How to remove fonts

Question: Microsoft Word has all kinds of fonts, which is great. If you want to change the icon font under “Display/Appearances” in the Control Panel, a lot of fonts are available with variations such as “Western”, “Mac”, “Turkish”, “Greek”. Do I need all these font variations, or can I delete some of them? And if I can delete them, how do I do it?

Answer: Fonts are like dust bunnies — they seem to multiply in dark corners of a hard drive. It can be hard to keep all unwanted fonts off a hard drive. Every application that’s installed seems to want to add its own set. Thankfully, there’s a fairly simple way to manage fonts under Windows 95/98/ME.

But first, let’s deal with the issue of variants of the same font.

Changing from “Arial (Greek)” to “Arial (Cyrillic)” will produce little if any change in the way the font is displayed. It’s more about the extended characters available in the alphabet specified in brackets. It’s safe for English speakers to stick to the “(Western)” variations of the fonts.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, each variation of the font “Arial”, for example, is directly integrated with the font file. In Windows 95/98, this is specified as a .TTF file. So “Arial (Greek)” cannot be removed without removing the complete Arial font file from the system.

The “Marlette” font is the only true system font Windows 98 needs, so you can remove the other fonts from your computer, but that will leave you with no font choice in any applications installed.

So, while it is possible to remove all of the choices of system fonts, it is not the most brilliant idea under the sun.

If for some reason you do need to remove a specific font file, here’s how to do it under Windows 95/98/ME and XP:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel (in XP, you may be able to go to Start, then Control Panel depending on which theme you’ve chosen).
  2. Double-click the Fonts folder.
  3. Click the font you want to remove. To select more than one font at a time, press down and hold the Ctrl key while you click each font.
  4. On the File menu, click Delete. When you are asked “Are you sure you want to delete these fonts?”, click Yes.
  5. To prevent a font from loading without removing it from the hard disk, move the font from the Fonts folder into another folder. Use this method for troubleshooting purposes. You can use Windows Explorer to drag the font from the Fonts folder into another folder. This will not completely uninstall the font, as registry information is not deleted (the registry is a database where Windows keeps track of everything), but it will prevent that font from loading.

For more information on moving files, click Start and then click Help and type fonts in the box under the Index tab.

By the way, TrueType font files have .TTF extensions. Back in the day, Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 created a pointer file with a .FOT extension.

In Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11, .FOT files can be removed from the Control Panel without affecting the .TTF files. Windows 95/98/ME/XP do not create a .FOT pointer file. They use only the .TTF file.

If you delete a .TTF file, you can get it back by reinstalling the program that put it there in the first place.

Finally, removing unneeded fonts will also help your machine boot up faster and free up space on a hard drive.

If you would like a program that helps you manage your fonts better, try this one.