Earlier it was common to believe that many (never seen defined what many means) fonts will slow down windows.

Is that still a valid issue on today's hardware with Windows Vista/7?

There are some font servers out there -such as NexusFont- that can be used to serve the applications with fonts when needed, which means huge numbers of fonts won't have to be installed into the system.

Does anyone have real experience with this? I could use a fontserver, uninstall almost all fonts from windows (I'd leave arial/times/courier/segoe/consolas/calibri and the system fonts like fixedsys, marlett, wingdings) and put them under the fontserver. Would it have any visible performance effect on system boot time and system performance? The PC I'm maintaining (regular proper defrags don't count performance tuning) is a relatively modern HP laptop with enough memory, so it's not that I'd have to use all last resorts.

  • I would check other factors first, unless you have a real ton of fonts there...IE, like what is being loaded as processes at start, and services. – S.gfx Apr 18 '11 at 12:10

Yes it will definitely slow down your computer if you're running Windows. To notice the effects you'll need upwards of a couple thousand fonts installed. Windows (and to SOME extend some flavors of Linux) will load the whole font set at startup, causing it to lock up.

Try and keep the fonts around the 600-1000 mark if you really need that many. If that isn't enough than you a font server like you said.

  • thanks for the answer. I have 400-500 fonts. I guess I won't start using a font server as of now. – szekelya Apr 19 '11 at 6:29
  • Nope but if your computer is slow we can try and make it faster and figure out where the problem is. Post another question and we'll see what we can do :) – n0pe Apr 19 '11 at 11:18

I'm not a font "expert" but I've heard that the Windows slowdown that's caused by installing massive numbers of fonts has a lot to do with the font names. If you can keep the fontnames as short as possible (say, 8-10 characters or so) you can delay the slowdown considerably. Conversely, renaming the fontfiles to longer, more understandable names can be counterproductive, slowing Windows down that much sooner. This is why most TTF fonts have very short (and mostly indecipherable) names. If you ever come across a font that has a long name (say, 15-20 characters, with initial caps and spaces) it's probably been renamed by someone.

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