How to copy fonts in Windows

Today at work I got a new laptop and had to go through all of the painful processes associated with migrating to a new machine. I installed Photoshop, Dreamweaver, the Microsoft Office Suite and configured VPN, backup software etc. etc. etc. Most of these processes are smooth, albeit a little slow and annoying. The one new challenge I faced today was in trying to copy fonts from my old HP laptop running Windows Vista to my new laptop… also running Vista.

The thing is, you can’t just use the copy function. I located all of the files in C:WindowsFonts and tried using several traditional copy inputs including Ctrl+C, the edit copy command, the right click menu and drag and drop but they wouldn’t budge. I was trying to move the fonts to a new folder on a thumb drive but the “Paste” option was always just grayed out. I ended up having to use the dos console to get it done. Here are the steps to copy all of the fonts from the first machine using Administrator console. Start by going to the Start > Run menu shown in the screenshot below.

  1. Go to the start button in the lower right corner of your desktop, click it and then choose Run… from the list of options in the gray
  2. In the Run box that pops up type cmd and then click OK, this will launch the command console
  3. When the console pops up type cd then Enter to “change directories” to the lowest level, you should get C: which tells you that you’re in the C drive directory
  4. Now type cd windows and then cd fonts to navigate into the C:WindowsFonts directory where all of the files you want are
  5. Now it’s time to copy all of the fonts and put them into the new location, for me this was the E drive (my USB thumb drive) in a folder I had created called fonts
  6. Type copy *.* E:fonts and the process will begin. Note that the command *.* means “copy everything”
    1. Now that all of the fonts have been copied from the old laptop, it’s time to load them onto the new machine. To do this go to Start > Control Panel > Fonts and once you’re here go to File > Install New Fonts… this brings up a new window that lets you select the drive and folder to check for new fonts. Once you navigate to the files the window will load all of the font names and then you can click Select All and Install. Get ready to hit “No” a bunch of times now because you probably don’t want to overwrite the fonts that are duplicates. Only the new fonts will be installed but it will take a while, all things considered this is much faster than trying to compare the list of fonts from one machine to the next and it’s better than copying just one font at a time only to realize a day later that you need one or two more.

One comment

  1. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. It took me awhile to locate the command prompt (mine was embedded in “accessories” folder), but once I did, my old limited training in DOS took over and I was able to follow your instructions easily. I was totally overwhelmed until I found your instructions.