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Windows 7 fix: fonts on the blink

with 85 comments

Are you using Windows 7? Has everything suddenly turned italic and/or bold? Read on. (Otherwise, skip this. Really. You’ll be bored silly.)

This happened to me when I uninstalled a program. A system restore fixed things, but that wasn’t ideal because I hadn’t actually identified or fixed the problem. After it happened for a third time (triggered by uninstalling the exact same program, which makes little sense because it was something I’d added and shouldn’t have affected my fonts or system display) I finally figured out the issue and actually fixed it.

There’s a lot of advice online, some of it useful and some of it not. The most irritating, unhelpful tip is to go into your Firefox settings and reset the default font – hardly helpful if your entire operating system is rendering text incorrectly, not just Firefox. A lot of websites and help forums suggest that you need to download a registry fix or reinstall all your Windows fonts from an installation disc or flash drive. But the fix I found doesn’t require any extra files or programs.

All you need to do is reinstall your Windows fonts. To do this, you need to figure out where your fonts folder is – mine is at c:\Windows\Fonts. Don’t bother going to the actual folder – the Windows 7 interface won’t let you reinstall the fonts from there. Instead, what you need to do is hit the Windows icon (bottom left-hand corner of the screen or the Windows symbol button on your keyboard) and type in c:\Windows\Fonts\Arial.ttf (you may need to change part of that if your Fonts folder is in a different place).

A window will pop up for Arial OpenType with two buttons at the top: Print and Install. Hit Install. It may say: “The ‘Arial’ font is already installed, do you want to replace it?” This means it wasn’t missing in the first place (but you may as well reinstall it all the same). Or it may just do it, which means it was missing. This is what you’re trying to find and fix – the ones that are missing.

Repeat the process of hitting Windows, going to c:Windows\Fonts\[fontname].ttf and reinstalling for all the basic fonts – somewhere along the line you’ll discover one or more where the regular version was missing, leaving your operating system with only bold and italic versions of the font, which is why it will have been rendering your browser in random bold and italics. For example, if a webpage tells it to use Verdana, and it only has bold and italic versions of Verdana installed, those are the ones it’s going to use.

Windows has a list of font filenames but start with Arial.ttf, Georgia.ttf, Times.ttf and Verdana.ttf as they’re the most likely culprits – in my case the regular iterations of Arial, Georgia and Verdana had all gone walkies. I don’t know why, but at least I know how to fix it now. For Windows whizzes this explanation may seem patronising and pointless, but I spent a lot of time trying to find a simple fix online, so I thought the least I could do is post it for other people.

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85 Responses

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  1. brilliant advice. Just installed the arial, and the winamp program already is displaying the playlist like before. Thank you!

    Crok

    October 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm

  2. Yay – so glad if it’s helped!

    Anne

    October 20, 2010 at 8:17 pm

  3. Thanks for this great solution. It definately helped a lot. I only wish i had found this earlier :) .

    Ferdinand

    November 3, 2010 at 9:25 pm

  4. I am so happy that people are finding this and finding it helpful – it’s the whole reason I posted it! :)

    Anne

    November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm

  5. Anne,

    Thank you so much for posting this. I looked at so many other sites and tried so many other “fixes” and nothing worked. With your fix, I simply installed/re-installed the four possible culprit fonts and my system is as good as new (and since I just purchased it two days ago, I mean that almost literally!)

    I’m guessing my problem was caused by my uninstalling some program or another, since I uninstalled about 50 pieces of nonsense software that the computer came with. *shrugs* Either way, I’m just glad to not see everything in italics anymore!

    Thanks a ton for posting your TRUE fix. :-)

    Ryan

    November 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  6. well, i have troubles installing windows7 on my PC. maybe i need a bios update or something :`”

    LCD Screen Cleaner

    December 3, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  7. Thanks a bunch, spent for ever looking for a fix…I was missing the Arial, Verdana, Georgia regulars like you said…prob solved, As usual it turned out to be fairly simple, thank god I didn’t screw with my registry like others suggested.

    Pete

    December 14, 2010 at 3:59 am

  8. Thank you so much for posting this! Seeing all of that italics was driving me crazy. Problem solved!

    Trevorsaurus

    December 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm

  9. Spent an hour trying to resolve this issue and your advice has finally fixed the issue!…BTW it was the georgia font that was missing for me. Many thanks!!

    Paul

    January 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  10. brillant, solved my win7 italics problem. could’nt understand other “expert” fixes as not a techy, but your solution is simple & easy to understand, many thanks !

    Richard

    January 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  11. thanks for sharing this, worked like a charm! best solution i found online :)

    nyrix

    January 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

  12. Hey, whoever the kind person was who posted this fix, THANK YOU!

    Alex

    January 30, 2011 at 2:29 am

  13. No worries :)

    Anne

    January 30, 2011 at 10:56 pm

  14. Many thanks. Just wish I found this before spending an hour on all the other ‘fixes’

    Bikebear

    February 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  15. Perfect! It worked! Thank you so much.

    Jeanmarie

    February 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  16. You are a miracle worker. Amazing that even with Windows, this fix can be so simple. Many, many thanks.

    Writer 44

    February 10, 2011 at 5:22 am

  17. I thought I had solved it when I went to the fonts folder in regedit and modified the value data for the missing fonts, directing the font registry thing to the fonts folder, but when I restarted, the italics showed up again.

    But this solution is just perfect. Simple and easy to read and understand. And it worked instantly (unlike other supposed solutions that caused me great grief and I had to go through hours of system recovery)!

    It would appear that the bloatware or installed program redirects the font registry somewhere else and when uninstalled, damages the font registry.

    Jere

    February 23, 2011 at 6:33 am

  18. Update:

    It seems uninstalling the program and then modifying the registry and restarting the computer will eliminate the problem.

    Jere

    February 24, 2011 at 1:04 am

  19. Thanks for posting… worked well.

    Josh

    March 7, 2011 at 4:06 am

  20. Anne, WAY TO GO!! I have PDFed this page to save it in case my computer decides to think for itself again.

    Brian

    March 30, 2011 at 4:26 am

  21. This is the EXACT fix I needed! After searching & searching, trying to figure out an issue w/ Java running, it was indeed the missing Arial font. Thank you SO much for posting!

    Bridget

    April 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

  22. You are all so totally welcome :) I’m delighted other people are finding this helpful

    Anne

    April 17, 2011 at 9:08 pm

  23. THANK-YOU! This was driving me insane… Segoe UI somehow uninstalled itself…

    Max

    April 21, 2011 at 6:17 am

  24. Thank You ^_^

    gyth

    May 11, 2011 at 12:06 am

  25. hola…. hace un monton q tengo este problema la verdad que veo que muchos lo solucionaron con tu ayuda pero la verdad yo hago lo uqe decis pero cuando tipeo c windows…. me dice q no encuentra! si tenes alguna solucion te lo agradeceria

    cristian

    May 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

  26. Re-installing Arial.ttf did the trick to remove the bold blocky test from IE and Firefox. Thanks

    Kent_Diego

    June 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm

  27. Anne, thank you. Your solution worked perfectly!! It is refreshing to know there are people that can communicate as well as you do. Kudos.

    Carl

    July 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

  28. THHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNKKKK YOOOUUUUU!!!!!!!!

    I was going crazy with my fonts bold!!

    Gonna spread the word in Microsoft foruns :evil:
    :)

    TopPlus

    July 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

  29. Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

    S

    July 24, 2011 at 2:31 am

  30. Your the man – It was pissing me off

    bernie zarsof

    July 27, 2011 at 1:42 am

  31. Awesome! Thank you! This was the problem!!!

    Shrinking Me

    July 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm

  32. How about for Windows Vista?

    Mia

    August 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

  33. Worked great for me as well – this problem didn’t prevent me from reading text in IE, yet it was more annoying than you can imagine! A constant reminder that I had a problem that needed to be fixed! Thanks so much for helping me solve the problem!

    Tony

    August 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm

  34. I was indeed missing Arial, Georgia and Times. I’m not sure about Verdana. I have (in the windows\fonts folder) files for verdana bold and italic, but not for the regular one. However, when i try to open C:\Windows\Fonts\Verdana.ttf, it complains that it is not a valid font file. Is my file corrupted or something? If so, how do i repair it?

    Han

    August 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

  35. TY so MUCH!

    Able

    September 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm

  36. All your fonts (Arial, Courier, Times, Verdana) didn’t do it for me.
    Then I re-opened Ms Word and saw it’s Tahoma text that’s going bold.
    Tried Tahoma. What can I say??
    You’re the Man!

    ANOTHER way to install:
    Go to your Control Panel, then click on Fonts. Drag the “Times New Roman” or “Courier New” icon (take your pick) onto your desktop, then drag it back onto your Control Panel Fonts window.
    It will ask you if you want to reinstall the Font click “Yes To All”.
    Got that from: http://en.kioskea.net/faq/14436-windows-7-font-suddenly-changed-to-bold-and-italic

    Sam

    September 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm

  37. This is freaking perfect!!! Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out from all the forums and advice how to fix this and nothing else worked! You are awesome!!

    Lisa

    September 6, 2011 at 2:45 am

  38. YES! Finally! For me it was Tahoma, but I got there. This has been bothering me for weeks. Didn’t have bold or italicized, just a really basic simplified system font showing up in programs like iTunes and others on Windows 7. Thanks everyone!

    Dan

    September 10, 2011 at 3:40 am

  39. Anne, Thanks so much for your advise. This is the best way to fix the problem after searching pointless articles on the net.

    Richard

    September 24, 2011 at 2:57 am

  40. That worked! Thanks!

    KatC

    October 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm

  41. Hi, I spent probably 40 hours trying to solve this issue including re-installing a lot of SW.

    This fixed stuff in less than 30s.

    PERFECT!

    Tom

    October 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

  42. I’m missing my Segoe UI regular, but it’s not in the windows/fonts/ folder. how can i get the .ttf file?

    diane

    November 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

  43. You can copy all fonts from other windows7 computer and Paste in to your windows\fonts folder.

    Sam

    November 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm

  44. UMM… every time i go to type the file into the search it always says windows cannot find it. No matter how hard and the different combinations I try it never finds any of them. How can I fix that?

    Jeff

    December 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  45. Update- The only way I can access that way is to go the the file locations and actually click on the font, it will not let me install any from what I see, but the arial.tff file says that it is not there, but it will go to the file location for c:\Windows\Fonts\Arial Black.tff.. but it does not have the option for installing that one either. I am confused. Is it that the file is not even there? It shows that it is.

    Jeff

    December 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  46. Finally fixed it. I had to go into C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-font-truetype-andalus_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_f2bdcb47256719ac and copy the files from there into C:\Windows\Fonts .. It prompted to install them and so I did. I did this with all of the fonts from there on, and I noticed that the C:\Windows\Fonts\Arialblk.tff was not there. In the C:\Windows\Fonts\Arial, There were five different .tff files. in the C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-font-truetype-arial_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7601.17514_none_748ada1b0b9d2cf7, there was only four. I figured out that the arial black was missing according to the fonts that were listed. So I just dragged it out to the desktop and then back into the the folder C:\Windows\Fonts\Arial and it installed it. However, it did not fix it right away because I had it still pasted on the desktop. I continued through the whole process of copying and pasting the fonts between the two folders. It was finally fixed when I deleted the .tff off of the desktop. I used a boring and tiresome method combined from different sites. I have 32 bit windows 7 so if you have 64 bit i think the file begins with amd64 or something like that in the C:\Windows\winxs by the way. I did not uninstall any program to get the italics this way. I was simply playing League of Legends, then exited out of it then Google Chrome and I noticed it. Google Chrome NEVER was italicized so IDK what happened. It was very agitating, but thanks for the site because most sites do not mention italicization outside of internet browsers.

    Jeff

    December 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  47. Thank you very much for posting this. The italics problem was driving me nuts.

    Brian Keaney

    December 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

  48. Thank you. Helped a client see their reports again successfully by just reinstalling the Arial font. Good job!.

    Saravanan

    January 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

  49. Windows Fonts restored! Nothing new to add, just grateful to you Anne, as others have said, brilliant, solved my win7 italics problem, your solution is simple & easy to understand, many thanks !

    Roger

    January 17, 2012 at 3:00 am

  50. Thanks for this, it had been driving me nuts for months!

    Though it would be helpful if you corrected the typo in your instructions you’ve forgotten the ‘s’ of of fonts!

    Craig

    January 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm

  51. Thanks for pointing out the typo. Though you might want to check your own spelling when pointing out other people’s mistakes ;)

    Anne

    January 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

  52. Hi. Thanks for the information, i had a similar issue today with fonts gone missing for some reason.
    There’s another way that worked for me and may help you in the future.
    Windows should know and does know it’s own files that come from a legal distribution. The most widely used command to check for system files is System File Checker. If you run “sfc /scannow” you tell windows to verify system files for certified validity and if it finds system files that are either not certified (malware/malicious files replaced the real ones for example) or files that are missing (like fonts and DLL files) it will replace them with the original files. For Windows 7, this means fonts like Segoe UI and the likes get put back. Cheers

    Michael

    January 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

  53. Thank You! You saved me hours of frustration, much appreciated!

    Freddie Mercury

    January 30, 2012 at 3:18 am

  54. Thankyou for your help!

    Sean

    January 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  55. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. Sadly, the easy solution of trying out the major fonts didn’t work in my case, but as mentioned before, it did help in figuring out the problem. In my case, after the major fonts failed, I simply copied the *entire* contents of c:\windows\fonts and moved them to a new folder c:\fonts. Then I selected all the fonts in the new folder c:\fonts and chose “install” by selecting all the files and right clicking on them. Once Windows finished installing the fonts, the issue was fixed (you shouldn’t have to restart your pc as the changes should take effect right away).

    But I couldn’t have done without the suggestions pointed out in your article, so thank you!

    John

    February 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

  56. Thank you so much for being the only GOOD advice on the internet!! Have a great day, and smile because you really made a lot of people’s day!! ~Roxy Kugler

    roxy

    February 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

  57. This issue has been baffling me for months and stopping me from using IE9. Tried installing it on 3 or 4 occasions hoping that MS would have addressed the issue but to no avail and so had to unistall back to IE8. Thank You Anne for providing a very simple fix to this infuriating issue.

    Mark

    March 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  58. Finally!! I’ve been looking for solutions in the internet for some times. My font become italicized and I’m looking for solutions. most of the solutions posted in the internet are not working until I finally fount this post. This is post is very very effective and work in my pc.

    Thank you very very much!!!

    Jonathan

    March 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  59. freakin’ useful,seriously!

    dankan

    March 22, 2012 at 7:10 am

  60. Tried the method John mentioned, Copy entire contents of fonts to another location Then select all fonts right click and install. Worked like magic, Would not have found this out without this article, Both of you(Anne and John) a BIG thanks!

    Shane-o (@ozesniper)

    March 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

  61. dude. thank u. this has been driving me CRAZY for weeks!

    O dot J dot (@OdotJdot)

    April 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  62. I’m having the same issue of bold fonts in IE9. I opened the Arial font and see the Print and Install options but Install is greyed-out. How do I reinstall the Arial font?

    thegamerfour

    April 13, 2012 at 1:07 am

  63. I just realized that I took so long to reach this post.

    Finally a clean solution as I wanted !

    Thanks a lot dude !

    patelviral

    April 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

  64. Brilliant article, been having this for a couple of days now, unsure whether updating nVidia drivers or MS Silverlight was the trigger but had to be one of those two. Re-installed Arial, said it was already there but hit reinstall anyway and poof! Refreshed by browser and all back to normal. Cheers man!

    Chakka

    April 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

  65. thank you so much!!! Finally fixed the problem with my fonts after uninstalling L4D

    Candice Tan

    May 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

  66. Thank you sooo much!!! :D

    Kuverti

    May 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

  67. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!! At last! I found a solution that actually works! God bless you man!

    Junior

    June 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

  68. Thanks a ton. This worked perfectly!

    Tim

    June 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm

  69. I looked elsewhere on the net, but this was the real answer, I was only missing a few fonts, but this solution did the trick. Thank you thank you thank you.

    R Beard

    June 17, 2012 at 1:32 am

  70. Same fix but easier:
    Search for *.ttf in \windows\winsxs and subfolders.
    Select all Fonts (preferably by sorting by type) and drag them into the Fonts window in the control panel.

    Rentz

    June 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

  71. I’m having a problem: I did this and it fixed it all last night, but then whenever I want to post something on Tumblr, it’s in italics. When I then actually POST it, it’s normal font… Another problem is my college website is ALL ITALICS on the MAIN website. Emailing is normal text.

    Seriously? I’m getting so sick of this… Any help?

    Nicole P

    June 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

  72. Oh my god, I love you so much! You have no idea how much this has helped me! Thank you!

    TheTundraTerror

    July 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

  73. Thanks heaps!

    Tony

    August 12, 2012 at 4:10 am

  74. Thank you so much!!!this was the only thing that worked. I wish Ihad found it before I tried all the other advice

    Brigitte

    August 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

  75. Thanks mate!
    The advice you gave worked just fine!

    Thomas

    November 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

  76. I went through dozens of solution none worked except yours.. thank you!

    ron

    December 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  77. Thank you! I wasted a lot of time today looking for a solution to the font problem. Wasn’t a big deal when it affected the text in NYT headline email and news stories. But when I couldn’t open my Neat scanner application because of “missing or corrupted Arial and Verdana fonts” I was prodded into action. Incredibly, neither Microsoft nor HP (for my computer) had a solution. Can’t even download the freakin’ fonts from them. But your simple solution did the trick. Magic, Dude! Thank you!

    Jim

    January 6, 2013 at 5:18 am

  78. I am SOOOOOOO happy to have found this step-by-step solution to this VERY annoying problem! Thanks so much!

    Deacon

    January 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  79. I have MacBook and I deleted all my arial fonts and reinstall it… restart my computer…bam! it work. I tried different steps from other forums didn’t work but this one did, thanks for sharing..

    kmc

    February 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  80. You are a life saver!

    Thank you!

    G D

    February 16, 2013 at 5:32 am

  81. Here’s one more kudo. I’d been wrestling with bold italics displays of some websites off and on for several days following all sorts of bad advice on the net. Problems solved in 5 minutes once I followed this advice and reinstalled the 4 fonts.

    Shiraz Sun

    February 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm

  82. One way to “doublecheck” that the fonts you just installed are now truly available in your browser (versus just in MS Word, Excel, etc., which programs somehow internally still allow the missing fonts to be used in those programs if you specifically select them), is to open up WordPad under Windows Menu, Accessories. WordPad’s list of available fonts seems to be the same ones IE has access to, and it specifically EXCLUDES “hidden fonts” (fonts grayed out in C:\windows\fonts which, BTW, you can select and click “show”) and fonts that are seemingly not installed or not functioning right in your Browser and other programs, even though they may be just FINE in MS Word! I got this from this post: http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2010/10/14/honoring-hidden-fonts.aspx which was a little over my head, but which helped with the WordPad example.

    My Arial fonts went whacky when I messed around with themes and with “Windows colors and metrics” where I changed the fonts and sizes for windows titles, palette titles, icons, etc., then had difficulty going back to the default settings. I ended up having to toggle on the “ignore font styles” and “ignore font sizes” under IE Tools-Internet Options-General-Accessibility tab in order to get rid of the BOLD letters on everything in IE. When I pulled up a Word or Excel file, the document or spreadsheet was messed up, but I could select the text or numbers and “reapply” the correct version of the Arial font — so I didn’t realize at first that the Arial font was only missing from SOME programs (like the browser). What finally led me to the correct conclusion was when I went here to check: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/fonts/family.aspx?FID=8 and the Arial font family was producing non-English characters in all Arial font versions except Arial Black! Then I found this post — Anne, you’re a superhero! Keep in mind, folks, that after your “fix,” you’ll probably have to close and reopen the programs in order for them to figure out that the fonts are available once again.

    NoCouth

    March 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

  83. Thank you! I’ve been struggling with this for weeks and this is the first solution that worked!

    Cosmos

    March 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  84. Thank you so very much, have been trying to fix this for hours, tried many things to no avail, but this worked, you are an angel :)

    Maisy

    April 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

  85. Thank you! Surprisingly, this was the quick and simple solution needed. Very weird, seeing the arial.ttf file there properly, identical to the TTF of a working Win7 install, and yet the normal Arial font would not show up anywhere (and thus programs would default to the next selection – bold or italic). I knew it had to be something with the basic Arial font. Who knew that the font just needed to be re-installed, even though the file hadn’t moved or been altered.
    Thanks for the info!


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