In order to test the localization in my program I need to switch the Windows user language to the various languages my program supports. After installing the necessary "Multilingual User Interface" packs (MUI packs) this works fine, except that I have to log off from Windows and log in again every time I change the language.

Is there any way to avoid this, i.e., switch language without having to log off?


Just to make it very clear, I really do want to change the Windows language. I know that I can simulate the results this will have in my program, but that's not what my question is about.


You didn't mention the which programming language you are using. But if it is by any change VB.Net you can use:

Application.CurrentCulture = New System.Globalization.CultureInfo("nl-NL") 'Dutch

When you use C#:

Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = New System.Globalization.CultureInfo("nl-NL") //Dutch

Some references:

  • MSDN Setting the Culture and UI Culture for Web Forms Globalization
  • MSDN Walkthrough: Localizing Windows Forms
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  • Thanks. But please see the edit to my question. – RenniePet Mar 1 '11 at 10:13
  • No problem. I did and replied – rdkleine Mar 1 '11 at 10:15

If you are changing the language of Windows interface, yes you need to do it. But if you are changing the location (which it's what I think you need), no.

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  • Thanks, but this doesn't seem to have any effect on the .Net property Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture, which (if I understand correctly) is in turn dependent on the Windows API GetUserDefaultUILanguage. – RenniePet Mar 1 '11 at 10:21

Language packs are available in Windows 7 Ultimate through Windows Update as optional updates. They aren't installed automatically.

To install a language pack, follow these steps:

Click to open Region and Language.

Click the Keyboards and Languages tab.

Under Display language, click Install/uninstall languages, and then follow the steps. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Note The Display language section will be visible only if you have already installed a Language Interface Pack or if your edition of Windows supports a language pack. Language packs are available only in Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise.

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  • 1
    Thanks, but you're not answering my question. What I'm asking is whether it is possible to change the Windows language WITHOUT logging off, which in my experience it always forces me to do. – RenniePet Mar 1 '11 at 14:15

I found that if you kill the explorer.exe process, and starts it again, your UI change is applied.

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  • Thank you very much. Unfortunately I'm working on something completely unrelated to this now, but next time I'm working on something involving language dependencies I'll check out your suggestion. – RenniePet May 5 '13 at 2:37

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