[Tool] FontReg 2.1.3 - Font install and registration repair

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code65536
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[Tool] FontReg 2.1.3 - Font install and registration repair

Post by code65536 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:07 pm

Synopsis
This tool serves two purposes:
  • Install fonts. Can be used as a replacement for the outdated fontinst.exe tool.
  • Repair any inconsistencies in the Windows font registration. Can be run during setup or post-setup as a standalone application.
Font Installation
Until now, the standard way to install fonts has been to use the fontinst.exe tool from Microsoft. Unfortunately, fontinst.exe was last updated in 1998 and is outdated.

Advantages of FontReg.exe over fontinst.exe:
  • Support for OTF files
  • Smaller executable size
  • No need for a fontinst.inf file
  • Proper handling of TTC names
  • Open source
Font Registration Repair
There can sometimes be inconsistencies between the Windows font registration and what is actually present in %SystemRoot%\Fonts. This may be the result of a botched/incomplete font install or removal, or it may be the result of an oversight in Windows setup (as is the case with Lucida Sans).

Normally, these inconsistencies can be resolved by simply opening the Fonts folder via Control Panel; Windows will then correct any inconsistencies that it finds. But that's tedious if you have multiple installs, and most users will never think to open the Fonts folder.

This is where FontReg comes in. It will silently fix any inconsistencies in the registration so you can take care of this problem during setup.

So who needs font registration repair? Everyone. Well, every XP user, at least; I haven't checked 2K, 2K3, or Vista yet, though I won't be surprised there are problems there as well. A vanilla unmodified XP installation will contain a number of font registration inconsistencies after setup. You can verify this by observing the changes made to the registry when you open up the Fonts folder in Control Panel for the very first time.


Getting FontReg
The latest version of FontReg is available here.

It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit (amd64) flavors. The source code is included. I have personally tested this only on XPSP3, although it should work for any version of Windows (Win2K or newer). If you do encounter a problem (esp. if it's a system that I hadn't tested), please let me know!


Usage - Font Installation
If you want to use FontReg.exe as a font installation replacement for fontinst.exe, simply run FontReg.exe with the /copy or /move switch. FontReg will install all .fon, .ttf, .ttc, and .otf files located in the current directory (which may or may not be the directory of the FontReg.exe file--you should be okay if you are installing fonts from a switchless installer, which is probably the most common use case for font installs). Unlike fontinst.exe, there is no need for an .inf file listing the fonts to install.

Use the /copy switch to copy the fonts to the Fonts folder (similar to fontinst.exe behavior), and use the /move switch to move the fonts to the Fonts folder. /move is much faster than copy (if the source location is on the same partition as the Fonts folder), so if you don't care about preserving a copy of the fonts in the source location (which would be the case if you are using FontReg in a switchless installer), then you'll probably want to use the faster /move.

If you run FontReg with the /copy or /move install switch, FontReg will also perform a scan of the font registration and repair any consistencies.

Fonts installed by FontReg are available for use by other applications immediately after install.

To make a switchless font installation pack, you can refer to this tutorial. (Although the tutorial is for WinRAR, you can do this with 7-Zip as well--in fact, I personally prefer 7-Zip. There are various resources on making 7-Zip sfx packages on this forum.)


Usage - Font Repair
Just run FontReg.exe without any command line switches to repair any inconsistencies in the font registration. If you already ran FontReg with the /copy or /move switch to install fonts, there is no need to run FontReg again for registration repair since FontReg already did a registration repair right after the install operation.

To make a font registration repair a standard part of Windows setup, you have these options:
Option 1: Add FontReg.exe to SetupHotfixesToRun (svcpack.inf) (you can add FontReg as a "switchless installer" with the Integrator or nLite)
Option 2: Add FontReg.exe to cmdlines.txt
Option 3: Add FontReg.exe to SetupParams
Option 4: Add FontReg.exe to RunOnce/RunOnceEx through GuiRunOnce or other means


Miscellanea
And yes, you can use FontReg to "complete" manual font installations (i.e., if you manually copied the fonts to the Fonts folder, you still can use FontReg as a way to register them).
Last edited by code65536 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:40 pm, edited 25 times in total.
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Post by ricktendo64 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:13 pm

Dude thank you, this will make it into my UpdatePack for sure.

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Post by crashfly » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:14 pm

Thanks code65536. I can see where this would help me.

However, what I would like to know is if this tool will actually help get fonts registered that *just* get copied to the font folder. For instance if I used the $OEM$\$$\Fonts on my install CD, will those fonts get registered if I use this tool?

(Just looking for easier ways to get stuff done.)
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Post by code65536 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:43 pm

crashfly wrote:However, what I would like to know is if this tool will actually help get fonts registered that *just* get copied to the font folder. For instance if I used the $OEM$\$$\Fonts on my install CD, will those fonts get registered if I use this tool?
Yes.
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Post by ricktendo64 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:41 pm

Tested on XP Spanish SP3 run @ T-13, took a snapshot before and after I opened the fonts folder and ZERO fonts were added/removed

Great job code

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Post by RogueSpear » Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:50 pm

This is probably the fourth time you've brought to my attention I problem I didn't know I had to begin with. It makes me wonder just how many other "unknown unknowns" lurk among my installs :?

Thank you for yet another helpful fix.

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Post by crashfly » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:07 am

You know, now that I think about it, I believe this tool could be *very* useful in making a simple addon that copies fonts to the fonts folder and then use the tool to automatically have those fonts registered.

Hmmm ... I have so many possibilities with that .... :D
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Post by code65536 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:00 pm

New version posted: v1.1

It turns out that borrowing circa-1995 code from Microsoft's fontinst wasn't such a great idea. The source code that Microsoft posted has trouble handling some newer fonts (such as TTC fonts and fonts such as Segoe UI that lack a legacy name entry). But since it worked for most fonts, this was a problem that didn't appear on my radar until I ran a more comprehensive set of tests. Anyway, I rewrote much of the old font parsing code for version 1.1, and this should fix all outstanding issues. I strongly suggest that existing users upgrade from 1.0 to 1.1.


(Offtopic: The version of Microsoft's fontinst.exe that many people use to install fonts is from 1998, and it's newer than the 1995 version; unfortunately, Microsoft only posted the source code for the 1995 version, not the 1998 version. The 1998 version does a better job of handling names than the 1995 version, so people who use fontinst.exe to install fonts can continue doing that. However, the 1998 version isn't perfect, and it can sometimes be a bit off with the names of TTC fonts; for example, if cambria.ttc was installed using either FontFix or the Control Panel, its full name, "Cambria & Cambria Math", would appear in the registry, whereas if fontinst.exe was used to install it, it would just be "Cambria".)
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Post by RyanVM » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:50 am

Nice tool, thanks.
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Post by ENU_user » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:38 am

windows is running smoother after using this tool (much smoother)
in away it resembles how windows runs after deleting dead links or dead registry entries .etc

but will a reg cleaner detect the entries to be removed as this tool will

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Post by code65536 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:27 pm

ENU_user wrote:windows is running smoother after using this tool (much smoother)
Placebo effect? Having some dead font entries in the registry should not affect performance significantly (or at all); it just means that there will be a few extra failed AddFontResource calls when the system boots up; nothing that will really slow things down.
but will a reg cleaner detect the entries to be removed as this tool will
That will depend on the registry cleaner. But probably not.
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Post by ricktendo64 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:16 pm

I can confirm CCleaner reg scan will fix missing fonts

FontFix is working flawlessly for correcting missing reg entries of fonts that are present in FonDir...however not all the ones that nLite removes are deleted but IMO this is not important

Even if I run it after 1st login it does not delete the missing font entries

Edit: code I am noticing a pattern here, I add some dummy fonts into the registry for removal testing and I notice that no matter what your tool only removes half of the dupe reg entries i add
Here is my add reg for testing:

Code: Select all

[Version]
Signature="$Windows NT$"
[DefaultInstall]
AddReg=Dummy.AddReg
[Dummy.AddReg]
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 1 (TrueType)",,"test1.TTF"
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 2 (TrueType)",,"test2.TTF"
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 3 (TrueType)",,"test3.TTF"
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 4 (TrueType)",,"test4.TTF"
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 5 (TrueType)",,"test5.TTF"
HKLM,"SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts","Test 6 (TrueType)",,"test6.TTF"
Add more fonts to it like Test 7, 8, etc and you will see what I mean...it only deletes every other dupe font entry.
Like 1 3 and 5 (odd numbers) deleted but 2, 4 and 6 (even numbers) not deleted

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Post by code65536 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:11 pm

Ooh, good catch! Fixed in v1.2.

The problem was that when a value is deleted, it affects the enumeration indexing of the values in that key. For example, after deleting index 47, I would then check index 48, but by deleting index 47, the value indexes are no longer the same, and when I check index 48, I'm actually checking index 49, which is why every other value was skipped. Fortunately, it's a very simple 1-line fix: I just needed to reset the enumeration index when I delete a value.
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Post by ricktendo64 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:47 pm

w00t I cant believe I caught that

ty code65536, FLAWLESS! VICTORY!

BTW works in Vista too

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Post by OuTman » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:02 am

Hi code65536,

If I install a font with a batch like this:
COPY CALIBRI.TTF "%WinDir%\Fonts"
REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts" /v "Calibri (TrueType)" /t REG_SZ /d CALIBRI.TTF
... I need to restart the computer to use the font. Is it possible to enhance the batch to make the font useable immediately, without using external tools (like FontFix :wink:) ?

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Post by code65536 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:23 am

@OuTman

Yes, FontFix can do that. ;) Just run it once after you are done copying.

Code: Select all

COPY FONT1.TTF "%WinDir%\Fonts"
COPY FONT2.TTF "%WinDir%\Fonts"
COPY FONT3.TTF "%WinDir%\Fonts"
COPY FONT4.TTF "%WinDir%\Fonts"
FontFix.exe
And the fonts will be immediately usable.

Technical note: A font can be used by Windows once it has been registered with AddFontResource. Once registered, the font can be used by any application until you remove it with RemoveFontResource or until you shut down Windows. This means that if you want a font to always be usable across reboots, you need to call AddFontResource for that font every time you start up Windows. And that's what the registry entries are for: "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts" simply lists the fonts that Windows will automatically call AddFontResource for whenever it starts up. That's really all that they do (okay, and they supply information to Control Panel, but that's not important). Some fonts, like Marlett, are not listed in the registry because they are needed for the system to function (Marlett is used to draw the widgets in Windows, like scroll arrows, etc.) and will always be AddFontResource'd at boot-up regardless of whether they are present in the registry's list of auto-AddFontResource fonts. This is why just adding a registry entry won't do you any good until you reboot since the registry just controls the bootup registrations--you must also call AddFontResource if you want the font to be usable now. Which FontFix does. :)
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Post by OuTman » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:37 am

OuTman wrote:without using external tools (like FontFix) ?
... so the answer is no! :wink: thank you for the very good explanation

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Post by code65536 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:28 pm

OuTman wrote:
OuTman wrote:without
Oops. :P Yea, you're pretty much out of luck since there's no way AddFontResource could be called from a command script without some helper app.
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Post by elrico » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:21 pm

Hi, sweet tool ;)

Can'i use it in my next updatepack (french) please?

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Post by code65536 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:32 pm

elrico wrote:Can'i use it in my next updatepack (french) please?
Sure. There's no need to ask me for permission to use/re-use/adapt anything that I post...
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Post by OuTman » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:09 pm

hi,

what are the news of 1.2.1 (silently released :lol:) over 1.2 ?

cheers

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Post by code65536 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:11 pm

OuTman wrote:1.2.1 (silently released)
When I choose to release something silently, there is usually a good reason for it to be silent. ;) The only changes are the addition of version info to the executable and some minor optimizations to the code. No new features. No bugfixes. Just a (very) minor revision.

I did a silent (as in, no significant changes) rebuild of all of my utilities (mostly to add 64-bit binaries), and FontFix was just a part of this larger refresh.
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Post by code65536 » Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:18 pm

1.3.0 adds support for registering .otf files (PostScript OpenType fonts).

BTW, Microsoft's fontinst.exe utility is too old (1998) and thus does not support installing OTF files, so you can use FontFix to install those fonts instead.
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Post by lespea » Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:05 pm

Amazing!!!!

Thank you so much for this update... this tool is now perfect!

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Post by code65536 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:50 pm

Major update: version 2.0.0
  • Added font installation support (this tool can now act as a replacement for the outdated fontinst.exe)
  • Renamed from FontFix to FontReg
  • Please read the updated documentation in the first post and in the readme.txt included in the package.
After version 1.3.0, I figured that since FontFix was already doing most of what needed to be done to install fonts, I might as well take things one small step further and add proper installation support (and by "small step", I mean I probably spent more time with the documentation in this thread and the readme than I spent actually making v2 :P).
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Post by newsposter » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:23 pm

nice..... can you post a write up on how to build switchless installers and addons for fonts?

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Post by code65536 » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:35 pm

newsposter wrote:can you post a write up on how to build switchless installers and addons for fonts?
There is already a tutorial for using fontinst in a switchless font installer on this forum, and the instructions for using FontReg are not very different from the instructions for using fontinst. For details, see my post here.
Last edited by code65536 on Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by lespea » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:33 pm

I guess you made me lie before... now it's perfect?

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Post by code65536 » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:50 pm

*sigh* I was wrong: When using FontReg during Windows Setup, the stage during which it is run did matter.

Some of the fonts that Windows installs in the Fonts directory are not supposed to be registered. With the sole exception of marlett.ttf, all of these not-supposed-to-be-registered fonts are .fon fonts (though not all .fon fonts fall into this category). Windows marks which fonts should not be registered by setting the hidden file attribute on them. This is how the Windows Fonts Control Panel knows which fonts it should not register, and similarly, this is how FontFix/FontReg knows which fonts it should not register.

It turns out that during the SVCPACK stage of Windows setup, these hidden attributes have not yet been set, so as a result, if you were to somehow open the Fonts Control Panel during or before this stage, or if you were to run FontReg (or FontFix) during this stage, then every font will get registered, even those whose registrations should have been skipped. Fortunately, this is not a very serious problem since the worst that comes out of this is that the wrong variant of Terminal or Fixedsys is used, and very few applications these days use these legacy fonts (running Notepad2 in NFO mode was how I noticed). But it is still a problem.

The reason I never caught this problem until now even though FontFix/FontReg has been out for several weeks is that I ran FontReg during the cmdlines.txt stage of Windows Setup, and that stage of setup is okay (this is a bit surprising, since the cmdlines.txt stage starts literally just a few seconds after the completion of the SVCPACK stage, and very little happens between SVCPACK and cmdlines.txt). So apparently, the hidden attributes for fonts are set at some point between the SVCPACK and cmdlines.txt stages.

To address this problem, FontReg 2.0.1 will check the Windows Fonts folder to see if the hidden attributes have been set. If they have been, then it will operate normally as before. If they haven't been, then it will play it safe and not register .fon fonts. This change only affects FontReg's missing-registration repair feature; all other features, including .fon font installations, will still work normally as before in 2.0.1, regardless of the state of the Windows Font folder.

So in a nutshell:
  • I strongly recommend that existing users of FontReg (or FontFix) update to 2.0.1.
  • If you are using FontReg 2.0.0 or older, you should not use it during SVCPACK (any stage of setup after SVCPACK or on a live post-setup system is okay)
  • If you are using FontReg 2.0.1 or newer, you can run it at any point in time, but if FontReg detects that the fonts folder has not yet been fully initialized, then missing-registration repair will be disabled for .fon fonts, though everything else will still work normally.
Sorry for the trouble...
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Post by crashfly » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:30 pm

I am impressed. The fact that you have noticed a problem with how windows sets up the fonts is quite an impressive feat. You are a programmer that does great things with small amounts of code.

Thank you for the update and I appreciate all of the tools you put out. Thanks again.
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Post by Sm0ker » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:45 pm

Thanks for this wonderfull tool code65536

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Post by RogueSpear » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:26 pm

I implemented my cmdlines.vbs script, which as it implies is executed from cmdlines.txt, to handle FontReg.exe. The reason I had originally went with that route was in case someone were to install an application from svcpack that introduces new fonts into the system. Looks like there's a better reason now.

Excellent work.

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Post by ricktendo64 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:44 pm

Thanks code, question has anybody ever had problems with .fon fonts not being registered or vice versa?

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Post by code65536 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:59 pm

ricktendo64 wrote:has anybody ever had problems with .fon fonts not being registered
With the en-US edition of XP Pro, "MS-DOS CP 437" (DOS-US code page) and "MS-DOS CP 949" (Korean code page) are the only two .fon fonts that are not registered (as in, if you open the Fonts Control Panel after a fresh install, these two fonts will be registered for the first time). FontReg will register these two fonts if it's ran after SVCPACK, but not during. I don't know about other Windows editions or locales. I also don't know of any place where these two fonts are actually used; all the apps that I know of that display legacy text, such as NFO viewers and the command prompt, all use Terminal and not the "MS-DOS CP" fonts, so this is mostly a moot point. Getting stuff like Lucida registered is more important, and TTF fonts like that were never affected by the hidden attribute problem.
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Post by marzsyndrome » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:32 pm

I notice the program's been updated today, but the version number hasn't changed. So what's the difference this time?

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Post by code65536 » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:00 pm

marzsyndrome wrote:I notice the program's been updated today, but the version number hasn't changed. So what's the difference this time?
As I said earlier in this thread:
When I choose to release something silently, there is usually a good reason for it to be silent.
The changes in versions 2.0.1.2 and 2.0.1.3 (you can see the full 4-part version number if you check the executable's version info fields in Explorer or if you check version.h in the source code) were just minor adjustments to the build process (for example, the executable's version info now indicates which architecture--x86 or x64--that it was built for). No bug fixes. No feature changes. No changes in behavior. Nothing to warrant any attention, hence the silent release.
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Post by RogueSpear » Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:06 am

I'm pretty sure they're going to keep asking anyway. It's like a game of "I Spy" or something.

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Post by Cipherfx2 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:30 pm

how can make this into switchless installer...
can anybody give me instruction as howto...

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Post by ricktendo64 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:40 pm

Just make a sfx with 7zip or winrar by zipping fontreg.exe along with all the fonts you want installed, then have it execute fontreg /move or /copy and thats pretty much it...it will install all the fonts automatically in the same dir as it

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Post by Cipherfx2 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:11 am

ahhh, got it, thanks rick :D

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Post by mr_smartepants » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:06 am

Code65536 was kind enough to provide well-documented instructions for it's use in the first post. ;)
Use the /copy switch to copy the fonts to the Fonts folder (similar to fontinst.exe behavior), and use the /move switch to move the fonts to the Fonts folder. /move is much faster than copy (if the source location is on the same partition as the Fonts folder), so if you don't care about preserving a copy of the fonts in the source location (which would be the case if you are using FontReg in a switchless installer), then you'll probably want to use the faster /move.

If you run FontReg with the /copy or /move install switch, FontReg will also perform a scan of the font registration and repair any consistencies.
Thank you for this Code65536! I'll be using this to rebuild my addons into sfx installers using your method...very tidy!
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Kiki Burgh
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Post by Kiki Burgh » Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:43 am

thanks code! :lol:
-KIKI-

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Oron123
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Post by Oron123 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:29 pm

Thank you. :)
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They aren't aware of what they say/write and will drag you down to their level.
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MrNxDmX
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Post by MrNxDmX » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:40 pm

I've added this cool app in my latest turkish update pack, it runs perfect on turkish xp's. Thanks a bunch for this handy tool ;)

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Kelsenellenelvian
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Post by Kelsenellenelvian » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:04 am

I finally got off my lazy ass and tried this out.

Code, I must say you have simply done a WONDERFULL job with this!

Thanks.

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ricktendo64
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Post by ricktendo64 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:42 pm

Hey code would it be possible to do /delete?

Code: Select all

fontreg /delete "fontfilename.ttf"
or

Code: Select all

fontreg /delete "Real Font Name" ;with and/or without (TrueType)

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crocodilechris
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Post by crocodilechris » Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:06 pm

code65536 wrote:Major update: version 2.0.0
  • Added font installation support (this tool can now act as a replacement for the outdated fontinst.exe)
Just to be sure:
I can rename FontReg.exe to FontInst.exe and replace fontinst.exe on CD with this file and don't have to do more than this?
greetz crocodilechris
using nLite

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code65536
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Post by code65536 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:00 pm

crocodilechris wrote:Just to be sure:
I can rename FontReg.exe to FontInst.exe and replace fontinst.exe on CD with this file and don't have to do more than this?
See the "Usage - Font Installation" section of the first post; the way you use FontReg.exe for installations differs from how you use fontinst.exe.
My addons: CmdOpen - HashCheck - Notepad2 - MS Runtimes - DirectX

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Knowone
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Post by Knowone » Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:30 am

Wow.

I've always just put my bunch of fonts directly into the fonts folder via \$OEM$\$$\Fonts without thinking any more of it. Shame to say, I've never really checked if these ever got installed correctly.

Sorry for the spoon feed mode, but: If I understand this right, this will work fine as long as the FontReg.exe file is run some time somewhere during the rest of the set-up process, and all will be good? In that case, or in any case really, an effing brilliant little piece of work, mate. :D
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code65536
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Post by code65536 » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:54 am

Knowone wrote:somewhere during the rest of the set-up process
If by "rest of", you mean "after the fonts have been copied", then yes.
My addons: CmdOpen - HashCheck - Notepad2 - MS Runtimes - DirectX

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