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My friend bought a laptop in Paris. The current language (in Windows XP) is set to French - I want everything to show up in English.

I am now only able to show or change the regional settings, which just controls changing the keyboard from French to English. I need to change the rest of the interface to English.

How can I do this?

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"MUI is a feature that is available only on the Professional edition of Windows XP." –  sammyg Sep 20 '13 at 17:53
    
"Multilingual User Interface Resource Files are only sold as a bundle with the English version of Windows to make absolutely sure customers have the English version of the OS when installing MUI." –  sammyg Sep 20 '13 at 17:54
    
"You can upgrade to MUI from the English versions of the following platforms. Upgrades can only be performed from the English versions of these systems. In order to install MUI on a non-English system, it will be necessary to do a clean install." –  sammyg Sep 20 '13 at 17:55
    
You will find this information in "Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 MUI" FAQ on Go Global Developer Center. You can also refer to Windows MUI Knowledge Center for more information. –  sammyg Sep 20 '13 at 17:58
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unfortunately there is no way you can change the language of the OS. This is also the case with windows mobile devices. Try finding a friend that may have an English version and use your CD key to activate it.

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With the introduction of MUI, Windows XP can contain a minimum of 33 International languages in addition to the complex Asian scripts. This article explains how to change computer language to English when the default language is something else.

Changing Computer Language to English in Windows XP

If you bought your computer with Windows XP in some other language set as default, you need not worry. You can always change it using the Control Panel. English, along with several widely used languages, is present in almost all Windows XP installations. You only need to set it up so that your copy of Windows XP works with English.

The following steps explain how to change computer language to English in Windows XP.

  1. Open Control Panel and double click on the Regional and Language Options icon.

  2. In the first tab, Regional Options, select English (US), English (UK), or any other English (there are many versions of English pre-loaded) as per your wish. The option is available in the first drop down list under Standards and Formats (see Fig 1). You may also click the Customize button next to the drop down to customize the format of date, time, currency etc.

  3. Click on the next tab, Languages and then click the button labeled Details. In the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box, you can see all the installed languages. Select English in the list of available languages under Default Language Settings (Fig 2).

  4. To create a keyboard shortcut for switching among installed languages, use the Key Settings under Preferences (Fig 3). Please note that you can also use the Language bar to switch among languages. Click OK to close the dialog box.

  5. To set English as the default language for the particular user account, click on the Advanced tab of Regional and Language Options dialog box. Make sure English is being displayed in the drop down box and check the last option in the dialog box (See Fig 4).

  6. Click OK to close the dialog box and logoff for the settings to take effect.

Though this is the most common method used to change the computer language to English in Windows XP, it only changes the GUI and sometimes creates problems with few applications such as Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. If you are facing such problems, you can download MUI patches from MS download center.

NOTE: The above method is often considered as a temporary solution when you have to use different languages. To change the computer language to English in Windows XP so that it has a system wide affect, it is recommended that you perform a fresh install of Windows XP and select English when prompted for language during installation. Later, you may install other languages as required.

Source and screenshots

p.s.: a few month ago a saw a free utility that claimed to change Windows XP automatically into any language, but for the life of me i can't find the link.

edit: OK, found it. unfortunately, it's a tool for Vista. anyway, here's the link for Vistalizator, in case someone is looking for such a tool for Vista

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a) if it's Windows XP Home, you cannot change the language. Get an english installation CD from "somewhere" and re-install.

b) if it's Windows XP Professional, there are Multi-Language Packages available, although not for "normal" users

Getting an english installation CD is your best bet, the product keys are compatible.

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Just tried this method, but the CD keys won't work for English. At least for this computer –  Canadian Luke Oct 19 '11 at 23:44
    
@Luke Make sure you have the exact same edition (Home vs. Professional, OEM vs. Retail vs. Upgrade) –  Michael Stum Oct 19 '11 at 23:45
    
Had Pro Retail in French. I had the Pro Retail in English. No go :( The CD Key kept saying it's invalid –  Canadian Luke Oct 20 '11 at 0:01
    
@Luke Interesting :/ I had a Home OEM in French and English and it worked fine. Same for German OEM. –  Michael Stum Oct 20 '11 at 0:06
    
Then this computer must've been fuckered. I didn't downvote though cause I felt the rest of the post was accurate –  Canadian Luke Oct 20 '11 at 4:38
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According to Microsoft's website, this option is only available to customers using Windows XP Professional and the Operating System must be in English. There are MUI packs (Multi User Interface) that converts most system FROM English to many languages - not from many languages to English.

This feature is also available in other versions of Windows, such as Vista and 7. However, only Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Enterprise. On Windows 7, you can change the language on Ultimate and Enterprise as well.

If you want FULL support in whatever language you want, you should consider trying any Linux distribution. You can have any language you want, for free, without having to pick a "special" edition.

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