Fix Windows Vista’s Fonts!

I’ve been labeled a nitipicker for seeing skipped details that few others seem to see on the surface of an application’s user interface. Guilty as charged! Download this simple registry patch, but please read this entire post before applying it?

I’m not happy that Microsoft has added yet another shell font to the mix with Windows Vista: Segoe UI. On its own, Segoe UI is an awesome font – but when it’s slapped up against Tahoma, MS Sans Serif, Microsoft Sans Serif, and/or Arial – it’s no longer a clean user experience. In fact, Vista is downright messy when it comes to shell fonts – with some aliased faces reaching back to the days of Windows 3.11!

These blatant font oversights were shoved onto the backburner for the sake of (a) 100% backwards compatibility and (b) time. However, that didn’t stop me from diving into REGEDIT and setting things straight. The good news? I believe I’ve figured out how to make everything inside of Windows Vista stick to Segoe UI. It’s a subtle, yet radical, transformation.

There are benefits and drawbacks that come with my font tweaks. The biggest benefit is that most (if not all) of your application fonts will finally be in the same font family. The drawbacks happen to be a matter of perspective.

Text in size-restricted config dialogs may appear tight or truncated, but you will never see Arial, Times New Roman, Microsoft Sans Serif, MS Serif, MS Sans Serif, or Tahoma font faces ever again. I can’t imagine this being a tremendous problem for most people – myself included.

I’ve killed most of the aliased fonts that will ship in Windows Vista – there’s virtually no other (or easier) way to do it other than through this registry patch. Software installers finally conform to a single Segoe UI typeset, Google Earth finally looks clean, and .NET apps finally don’t look any different than other apps on the system – and Web sites that call on Arial (like look amazing after this tweak, too. I posted a few before and after screen shots to Flickr.

If you bother to look at the .REG file I’ve compiled, you’ll see that the tweaks are relatively straighforward. I’m essentially redirecting font rendering from fonts I don’t want (Arial, Tahoma, MS Sans Serif, etc.) to a font that I do want (Segoe UI). The essential key is in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion FontSubstitutes.

I’m releasing this tweak in the hope that others will help me refine it. You should set a System Restore point if you’re feeling gunshy. I’ve applied them safely to my own system, and have bug squished and cross-checked compatibility with both Robert McLaws and Brandon LeBlanc. They were both quite helpful and suffered through countless reboots with me. If you find any other tweaks that should be added to the .REG file, let me know and I’ll incorporate them ASAP.

For further optimization, you might also set your icon font to 8pt (it’s 9pt by default). Right-click the desktop, choose Personalize, click the first “Windows Color and Appearance” option, click the “Open classic appearance properties for more color options” link near the bottom, then click the Advanced button on the “Appearance Settings” dialog, select the “Icon” item, then flip the Size field to “8.” Windows Vista: transparently convoluted!

While my font patch is harmless, I’m not responsible for anything that might happen to your system (or life) if you decide to apply it. I’m sure incompatibilities will spring up, but that’s when I’ll really need your troubleshooting assistance.

I’ll certainly be sharing this information with a few key Microsofties, though I do not expect them to officially incorporate my patch into future builds of Windows. If you don’t even care about the fonts on your screen, then why did you bother to read this far – and what have you got to lose by applying my patch? I simply couldn’t recommend running Windows Vista without it.

Moreover, to all the people who slapped me around for complaining about Vista’s font mayhem: at least I did something about it instead of rolling over and pretending we were past the point of no return. Feh. If only I could fix other visual hiccups – like Vista’s Task Manager, which has 16-color icons and doesn’t ToolTip truncated fields. Maybe SpeedUpMyPC will fix it eventually?

136 thoughts on “Fix Windows Vista’s Fonts!”

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  10. Ignore the idiots blasting you for telling the truth. You are right, and let’s be honest, Microsoft and great UIs don’t exactly go hand in hand.

  11. Ultra sexy update, and i mst say if they’d fix small things like this and the task manager tooltips things would be so much more consistent and happy

  12. Great idea, Chris. However, why not redirect the fonts to a modified version of Segoe that exactly mimics the proportions of the other fonts, like a Segoe UI (Tahoma) and a Segoe UI (MS Sans Serif)? That would make the transformation bug-free (and is exactly what I suggested to Microsoft months ago).

  13. Umm, this is nice and all and I am sure it works well. But what is this about 16 bit icons in Task Manager? First, it is still in a testing phase, lets let them continue polishing the OS as they have build after build. You really think they care about icons right now? Second, if you are any kind of user, you would know that Task Manager is a piece of trash and not worth its disk space. Process Explorer, by far, the most advanced process manager.

  14. Cool. Just curious, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontMapper\FamilyDefaults
    why didn’t you set the default to Segoe UI? (@=”Segoe UI”)

  15. Pick all the nits you can find. With any major software, there comes a point where it’s clear that bugs need to be triaged. They won’t all get fixed in time to ship. Fit and Finish details usually drop down to lower priority in favor of functioal bugs. That’s understandable. Probably the right choice. But everyone who cares about fit and finish needs to raise their hands and their voices.

    The developers need to hear it. Software management needs to hear it. Users who care about fit and finish need champions who can get attention.

  16. Single best improved of this trick…. Media Player in taskbar mode, hover over and the track, artist, and album info looks puuuuurrrrrrtttttttyyy…..


    PS F*ck dem haterz….

  17. May I suggest you redirect Comic Sans MS as well with this patch? Would make the people of a lot happier :-)

  18. There are settings in Windows that allow you to change the fonts the correct way. This hack does nothing but totally screw things up.

  19. Hi Chris!

    I have not followed these topics here closely but just wanted to comment that IMO bigger problem with these font inconsistencies is that if you want to scale your UI fonts to, say 110%, these old MS Sans Serif dialogs will NOT scale at all! That means if you have 1600×1200 resolution with LCD and want to make text a bit larger by scaling fonts, then half of UI will still use very small font and only these that use Tahoma or Segue will look correct.

    BTW, the font inconsistency was one of the first things I noticed in Vista, so I also think it is very important. Microsoft spends huge amount of resources to make all these bells and whistles but has no time for some basic stuff — sad indeed.

  20. The guy who took the picture is a real morron. How the hell you wana compare correctly the BEFORE / AFTER if they are both totaly diffrent. Cmon use your brain next time!

    This patch seem to be buggy for many people by reading comments and Segui or whatever it is called, isn’t my favorite font so I won’t force everything to use it…

  21. Chris, have you tried entering RGB values for a colour in a standard colour selection dialog? (e.g. Colours menu > Edit Colours, in Paint)
    Perhaps it’s something else I’ve done, but since applying the reg patch, I can only enter two numbers for any of the RGB/HSL values. Yikes! Presumably this is why MS likes inconsistency. It means they don’t have to update dialog boxes that date back to 1995.

    Any chance of a fix for this?

  22. I’ installed the vista look on my Xp Machine, and as soon as I’ notice the font style, I’ took it out and decided to not buy the new OS, but now with this patch I’ may reconsider.

  23. Rus,

    This is indeed an issue caused by changing the font to Segoe UI. However, if you use Resource Hacker (, you can fix this.

    Open up \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\COMDLG32.DLL in Resource Hacker and go to Dialog –> CHOOSECOLOR. Resize the 6 text boxes so they’re a bit wider, then choose Compile Script.

    Save the file in another location, then overwrite the original file (I do this by booting into another OS, because it’s seemingly always in use under the current OS).

    If some sort of system update replaces COMDLG32.DLL, you’ll have to make that change again.

  24. A nice patch, but how about making the default registry settings available so that people (duh, like me) who didn’t back up their registries can undo the changes if they need to? I’d really appreciate it if you could post an “defaultfonts.reg” patch here. Many thanks!

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  26. Just a quick note, but this also works on XP and actually makes that look pretty good too :)

    Chris is right though – it makes some web sites look fantastic and I much prefer the overall cleaner look of the system.

  27. Thanks Chris for the patch. It looks great. :) Some websites took a little getting used to, but overall I love it. Thanks again!

  28. My god, how much hoopla over fonts not all matching?

    I happen to enjoy the differences in look and feel between apps. Would you want all cars to be blue and all restaurants to be Taco Bell?


  29. I’d actually like to do the opposite. I don’t like Segoe at all, and have used the appearance part of the control panel (used to be in desktop properties on XP) to change it back to size 8 Tahoma wherever possible.

    While I’ll attempt to edit this registry patch later to get the results I want, can anybody help me along by posting a patch that would let you turn any instances of Segoe into either Arial (I assume this would look better in the larger title bars) or Tahoma (for general system text, like in dialogue boxes)?

    I’m quite disappointed that Vista has no easy way to do this. Even if you disable Cleartype, which I dislike immensely, it still appears all over the place with Segoe. I prefer the crisper look of XP-style rendering.

  30. I like the font fix, but remapping the fonts used in Office (Times New Roman and Arial primarily) really doesn’t look all that good. Besides that change, I really like the new look that Vista has now.

  31. Hi Chris,

    Will you post the reverse patch as well? I like how the applications look now, but what I don’t like is how it affects the layout of certain web sites. Some web sites are designed to look good when using a certain font and absolutely suck after I changed the font mapping.


  32. Sorry about my naive question, I downloaded the file and I found “VistaFontFix” file, but I do not know how can I install it on my Windows Vista.
    Can anyone help me?

  33. Chris, et al;

    When I download the zip file it cannot be opened with Winip. It says that the file is corrupted, etc. I have downloaded it several times with the same result. Any ideas?



  34. I too have downloaded this file several times over the past few weeks, and it is not a valid file. Come on Chris, fix the darned file.

  35. To fix this problem extract the file within the zip and rename it to a .zip file, which it is Evidently the .zip was left off of the name. Then you can open it with WinZip, WinRar, whatever you use, and get the reg file it contains.

  36. There seems to be a problem with the file. I downloaded it, but winzip says it’s corrupt and winrar extracts a garbled result.

  37. Ran the Font Fix – and system does look much better now! But.. Problem in that my default font for Acrobat 8 Professional doesn’t print.

    Any PDF I’ve created, or create new, the font comes out like a bunch of wingdings.

    Would the font fix affect this?

  38. Brian, I’m having that exact same problem with Acrobat on my machine. :( Kind of a bummer! Let me know if find a solution short of uninstalling the font patch … I’ll keep you updated (via this page) as well.

  39. Brian — I was having that same problem, and it got quite annoying. I did find a somewhat elegant solution, however:

    In Acrobat, go to File -> Print, and click Advanced. Then check the “Print As Image” box. That should work. :)

    FYI, I’m using Acrobat 8 Professional (8.1.0) on Windows Vista Ultimate x64 Edition.

  40. Hi,

    I have tried downloading the registry patch, but the zip looks corrupted.

    I have tried this from two computers :(

    Please update.


  41. Any way to do the reverse? I need Segoe UI removed completely. I cannot stand the font blurring created by ClearType. The burred red edges just annoy my eyes too much. I turned off ClearType in most applications. But it still persists on the task bar, the control panel, and other places in Explorer. I tried adding a font substitute of Segoe UI = Tahoma but that hasn’t fixed it.

  42. Thank you for your modified reg file!
    This is also functional for xp system. But I’m using lots of chinsese programs, I modified “Segoe UI” into “Microsoft Jenghei”, which makes the chinsese font as smooth Segoe UI~

  43. Before I do anything with the registry, which makes me nervous, will this fix my problem that all of the sudden my dialog boxes and buttons have a teeny tiny Times-Roman-looking font?

  44. This patch fixed a major issue I had with ALL MY TEXT APPEARING AS WINGDINGS!! Luckily I knew my vista enough to navigate by “braille”, but not even Dell Cust. Svc. (surprise?) had a clue how to fix this. I spent several hours on the phone in front of the computer trying everything I could think of, then downloaded this patch and ALL IS WELL!! Thank you! All I had to do was google search Vista Wingding Fonts Patch and it was there. You rule.

  45. I encountered a problem with this page and Winamp … I noticed that whenever Winamp was open (v5.51), the fonts in Firefox and a few other programs would revert from Segoe UI to something more basic (not sure what font it was).

    I fiddled for a bit and found a fix:
    Winamp -> Options/Prefs -> Modern Skins -> Font Rendering
    – Check “Use skin font mapper”

    -> Configure Skin Font Mapping
    – Check “All skins”
    – Map font: Arial (or any other font replaced by the patch)
    – Into: Something not replaced by the patch
    – Press New and you should be done. You can adjust the font/font size until it looks about right (watch the main window titlebar to see changes).

    Hope this helps somebody else!! :)

  46. Just wanna thank you A LOT! I was having a really hard time, because I recently installed Office 2007 and Outlook was having some issues displaying correctly the fonts, specially in the Options dialog box where all the text was bold and not displaying all the options and buttons.
    I didn’t played around too much before posting this comment, but I think this fixed more font issues than I noticed at the moment.

  47. Hey, this is great and all, but you might mention that it makes it impossible to use those font (Times New Roman for example) ANYWHERE, including in documents. I had to back it out for this reason.

  48. Hi there,What I really want is to be able to change the fonts in the vista mail address box.
    I’d like to make them more funky and noticeable.
    I’m not a computer geek so if you have any fixes can you make ’em a little on the simple side.

  49. Hi and thank you Chris

    This is from far the best and complet font fix for Vista. It also work on XP for those who want to have a vista like font without using a theme and a special .dll

    Question: What the way to increase the default system font size (from 8 to 9 or 10)? Start menu: All Programs & Outlook 2003/2007: All mail folders panel, rely on the system font. Changing the font size in the Display advance properties Icon has no effect for that matter. I am not looking to change de dpi either.

  50. Added comment:

    ADOBE ACROBAT 8/9 PRO Printing issue with this .reg fix (see the comments above)

    Is there a way to fix this issue?

  51. This helpt me to fix the problem with norton ghost 14 who gives an error about arial font being not good. My many thx.

  52. I used this registry fix to make Valve’s steam work again – however there is one big problem…

    Have you tried printing a PDF document from either FoxIt or Acrobat that uses any of the fonts that the patch substitutes for? Good luck reading it, it comes out all garbled! The only way I was able to fix it was to reverse this registry patch and now they both work fine again.

    So thanks, but ultimately perhaps the thing to do is to actually install the fonts that are missing.

  53. worked like a charm. I “accidentally” deleted the font mapper files in the Vista 64 registry while trying to fix another Acrobat problem and was having problems with large fonts, your fix fixed it just fine, thanks! Acrobat still wont make a pdf because it thinks it cant find Courier, which is installed, but that’s another problem.


  54. Hi, would just like to say that i used this hack.

    I found one problem, users of flash cs4 usually WILL NOT be able to boot flash cs4 whilst this mod is active.
    (program glitch not mod glitch)
    So if you use this reg mod i would recommend creating an anti-mod first. This is easily done by backing up the registry and locating the fonts that are changed with the mod and creating a registry patch which sets them back to default. (well, if you want to for any reason)

  55. Brilliant, Chris!

    The same issue exists in Windows 7 and your hack resolves it. It’s a gazillion times better this way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  56. The patch goes a bit too far, as it effectively removes Arial, Tahoma, and Times New Roman from the system, severely affecting Word, Outlook, and many other apps. You can get most of UI improvement with a less radical change: get Pirillo’s ZIp file, extract the .reg file, rename the extension to .txt, and double-click to edit. Then delete all lines that start with “Times New Roman.., “Arial…, and “Tahoma… Rename the file extension from .txt back to .reg, double-click it, and confirm that you want to merge it with the registry.

  57. Dear Chris!
    Great Job!
    Would You please to Help with similar problem?
    Default Windows Font is too small for me – How can I change it in registry?
    It’s impossible to change by “Advanced Appearence” in Vista ot Windows 7 – menu is inactive for “Window Text:”.

    Thank You!

  58. I am running Firefox 3.5.3 with RedShift v.3 theme. This hack makes it display pretty ugly and illegible, I do not recommend it. However, the undo that someone earlier posted prevents another of my programs (Keepass) from opening.

  59. Thanks for creating such an awesome registry hack Chris and company! Genius stuff indeed. I really enjoy seeing all the fonts in a uniform fashion. Much more pleasing to the eye. Also, this registry hack works with Windows 7.

  60. Why do we need to clean our pc? People all talking about it, I don’t know why , several days ago my friend recommend me a software tuneup360, now I’m waiting for the result.

  61. No matter your windows system is XP or Vista, the easiest way to speed up your PC is have a tuneup360 in it; you can try the software “tuneup360”. My friends and I all use it, it’s seems really useful.

  62. Chris- that fixed my problem in iTunes, thanks.

    But, since I am in the publishing business I find I miss the deleted fonts, particularly Times New Roman. Can I get some quick instructions to fix the registry to get that font back?

  63. fixed all my issues with Windows Explorer and iTunes not displaying Asian languages properly. Windows 7. Thanks man.

  64. Is there a go back patch for Windows 7? I accidentally installed this patch and I don’t want it? Thanks.

  65. Thank you so much… it solved a prob in iTunes with Win7 too! :o) Its great to have people really sharing solutions…not only writing about having them…thank you!  RMJ

  66. Hi, it fixed my iTunes problem!  However, I noticed that now when I print a PDF file from online to Microsoft One Note 2010, I get a bunch of crazy characters instead of text.  Is this problem related to the font fix?  If so, how do I go about fixing this?  I’m not terribly computer-savvy, so I’m really not sure what to do about it.  Thanks!

  67. Thanks! The reg patch really helped. I lost the font in iTunes 11.1 . It worked on Win 7, 64bit. Again thanks!

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