User Account Control is really awesome – except for when it isn’t…
Example: UAC is great for stopping viruses (in fact, it might be the best tool Microsoft has introduced). UAC is always great for stopping some legitimate processes. In Vista – a standard user couldn’t refresh their IP address or change their time zone… One legitimate process still being stopped by UAC is the installation of Fonts by standard users.
So if you have tried editing security permissions and changing registry settings to allow installation, let me tell you – give up. If you want to deploy fonts in a Vista+ world, you will need to use Group Policy. Here is how:
Step 1: Extracting Fonts
Download and extract all of the fonts into a network folder. Ideally, this should be a software distribution share that domain computers can read from. Most fonts come in a compressed package. After extracting, be sure to delete any picture samples or text documents. In your font folder, you only want the actually font file. If you anticipate that you will be installing fonts on a semi-regular basis, create sub folders to organize the files. For example, put fonts requested by certain sites (or departments) in specific folders.
Step 2: Creating the Font Package
On your software packaging VM, fire up WinInstall LE (now called Smart Packager). If you don’t have WinInstall LE, you can download it here: https://deployhappiness.com/resources/tool-downloads/. Select create a new package and give your package a unique name (ex: Fine Arts Department Fonts). On the final page, select the second option (edit package directly – without workflow).
Step 3: Building the Font MSI
Once the package editor is up, select the files tab and then press the Add Button. Browse to your network folder containing the extracted fonts. Select all of the fonts and press open. Before pressing OK to the Browse screen, change the installation location to [FontsFolder]\
Step 4: Deploying Fonts with Group Policy
Press Ok twice to exit back to the Smart Packager screen. Your MSI is now done! You can now deploy it to your computers using Group Policy Software Installation or SCCM. If or when you get a new font, simply edit the package and add the additional font. Then mark the MSI for reinstallation.
If you would rather let your users install the fonts themselves with a PowerShell script, check out this follow-up guide.
Finally, if you want to learn more about PowerShell and how it will make your life easier, then subscribe by email to get weekly tips (plus your free guide to the Windows 8 Administrative Start Menu)!