Microsoft Windows Font File in Use

I could not delete a TrueType font file, BlackFlowersBlossom.ttf, from the folder in which it was located, which was a folder beneath the user's Documents directory on her Microsoft Windows 10 system. If I attempted to delete it, a "File in Use" window opened with the message "The action can't be completed because the file is open in System."

Font - the file is open in System

With other fonts beneath her Documents folder I was able to then open Fonts from the Control Panel, which you can get to in Microsoft Windows 10 by typing fonts in the Cortana "Ask me anything" field at the bottom, left hand corner of the screen, then selecting Fonts Control Panel and then selecting the font and deleting it from the Fonts Control Panel. Once it was deleted from the Fonts area of the Control Panel, I could then delete the .ttf file from the user directory after rebooting the system.

Fonts - Flowers Blossom Black

In this case, when I right-clicked on the shortcut for the "Flowers Blossom Black" font, I was prompted for the credentials for an account with administrator privileges, but when I provided those, even though I didn't receive an error message, the font was not deleted.

So I ran the regedit registry editor and saw the font listed under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts key in the Windows Registry.

Regedit - Fonts

When I tried to delete the registry entry from within the graphical user interface (GUI) of the regedit program, I saw a "Error Deleting Values" window with the message "Unable to delete all specified values" message and the registry entry remained.

Error deleting values

I think the issue occurred because I didn't right-click on regedit and choose "Run as administrator". But checking the key value from a command prompt, I saw the following:

C:\>reg query "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts" /v "Black Flowers Blossom (TrueType)"

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts
    Black Flowers Blossom (TrueType)    REG_SZ    C:\Users\Lisa\Documents\computer\fonts\collection\B\BlackFLowersBlossom.ttf


You can delete a font entry from the registry from a command line interface (CLI) by issuing a reg delete command from a command prompt and I was able to delete the registry reference for this font using a reg delete command. The command has to be run from a command prompt opened with administrator privilege - see Obtaining a Command Prompt on a Windows 8 System for a method to open a command prompt with administrator privileges. I included the /f parameter so I wouldn't be prompted to confirm that I wanted to delete the registry entry.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>reg delete "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts" /v "Black Flowers Blossom (TrueType)" /f
The operation completed successfully.


Once I deleted the registry reference to the font file, when I closed and reopened the Fonts window in the Control Panel, the font no longer appeared.

Control Panel Fonts - font gone

When you delete a font from the Font Control Panel, you will need to reboot afterwards in order to remove the .ttf file. You will still get the "The action can't be completed because the file is open in System" message until after you reboot, if you try to delete it by right-clicking on the file and selecting Delete. If you attempt to delete it from a command prompt, even an administrator command prompt, before rebooting, you will receive an "Access is denied" error message.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>del C:\Users\Lisa\Documents\computer\fonts\collection\B\BlackFLowersBlossom.ttf
Access is denied.



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