how to design windows text fonts?

curious as to how to design my own font for use in windows, what programs to use (preferably freeware ones) and how to get started.

You can try the program Font Creator, but unfortunately it isn’t free.

There is also a free/open-source font editor called FontForge. However, it isn’t a native Windows application and installation is pretty complicated. If you’d like to give it a shot, follow the instructions on this page. Sorry, I don’t know enough about that kinda stuff to help you any further than that.

Softy is a basic Windows option, which has sufficed for the limited font-editing that I’ve needed to do. I certainly wouldn’t want to create a full character set on it, though!

Some thoughts on making a font nice:

It should be similar in many ways to existing fonts.

You should decide whether you want things to line up or have other reasons to make it nonproportional. For example if somebody has to program using this font make it nonproportional, whereas if somebody has to read long passages using it make it proportional. The list below looks tidy and easy to make sense of with nonproportional fonts, for instance, but is harder to make sense of without:
If you want multiple lines of text near each other, as in a book, you should use serifs. If the text will typically be in isolated lines, as in street signs, you should forget serifs.

The programs I use aren’t free, unfortunately.

I’ve made a couple fonts during slow times at work. I’ve made the letters in Illustrator, and brought them into Fontographer. Letters can be drawn in Fontographer to skip the expensive Illustrator step, but I like how easy it is to work with Illustrator.

To make a font that looks like my handwriting (a font that only I can love!), I drew letters on smooth paper, scanned them at a high resolution, and used Streamline to convert them to vector files. The paper needs to be smooth. If the letters bleed when you make them, Streamline will pick up every bump.

The version of Fontographer I used was from around 1993, but it does all you need it to. Maybe you can find it on Ebay for a cheap price.