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When I went over to Russia, my host family bought me a laptop as a farewell present. It was all fine and dandy, but I really did prefer it if the language of the Start Menu and all other components was in English.

I am not sure if the OEM version of Windows Vista includes the English language UI, if I will need to download and/or purchase a 'language pack', or if I will have to buy a brand new copy of Vista in English.

How can I change the system language in Windows Vista to English? Is there anything else I would need to purchase?

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3 Answers 3

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Refer to the how-to.

The Display language section will only be visible if you have already installed a LIP or if your edition of Windows supports MUI. MUI packs are only available in Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Enterprise.

Also see the How do I get additional language files? document.

If your version is not Ultimate/Enterprise, you will have to either purchase it or purchase another version of Windows Vista in English language and perform a clean installation. That is because there is no English LIP available for the Windows Vista which comes in other Languages.

However, if you Google, you can find sites with links to the English LIP (as it's extremely hard to find the official LIP links of the Microsoft site).

This one is probably an English LIP as stated in one blog. However, there are comments that it's not a LIP, but a MUI and doesn't install on the non Ultimate Windows version:

Are you really sure that those listed files not are for Ultimate only? I mean, if I install one, it says it is MUI pack, not LIP.

Anyway, you can try if it works for you.

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Check out Windows Vista Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) and Windows Vista Language Interface Pack (LIP). Which gives the possibility to change the UI language for all editions of Vista

Also, I do believe most OEM laptops have a "restore" option. On norwegian-based laptops I've set up, I've always had the option to install the OS in either English or Norwegian. So you could try and see if you get any such option. The downside is that you'll end up with a fresh install, and have to reinstall everything from scratch.

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Another thing to try if you have problems going the LIP/MUI route is a reinstall of Vista.

  • Backup your current machine to restore back to using Acronis or Ghost imaging programs
  • First try the manafacture restore procedure and see if you can install in english. If so problem solved
  • Otherwise......
  • While working try to connect to the internet and download the drivers for your network card if you need them
  • Install Vista from borrowed/Downloaded DVD media (don't use pirated media!) and use your key
  • Install all your drivers for the network card if required
  • Connect to the internet and try to install any missing drivers
  • Install Vista SP2
  • Activate over the internet when you are ready
  • Install any mimimum programs that you want

Now you can reimage that machine and use this as a base whenever you want to reinstall.

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