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I'm trying to make a minimal XP installation for low-end machines, and I want to remove anything that could slow the system down.

I've heard many fonts installed slow down the boot process, so I'd like to keep the number of them to a minimum, and I'm seeing a lot of .fon files everywhere.

Is it safe to delete all/some (which?) of the .fon font files? They don't look like they're of much use, but maybe one of them is the terminal font?

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They're indeed just bitmap fonts. I'd keep the default cmd window font at least, although I don't know what that is. Deleting the rest should be safe for the most part. – John Chadwick Jan 19 '12 at 23:04
@JohnChadwick Problem is, I don't know what that font is. Indeed the only place where I see a bitmap font is in the cmd.exe terminal emulator window. – Camilo Martin Jan 19 '12 at 23:11
up vote 1 down vote accepted

here is my minimalist list for XP This was to clean the registry itself, before I put my font stack back in, so I am not totally sure about it. It is english only, and was for limited use of the computer , like I did not use servers and terminals. the ariel narrow is not part of the originals.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
"Fixedsys (Set #6)"="vgafix.fon"
"Roman (All res)"="ROMAN.FON"
"Script (All res)"="SCRIPT.FON"
"Modern (All res)"="MODERN.FON"
"Small Fonts (VGA res)"="SMALLE.FON"
"WST_Engl (All res)"="wst_engl.FON"
"Courier 10,12,15 (VGA res)"="COURE.FON"
"Arial (TrueType)"="ARIAL.TTF"
"Arial Bold (TrueType)"="ARIALBD.TTF"
"Arial Narrow (TrueType)"="ARIALN.TTF"
"Courier New (TrueType)"="COUR.TTF"
"Courier New Bold (TrueType)"="COURBD.TTF"
"Times New Roman (TrueType)"="TIMES.TTF"
"Verdana (TrueType)"="verdana.TTF"
"Verdana Bold (TrueType)"="verdanab.TTF"
"Franklin Gothic Medium (TrueType)"="Framd.TTF"
"Tahoma Bold (TrueType)"="tahomabd.TTF"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="SSERIFE.FON"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="SERIFE.FON"
"Tahoma (TrueType)"="TAHOMA.TTF"
"Microsoft Sans Serif (TrueType)"="MICROSS.TTF"
"MS-DOS CP 437"="dosapp.fon"
"Terminal (US) (Set #6)"="vgaoem.fon"
"System (Set #6)"="vgasys.fon"

I see all the other .Fon stuff in there that your talking about now. And i cannot be positive that I was seeing them all at that time, being hidden.

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Thanks, I'll use this as a reference. – Camilo Martin Jan 19 '12 at 23:41
I'm curious, there's a few missing, such as italics, I think you don't miss them, do you? – Camilo Martin Jan 19 '12 at 23:46
In XP anything could be bent :-) into italics, or Bolded, so I tossed them and let the programs bend & bold them. Hard to remember, this was done soo long ago. – Psycogeek Jan 19 '12 at 23:50
Well, I guess people really don't notice that kind of thing (I think I'd do, since I'm a little pedant with fonts), and this is not for my use anyway. Given a choice, probably normal people prefer a PC that runs fast and looks good from a distance. – Camilo Martin Jan 20 '12 at 0:00
In the end, this is how it looks: (I kept some such as Impact so as not to break the look and feel of naive websites that use that crapfront). – Camilo Martin Jan 20 '12 at 0:08

".fon" files contain bitmap fonts. These fonts were used by earlier DOS-based Windows (Windows 3.1 era). They are included in recent Windows releases for backwards compatibility purposes.

If you aren't using any super-old applications that rely on these fonts, you don't need them. The Windows GUI has not relied on them for many, many years.

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With that said, I don't know if it's worth the trouble. TrueType and OpenType fonts take far more RAM to load than bitmap fonts. I'd focus on removing as many .ttf's and .otf's as possible - and those only if your systems are really tight on RAM. – Gabriel Bauman Jan 19 '12 at 23:09
Gabe: well, I'm trying to make a setup that works for PCs on the range of 512-768 MB of RAM. Since I'll only have to do this one time, I wanted to know if it can be done safely. – Camilo Martin Jan 19 '12 at 23:17
Do you know if the CMD console emulator doesn't need them too? – Camilo Martin Jan 19 '12 at 23:19
If you are planning to run console applications in DOS emulation mode, I'd leave them in place. However, cmd.exe does use TTF fonts if bitmap fonts aren't available. – Gabriel Bauman Jan 19 '12 at 23:28
The more I think about it, a system with 512MB of RAM can handle a few TTFs in RAM. I think you might be over-optimizing here. – Gabriel Bauman Jan 19 '12 at 23:30

Many of them seem to be useless, but accortding to the last post here post, Windows XP expect these .fon files to be there:

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