How do you delete system-protected fonts?

Hi there: this happens to me most times Windows updates to a new version—I wind up with a new set of fonts.

For reasons which I won’t go into here, I dislike Arial, and in the old days of Windows 7, and even the last Windows 10 I had (version 1909?) I managed to get rid of it, and put something else in its place (namely a font I already had a licence for, but edited and renamed Arial).

However, on 2004, this has proved impossible. So far I have tried these methods to remove references to it or delete it:

  • Go into registry and delete the key (the method described at https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/deleting-protected-system-fonts/141fc4b8-34fb-4ef3-aaa3-51fce725235c)
  • Go into registry and have key point to a new font with the same name
  • Go into the fontsubstitutes key and have Arial point to Helvetica
  • Do the same but in the 64-bit section in the registry key
  • Use elevated command prompt and delete
  • Go into safe mode and do the above
  • Take ownership of relevant font files through elevated power shell, then delete
  • Go into safe mode and do the above
  • Delete FNTCACHE.DAT from system32 directory
  • Delete ~fontcache files from Local

None have in fact worked.

Windows’ own font viewer says it has worked; Nexusfont shows the replacement. However, neither is correct. When you go into individual programs (including Edge and Vivaldi), there’s the original Arial (arial.ttf) in all its splendour on pages that specify it (e.g. Google results).

So just what is loading c:\windows\fonts\arial.ttf? And is there another way (probably via safe mode, which is how I did it in 1909) to change its attributes to make it “deleteable”?

I found out that we cannot delete system-protected fonts.

Here are the steps:

Go to C:\Windows\Fonts (or Start Menu → Control Panel → Appearance and Personalization → Fonts), right click on a font, and select "Delete". If the font is protected, you will receive an error message saying "[X] is a Protected System Font and cannot be deleted."

So you cannot try to delete system protected fonts.

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Thanks, RuskinF. Did you try this on earlier versions of Windows 10? Because I could still do it (and had done it) up to v. 1909. I just can’t fully remember how I did it, but I seem to recall it involved booting up in safe mode.
Jack Yan
jackyan.com

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Update: the below link’s advice hasn’t worked.

https://www.wikihow.com/Delete-Protected-System-Fonts-in-Windows-7

What is interesting is that many programs show the replacement Arial, except anything that is Chromium-based. A process monitor search confirms that Vivaldi and Edge are calling c:\windows\fonts\arial.ttf even though the usual registry keys referring to it have been deleted.

Jack Yan
jackyan.com

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Done.

Solution: because Explorer will not show all the fonts in c:\windows\fonts, you won’t be able to view fonts that you’ve unlinked in the registry, and do anything with them. (Deleting their references in the registry does not delete the files, which leaves them open for Vivaldi, Edge and other Chromium browsers to access—pretty disrespectful, if you ask me!)

The key is then to use an alternative file manager. I had 7zip, which I opened as an administrator. I could go to the directory, see the fonts in there, and delete them. I simply had to close each process it identified as using the font (Keybase, Vivaldi, and Qt Qtwebengineprocess). 

Only took from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. but I have OCD.

Good thing is you don’t even need to go into Safe Mode to do any of this. I was surprised the fonts were accessible by admin, and I wonder if the property changes I made to the versions inside c:\windows\winsxs somehow changed the ones inside c:\windows\fonts (just as changing the registry keys for the fonts at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts are intercepted by WOW64 and redirected to the WOW6432node subkey).

PS.: Now posted in full detail here.

Jack Yan
jackyan.com

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Board admin, the above is the solution—please feel free to mark this closed.
Jack Yan
jackyan.com

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Last updated August 14, 2020 Views 108 Applies to: