How to Restore Default Fonts in Windows 10 and 11?

 If you accidentally deleted or replaced one or more system fonts in Windows, you can try to restore the default fonts. The issue of missing fonts can appear as follows: in system dialog boxes (and some other windows) instead of normal characters, you can see strange or unreadable symbols. In our example, these are hieroglyphs and squares. This problem can occur after a third-party app is uninstalled, which also deleted several system default font files (up to complete cleaning the font files folder C:\Windows\Fonts). Also, the problem with fonts can occur when a certain program replaces one of the default fonts with its own one during installation.

In this article, we’ll discuss ways to restore corrupted system fonts in Windows 10 and Windows 11 to a clean system state.

How to Restore Default System Font Settings in Windows?

Firstly, you should try to restore the default fonts in Windows 10 or 11 using the built-in feature. To do it:

  1. Go to the  Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Fonts. This Control Panel item can be opened by running the command: control fonts
  2. Select Font settings in the left pane;

  3. In the next window click the Restore default font settings button.  

This option allows you to remove all third-party fonts, leaving only the standard Windows fonts. However, if the desired font file (*.fon or *.ttf) was deleted or replaced, the reset feature won’t help.

The Segoe UI font family is used by default in Windows to display the system interface. Make sure it is in the font list in Control Panel.

To restore the needed font, you can copy the specific font file from the Windows distribution (or from another computer), or download and install the font file manually or through the GPO  (note that Windows 10 has a feature that blocks the installation of third-party fonts, which may prevent new fonts from being installed).

Tip. The installation of a large number of fonts in Windows can lead to problems with system performance and some apps, usually related to graphics and layouts.

Extract Default Font Files from a Windows 10 or 11 Installation Image

The font files in Windows are stored in the C:\Windows\Fonts directory. Try to open this folder in File Explorer. If you see only a few font files with the *.FON and *.TTF extensions in this directory, then the default font files have been deleted and reset by the built-in tools (as described above) won’t help.

The missing font files can be copied from any computer running the same OS version or extracted from the installation disk or an ISO/WIM image of Windows 10 (11 or 8.1).

Let’s consider the second case. To do this, we need a Windows 10/11 installation media. The easiest way to create a Windows installation ISO image using the Media Creation Tool. Mount the ISO image into a virtual drive (suppose letter H: is assigned to it).

Open the PowerShell command prompt as an administrator and copy the H:\sources\install.wim or H:\sources\install.esd file into the C:\Distr\ directory:

Copy-Item H:\sources\install.wim  C:\Distr\

Tip. If your Windows image contains only the install.esd file, you can convert the ESD file to WIM format using the command:

dism /export-image /SourceImageFile:c:\distr\install.esd /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile: c:\distr\install.wim /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity

Mount the Windows 10 installation image file (install.wim) to the C:\Distr\wim directory:

dism /mount-wim /wimfile:c:\Distr\install.wim /index:1 /mountdir:C:\Distr\wim

Tip. In our example, the installation wim image contains only one Windows edition with the index 1 (/index:1), other editions are removed from the image. Your installation ISO image or WIM file can contain multiple versions and editions of Windows. The list of available editions can be displayed with the command:

Dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:C:\Distr\install.wim

Copy the original fonts files from the C:\Distr\wim\Windows\Fonts to the C:\Windows\Fonts directory with the replacement of files in the target directory. Use this PowerShell command:

Copy-Item -path C:\Distr\wim\Windows\Fonts -Destination C:\Windows -recurse –container -force

The font files will be replaced with the original ones. Some system fonts that are currently used won’t be replaced; a number of errors in the console window will indicate this.

Now you can unmount the source Windows image:

dism /unmount-wim /mountdir:C:\Distr\wim /discard

Restart your computer and check if the font problem persists.

Clear Font Cache in Windows

Windows font caching is enabled by default (similar to icon caching). This allows loading fonts faster in Windows apps and dialogs. The font cache is located in the %WinDir%\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Local\FontCache folder. If the font cache is corrupted, it can also cause font display issues in Windows. We recommend that you manually reset the current Windows font cache. For this you need:

  1. Open the service management console (services.msc);
  2. Stop the Windows Font Cache Service in the console or using a PowerShell commandGet-Service FontCache|Stop-Service –forceWindows Font Cache Service
  3. Clean up the font cache folder: Get-ChildItem -Path C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Local\FontCache -File  | foreach { $_.Delete()}
  4. Delete the file FNTCACHE.DATRemove-Item c:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT clear font cache on windows 10 or 11 with powershell script
  5. Run the FontCache service and reboot your device.

Download and Restore Default Fonts on Windows 10 and 11

If you don’t have a Windows 10 (Windows 11 or Windows 8.1) installation image, you can copy the directory with the original font files from another computer running the same OS version, or use ready font archives that can be downloaded from the links below:

Download and unzip the archive for your Windows version. Copy the archive contents to the C:\Windows\Fonts folder with the replacement.

Then download and apply registry files with default font settings for your version of Windows:

Each archive contains three REG files:

  • win_10_fonts.reg – contains a list of default fonts registered in the system registry (HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts);
  • win_10_FontSubstitutes.reg – contains font association settings (HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes);
  • win_restore_default_user_font_settings.reg – restores default font settings in user registry hive (HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Font Management).

Unzip the archive and apply (double click) each reg file.

repair font registry settings on windows 10 or 11 using ready-made reg files

Restart your computer. The problem with the fonts should be gone!

Tip. If the problem with fonts is caused by the installation of a new font file, you can reset the contents of C:\Windows\Fonts before replacement (the fonts you are currently using won’t be replaced). This operation can be performed using the Restore button in the Control Panel we talked about above.

If all else fails and the fonts are displayed incorrectly, try to check and repair your Windows image using the commands:

sfc /scannow
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth