, not some other font with a similar name. It'll ask you to confirm deletion, say yes. Note it might be in the registry multiple times, so delete multiple values if necessary.

4. Go back to your font folder (make sure it's the "true view" of the font folder, as described in step 1). Find the file associated with your problem font. Note that sometimes the filenames are a little cryptic, like "Book Antiqua Bold Italic" might be called "ANTQUABI.TTF". You can always double click a file to see a preview and confirm it's the font you're looking for. You want to remove that font from the windows font folder completely, including any copies. So if you're removing Cooper Black, be sure to get cooperbk.ttf, cooperbk.otf, cooperbk_0.ttf, cooperbk_1.ttf, and so on. By "remove" I mean delete, which should be safe if you made a backup in step 2. If you're the cautious type though, you could also ctrl+X to cut a font from the folder, and then ctrl+V to paste it somewhere else, like your desktop.

5. Now that the font is removed in the registry and from your windows font folder, you can install it "fresh" in a way that won't give errors or problems. Find the font file and install it in the usual way (I like right click --> install). If you see a warning about "do you want to overwrite the existing font" that means you screwed up somewhere in step 3 or 4 and didn't remove the font from either the registry list, or the windows font folder. If you see no warning at all though, everything probably worked fine and you can start using the font immediately in Word, Photoshop, etc.

6. But even so, reboot just to be safe.

Optional but recommended - you can search for and delete a bunch of duplicates. This may slightly help with performance but mostly it's just to keep things tidy. The downside is that if you're careless or unlucky you might delete a windows system font. To be honest though I've actually done that, and it wasn't impossible to recover from. Still, it's a pain, so be careful.

What I did was open an explorer window, go to \\localhost\c$\Windows\Fonts, and typed this into the search box at the top right: *_0.ttf (find all files ending in _0.ttf) ...after finding all those results, I just highlighted all of them and deleted them (actually, I moved them to a backup folder to be safe). Then I repeated the process by doing additional searches... one for *_1.ttf, another for *_2.ttf, and so on.

You should also do the searches for opentype font files, so *_0.otf, *_1.otf, etc. And you may have duplicated postscript fonts too, which have filenames like *_0.pfb.

Stick to just those filetypes, other font filetypes are likely to be system fonts. Like some critical windows fonts are just called whatever.fon. So don't delete any FON files.

Once the duplicate files are gone from the font folder, you also need to nuke them from that registry list. So you just go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts and skim over it for any filenames (the data on the right) that end in _0, _1, _2, etc. ...then you delete those items from the list. Again, don't delete any system fonts like arial, times new roman, MS-anything, or any file named something.FON.

At this point, the only fonts that should exist in the windows font folders are originals (i.e. you should see whatever.ttf, but not whatever_2.ttf) and the registry should only have entries for those originals (so the registry list might have "Whatever Font" on the left, and on the right, it 'points' to the file "whatever.ttf". If it incorrectly points to whatever_2.ttf, you can just double click that item, and retype the name properly in the data box that pops up). If a font is missing from the registry list, you just need to right click and install it, then refresh that list. But don't do so until you're sure it's NOT in the windows font folder.

This has solved all of my font problems so far, and vastly reduced clutter. Hope this helps others.

edit: I had a similar problem crop up for just one font, turns out it was because it's a Type 1 font, which uses files that typically come in pairs named something.pfm and something.pfb. These are handled in a different registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Type 1 Installer\Type 1 Fonts\ ...the idea is the same as the registry issue mentioned before. If a font exists in this list but not on your computer, attempting to install gets an erroneous "font already installed" error.
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Honorable Member
Matthew Lala … just wanting to say thanks for sharing … i learned something new today. in fact, learned a couple things i didn't know before … and i pretty much work with fonts all day (mac-osx). and, even then, i don't like admitting it … because too much frustration 'n change from one adoption to another. really appreciated that nifty tilde with \\localhost\c$\Windows\Fonts … top notch considering the true file-naming convention. again, Matthew Lala … thanks for sporting enough to join our humble group … just to share your knowledge.

for others who find themselves still curious … here's couple links to share:

the first link pulls a *.pdf directly from server … so make sure you check the url with before trusting the content. the second link is with regard to font-managers (in this case 'free'). many in the industry resort to these utilities … which allows one to preview/activate/deactivate fonts at will … circumventing windows font-folder and registry. if one uses only a handful of fonts, windows font-folder is fine … but when dealing with hundreds o' thousands of fonts … a font-manager might be the way to go.

Matthew Lala

New Member
cheers, glad to see it helped ^^ This was driving me nuts and it was great when I finally found a bunch of forum posts that straightened it out.


New Member
Hello Matthew Lala,
I was hoping to find a solution to a problem that I have right now with my pc I can only see and use 186 fonts out of about 700 installed.
It all happened after a windows update few days ago and there is no way to have my fonts back.
I read many forums tried anything but there is no way.
On the registry it appears that the fonts have a "normal" name
On the fonts file there are many weird names ( like numbers, but if I click on it, only on some, I I can see the font name) but the real problem is that my pc does not allow me to delete anything. When I tried to delete a font from folder there was a message popping out all the time saying that to delete the file I need authorizations from admin ( which is me, the only user of the pc) or even from some company name ( where I bought the fonts from ).
Yesterday I tried to delete a font from registry and it was even worst my pc have frozen for hours...
I really do not know what to do because I can not re-install the fonts I need ( message that they already exist and if I force it and say reisntall anyway my pc freeze forever).
I hope somebody can help me.
Thank you!

Matthew Lala

New Member
Hi daniela... that's a new issue on me. Unfortunately I'm on windows 7 and don't know much about windows 10. This happened after an update? Is it possible to roll back the update?

A lot of windows fonts have weird names (including all numbers), like the first few fonts in my list have names like "85f874.fon"... you want to leave those alone and don't delete them. They're usually important for windows to run. Those are the type that may freeze your computer if you delete them. In fact leave alone anything ending in ".fon".

Most of the ones ending in .ttf aren't critical for windows to work, but a few might be. I don't have an exact list but if you remember adding a certain font yourself, it should be safe to move or delete it.

Also all fonts ending in .otf are safe to move or delete. Windows (as far as I know) doesn't use .otf fonts for anything important.

Anyway so you're saying you can't delete them and get an error, that's an annoying problem windows users have faced since forever... you can sometimes force windows to move or delete them anyway using a program called "unlocker", which can be downloaded here - Download Unlocker - MajorGeeks

The idea is, once you install it, you can right click a file and choose "unlock" and then choose options like move or delete, and the computer will do it. Windows fonts are annoying though, I think even unlocker sometimes fails on them and that's because of the stuff I talked about in my long post above - Fonts not showing up

Basically windows keeps a list of fonts (in the registry) that is separate from the actual font files that live in C:\windows\fonts.

If a font is on the list, you can use it. If a font isn't on the list, you can't, even though you have the font "installed" and sitting in that folder.

So you probably have a bunch of fonts that are missing from that list, and need to be added to the list. The easiest way to do that:

1. Move them out of the windows font folder and into some new folder you create, let's call it "problemfonts" Decide which ones to move based on the guidelines I mentioned earlier... so don't move anything called .fon, move .ttf files only if you remember installing them yourself, move all .otf files.

2. Once that folder is full of all your problem fonts, right click and install them, and that should put a copy of these fonts back into c:\windows\fonts\ and also update that registry list. After doing this for as many fonts as possible, reboot, and hopefully they will be usable again.


New Member
Thank you so much @Matthew Lala . You really helped soooo much.

I did have one question regarding step 4. I'm unable to delete the font in the "true view" folder because it is saying I need administrator privileges to do this action. How can I bypass this or what needs to be done to allow myself to delete it? Thanks in advance!


New Member
Thanks @Matthew Lala, I am having similar problems, and appreciate your help. But I have the same question as @krzychnip, above. The true view folder will not allow me to delete the [multiple versions of] the fonts that are giving me problems, even though I have administrator permissions. It is not recognizing them. Any ideas? Unlocker, which you referenced above, looks a little sketchy to me, especially with the discussion about another program included that you can't get rid of.......

Matthew Lala

New Member
Hey Grey - I promise you Unlocker is not sketchy, even though I've seen some browsers show a warning when going to the website. I'm not sure why they do that, maybe their reasoning is that if a program allows you to delete a file despite window's best efforts to prevent it, then it's a security risk. But windows stupidly tries to prevent moving or deleting files when there's no apparent problem... they aren't in use, the user is an administrator, the user owns the file.

In any case, Unlocker is a tiny and 100% legit program used by millions of people to deal with this super common, frustrating problem. You can uninstall it easily if you don't like it. I've been using it for over a decade. It's safe. Just get it from emptyloop, majorgeeks, filehippo, or some other known legit source.

I guess if you really wanted to avoid it then you could delete the files in safe mode, which is sort of an all-purpose solution to dealing with stubborn files that won't move/rename/delete. But safe mode is a huge pain requiring two reboots, while unlocker is a simple right click. I haven't had to resort to safe mode in years.

If you want to try it, here are the instructions -

Once you reboot into safe mode you'll probably see your normal desktop but at super low resolution (since safe mode doesn't load unnecessary video drivers)... just browse to the problem files as usual and delete them and it will probably work. Then reboot again to get back to normal mode.


New Member
Matthew, thanks for your thoughtful and complete reply, not to mention your previous detailed instructions.
In the time since I posted, above, and before you posted again, I tried to remove the offending files in safe mode, with no success. I was trying to delete them from the "accurate view of fonts" folder, and windows 7 would not go to that address in safe mode. even in safe mode with networking. I messed around for far too long with trying to suss out the permission problem that was keeping windows telling me that I didn't have permission to delete the files....When I finally stopped and glued my hair back into my head, I went with a workaround: I downloaded a[n illegal] copy of the font in question (which i have a paid up license for.....), which had, of course, a slightly different name. I installed that, and finally got to work. Not pretty, But.
As far as I can tell, even though I have xty-x copies of the font in the "accurate view of fonts" folder, that , in itself, is doing no harm. No idea where the registry stands now. I figure I will let my computer guy look at it the next time I have to take the box in for something; hopefully something else!
thanks again.....

Matthew Lala

New Member
That's a bummer you had to do the workaround! I was sure safe mode would work. Though I personally never had to use that solution, as I stick with Unlocker.

Were you that determined to avoid the program? I don't mean to sound like I'm lecturing but I thought you wanted to avoid it because it sounded sketchy... but going to any sort of warez site and installing a pirated font is at least 10x more risky!

Again, not a moral objection, just a practical one. It sounds like it's worked out for you but I hope you scanned the file first. Definitely get the registry straightened out, maybe that has to happen first before this undead font can be removed.


New Member
sure, I scanned the font. with Malwarebytes and ESOT. I was, actually, trying to avoid Unlocker, as I did this before you replied about it.... my security programs did not want me to go to that website......I will take your advice and get the registry straightened out. I may also get unlocker and [try to] get rid of the duplicate files in the "actual" fonts folder, but I don't see how they are doing any harm....
Maybe safe mode would work, but I could not navigate to \\localhost\c$\Windows. Windows explorer tells me, in safe mode with networking, that that address is not available, or maybe it said accessible or no such address or whatever..... what does the c$ mean, anyway? And how can I get to that folder in safe mode? Though, now I write this, I did not try to get to the fonts folder via the c:/programs.....files, while in safe mode...would that show the actual fonts, I wonder....
Matthew, you are very kind to keep talking about this....thanks.

Matthew Lala

New Member
No problem, glad to help ^ ...and I really do recommend you try unlocker. It's gonna fix your issue in 5 minutes.

I wish I had a good explanation for why browsers and antivirus programs have started warning people about the site, because they didn't used to... the site has been around forever and hasn't changed in like a decade (see this comparison of the site in 2012 vs. today):


It's only in the past year or so that people have started getting warnings about the emptyloop page or software.
I don't think the site somehow got compromised in the past year, I think the people behind the security programs have just gotten more aggressive about "red-flagging" any kind of software that messes with the windows operating system. Which is necessary to force windows to delete things it doesn't want to delete.

Well anyway, to answer your question, about the whole C$ thing -
You may already know some of this so apologies if I over-explain.

The hard drives in your computer get assigned letters by windows like A, B, C etc... and the default letter for your main hard drive, the one that actually runs windows, is C. That's because in the olden days, virtually all computers came with a couple of drives for floppy disks, which would get the letters A and B. So then the main hard drive would get the letter C. We don't use floppies anymore, but we stick to the convention of calling the main hard drive C. And usually if you have a drive that reads CDs or DVDs, that gets the letter D.

The dollar sign is a windows networking convention. Normally if I want to share files on my computer over a network, I specify certain folders that I want to share. Then someone else on the network can go onto their own computer, click network, see my computer in the list, then click my computer and see a list of folders that I've shared.

But that other person doesn't have to be strictly limited to the folders I set up as "shared", they can access other folders on my computer if I give them permission (via changing certain windows settings on my end).

These other folders don't show up in the public list of shared folders, they're considered "hidden". So the dollar sign means you're looking at a hidden network folder. You can access them if you know the exact folder name, type the address to get to that folder, and add the dollar sign at the end. e.g. \\bobscomputer\workstuff\hiddenfolder$\

Long story short, this whole "true view" thing is just an alternate way to list files on your own computer, by telling windows to treat it as a networked computer with a hidden folder called "C". The C drive is not really a folder, but windows treats it like one, you can double click it and see a list of the files inside.

99% of windows folders work like this, where you see the folder icon, double click, and get a standard list of files. But a handful of them are special and get a different look or style. Your desktop is actually just a really fancy-looking windows folder (the true path to it is C:\Users\YourName\Desktop) which can get wallpaper backgrounds. Your start menu is also just a fancy folder, deep down. It lives at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. Which brings us back around to the font folder... one of the special folders that gets an unusual view and special options that normal folders don't have, except in this case we don't want those because it makes it a pain to delete unwanted files.

As for how to get to the folder in safe mode, I'm honestly unsure if you tried Safe Mode with Networking, and it didn't work.
The way it SHOULD work is you just open up any folder, click the title bar at the top where you can type, and then manually type \\localhost\c$\Windows\Fonts ...if that doesn't work, you could also try manually typing your computer's network name instead of the word "localhost". You can find its network name with a kind of obscure shortcut, press the windows key on your keyboard and "pause/break", one of those keys nobody uses anymore but is still available at the top right of most keyboards. This will bring up your windows info page and the computer name is listed somewhere in the middle. Let's say it's grey-pc. That would mean you could instead try typing \\grey-pc\c$\windows\fonts\ and maybe that will work.

One other option is to delete the fonts using the somewhat arcane windows command prompt. Click start, type cmd, a result will appear the top, right click it and choose run as administrator. Then to manually delete a font from this prompt you'd have to give windows a carefully typed command like DEL C:\windows\fonts\GothamBold.ttf /F

But this method really is no better than the others, and really I'm just gonna say again to get Unlocker :) It's basically necessary software for any windows user who doesn't enjoy tearing their hair out in frustration.


New Member
I installed unlocker. selected start and "network" then tried to delete and it still gave me this message:

Screenshot 2018-02-16 13.49.26.png

Please HELP! I'm desperate to get rid of these extra fonts and get this fixed. The brand I'm doing creatives for needs all the HelveticaNeue fonts but I can only access the HelveticaNeue-CondensedBold now. This is better than nothing for the moment and its only because of your great suggestion in a previous post TY TY. But I need these deleted so I rip off the bandaid and reinstall all the HelveticaNeue font versions without them overwriting eachother. Very frustrating.


New Member
I installed unlocker. selected start and "network" then tried to delete and it still gave me this message:

View attachment 35901
Please HELP! I'm desperate to get rid of these extra fonts and get this fixed. The brand I'm doing creatives for needs all the HelveticaNeue fonts but I can only access the HelveticaNeue-CondensedBold now. This is better than nothing for the moment and its only because of your great suggestion in a previous post TY TY. But I need these deleted so I rip off the bandaid and reinstall all the HelveticaNeue font versions without them overwriting eachother. Very frustrating.

Hello! I had a similar problem several domain computers.

Just wanted to let you know what I did to resolve this issue regarding "You need permission to perform this action" pop-up when removing the troubled fonts. Login to your computer locally with the local "Administrator" account. Once you login locally, go ahead and attempt to delete the fonts. Reinstall the fonts and you will see them listed. That worked on my Windows 10 Pro computers.