03 December 2007

Note to self: Windows XP fonts (and reasons why you can’t really uninstall them)

Early last week, I went through a boatload-and-a-half of hassle over font uninstallation.

What I learned

  1. Do not ever attempt to install fonts with a limited user account. Doing so does not leave you with corrupt files, but they will behave as if they’re corrupted.
  2. Always copy your font file(s) to the Fonts folder.
  3. When you uninstall a font, any font, also delete \%WindowsDir\system32\FNTCACHE.DAT immediately thereafter. Failure to do so may cause your font to come back to life unexpectedly.
  4. Immediately after taking the preceding step, reboot your system, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. Do not worry about FNTCACHE.DAT, it will be resurrected in an appropriate form. If, however, you skip postpone this step, your system will crash hard — not a mere BSOD-style crash, but more of a scary MacOS-9-style BombIcon crash. When this happened to me, I was forced to fully power-cycle my IDE devices (i.e., open the computer and unplug them from the motherboard) in order to see them again, even in the BIOS. Just sayin’.

Failure to heed all of this advice may result in fonts that are in the appropriate folder, but cannot be used and cannot be uninstalled short of doing a nuke-and-pave on the entire system.

Please, for the love of all that is good, learn from these implied mistakes.

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