Can’t Delete Font Because It’s In Use? [How to Fix It]

When using Windows, sometimes you need to delete a font. Whether it’s because you simply won’t use it or because you want to replace it with another newer version, it may not be as easy to do as you would think. One of the most common issues that arise is when Windows gives you the error message “can’t delete font because it’s in use.” So, how can you fix this issue? 

If you receive the error message “can’t delete font because it’s in use” you can fix the problem by unchecking the “details pane” in the fonts folder of the control panel. If that doesn’t work you will need to go into the Registry Editor and delete the font file directly.  

If you’re trying to delete a font on your Windows PC but you’re only being met with error messages, this is for you. In our guide below we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to fix it. We’ll even give you multiple options in case the first method doesn’t work. So come along, and let’s dive right in!

How Do You Delete a Font That’s in Use?

There are really two main approaches you can take to delete a font that says it won’t delete because it’s “in use.” One approach is simpler, more straightforward and only requires you to use the control panel. The other is a little more complicated and requires that you go into the Registry Editor. 

In the following two sections we’ve broken down both approaches so if one doesn’t work for you, you can use the other:  

How to Delete a Font in the Control Panel 

Using the control panel is probably the fastest and easiest way to delete a font that just won’t seem to go away. While this approach won’t work every time, if it does work for you it will certainly save you some time. 

Follow the steps below to delete your font through the control panel: 

  1. Open the control panel: You can either type the control panel into the search bar on the taskbar near the bottom of your screen or you can find the app on the start menu. 
  2. Go into the fonts folder: The fonts folder should be located under “Appearances and Themes” in the control panel. Alternatively, you can just search for the fonts folder on the taskbar. Either way will bring you to the same place.
  3. Click “organize” and uncheck the “details pane” under “layout”: Near the top of the window you should see a number of options that read; “organize”, “preview”, “delete” and “hide.” Click organize, then on the dropdown menu that comes up go to “layout,” and uncheck “details pane.”  
  4. Try deleting the font again: Now all that’s left is to try to delete the font again the same way you were trying to delete it before. 

In a lot of cases, this will be sufficient to fix the problem and allow you to delete the font. Still, if it doesn’t work you’re going to want to try out our next option, for it almost certainly will. 

How to Delete a Font in the Registry Editor

If you’re reading this far into the article, chances are the last method didn’t work. Don’t panic as this next approach almost never fails. 

Follow the steps below to delete your troublesome font through the Registry Editor:  

  1. Open RegEdit: The fastest way to find RegEdit is just to search for it on the taskbar and select it when it pops up. 
  2. Navigate to the fonts folder in RegEdit: To get to the fonts you have to follow a certain path in RegEdit. Start by clicking the dropdown under the file HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Open the SOFTWARE folder. From here you’ll go from one folder to another. The sequence of folders is Microsoft, WindowsNT, Current Versions, and finally Fonts. 
  3. Delete the font: Now you simply delete the font from the list provided in the file. 
  4. Go back to your System Fonts folder and refresh: Now just return to your normal fonts folder and refresh the page. The font should be gone. 

The trickiest thing about this approach is knowing what order you should go through each folder. If you feel like you may need to remember again at some point feel free to bookmark this page and return. 

So Really, How Do You Delete a Font That’s “In Use”?

When you get the error message “can’t delete font because it’s in use,” don’t panic. There are two easy approaches to fixing this issue. If one doesn’t work the other probably will. 

You can either uncheck the “details pane” in your fonts folder and try deleting it again, or you can go into the Registry Editor and manually delete the font. Above we’ve broken down both of these processes in more detail. Feel free to return to this page any time you receive this error in the future!