2008-05-13

How To Install Fonts in Windows Without Administrator Power. [Windows Gyan]


The whole Internet, the forums, chat rooms, Google groups, blogs are filled with one question: How do I install this xyz.ttf font without having administrator privileges? There seems to be no answer.

Well, not any more.

When you try to install a font without having proper permissions to the C:\Windows\Fonts directory, this is the error message you get:



The SKETCHY.TTF file is currently being used and cannot be replaced.
Wait until Windows is finished using the file, and then try again.


This one is a classic among all the ambiguous and disorienting error messages that Windows throws in our way. It says that the file is in use, but if you get this error you can be pretty sure that it is a permission issue.

How to Install Fonts in Windows as a Normal User?

Windows have made it extremely difficult for normal users to install fonts. This is because the C:\Windows\Fonts where all the Fonts live peacefully is writable only by Administrator. Either the administrator need to give you write permission to this folder (which will not be that feasible in a corporate environment) or you will have to read along this post till the end.

A good guy called Tsukasa have cooked up a small command line utility which can add and remove fonts to your font cache. This addition is however temporary, which last only till the system is rebooted. Therefore this utility need to be run each time you start your system. Looks like lot of work? We'll help you make it a one time business.
  1. Download RegisterFonts utility from here.
  2. Unzip it to a suitable location. Say, D:\myutils.
  3. Download all the fonts (the .ttf files) that you want to install into this location.
  4. Right click on RegisterFont.exe and select Create Shortcut.
  5. Right click on this shortcut and select Properties. Append the string add font1.ttf font2.ttf to the Target field. Remember to replace font1, font2 etc with the name of the fonts that you have downloaded to this folder. In my case I have added two fonts Blazed.ttf and sketchy.ttf. My shortcut properties looks like:


  6. Drag this newly created (and edited) shortcut to Start Menu -> All Programs -> Startup folder, so that this gets executed each time the system is rebooted.


Once you run the shortcut, you can see that the fonts you added are available to you in all Windows applications like notepad and MS Word.

Graphic designers who experiment with a lot of fonts would also like to remove fonts at runtime. For this just take a command prompt, navigate to D:\myutils and run the command: RegisterFont.exe rem fontname.ttf.

Thanks Tsukasa | Download RegisterFont | Download Source