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One person sent me a PC for some maintenance (physical and software cleaning etc.). I noticed one issue. It has Windows XP Pro with SP2 His name is Jānis (this Latvian name is the same as John in English). He has created a user profile and his documents and Desktop are located in C:\Documents and Settings\Jānis.

As we live close to Russia, some people know Russian better than English, and to be able to play Russian games (which usually are Unicode unaware), people usually set Language for non-Unicode programs to Russian (in Regional and Language settings, Advanced tab).

Of course, this creates some problems for other non-Unicode programs because there is no such letter ā in Russian codepage. Well, we could live with that... but I found out that even Windows itself does not recognize this symbol!

When I download a program to the Desktop and try to launch it, I have usual Windows XP security window popping up and asking me if I trust this file. This popup even shows the publisher info of the file correctly. But now the bad stuff: - the path to the file is wrong in this popup! It says C:\Documents and Settings\Janis\Desktop (notice - ā has become a) and when I click Run to launch the file, I get an error: "The system cannot find the file specified".

It seems weird that Windows has problems launching the files from folders with language-specific characters when the code page does not match, although obviously Windows can read the file fine because the publisher info is shown correctly.

It seems to me, that Windows has some parts left without Unicode support.

Is there any other fix for this except recreating user profile without Unicode symbols? Maybe Service Pack 3 has some fixes for this issue?

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I'm amazed you are only considering SP3. Exactly four years after release, it should be the first thing to install when doing "maintenance". –  grawity Apr 21 '12 at 19:36

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, there are some solutions - see links below.

Service Pack 3 will not help - even Windows Vista and Windows 7 still have same problem.

It is a known one - users in Germany and France face the same with say folders that originally had German or French accented letters (before user changed that setting to Russian).

That setting ("language for non-Unicode programs" or the same called "System Locale" in Windows 7) really means deep-system change - system code page is changing (ACP in MS terms, CP_ACP in Win32 API).

One of the solutions - do NOT do such dramatic change, use Microsoft-proposed solution - free MS program called Applocale (see below).

More about the above:

1) Similar problems for German and French versions of MS Windows:

in English: http://winrus.com/full_e.htm#nonEN (same in Russian - slightly more detailed - if you change "_e" to "_r" in the link)

2) About Applocale:

in English: http://winrus.com/full_e.htm#App (same in Russian - slightly more detailed - if you change "_e" to "_r" in the link)

== P.S. You may want to read that entire Web page devoted to System Code Page stuff

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