Internet Explorer 7.0's language settings? This may be the last straw....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/01/25 03:01 -05:00, original URI:

Over in the Suggestion Box, Mike (I think we all know which Mike that might be!) asks:

The IE7 RunOnce page which is loaded after IE7 is installed gives users control over anti-phishing and accept-language settings etc.

For some reason it sets the radio buttons so that the English(US) is set as the default rather than the current language setting of English(UK) or English(Australia). This was bugged during the IE7 and Vista betas, repro'd by other users, and verified by the triagers .... yet it hasn't been fixed. What's going on?

This is a bug that I remember was reported more than once during the product cycle. Results sometimes varied a bit from build to build, and at one point the "RunOnce" page had a bunch of settings that weren't even trying to pick up either machine settings or settings from the post-setup "OOBE" component that asks questions as a part of the installation of Vista. So the thought was why have the page at all, I guess. Which make sense if the right setting was happening, though clearly it wasn't at least some of the time.

Especially when one considers that IE doesn't use the region but instead uses the default user locale, it is decidedly odd that it is so adamant about improperly using the setting here, isn't it?

And super especially when one considers the fact that IE moved away from region-neutral language choices and moved into the specific ones so wholeheartedly?

What the hell is going on here? Is this yet another example of the problem I have described in posts like Using full locales rather than the neutral ones?

Well, to some extent the answer to the preceding question is YES.

Though to be honest that is a pretty lame answer, and there has to be more to it. I mean, especially since neutral support on Windows does not exist, an application like IE has to go out of its way to support anything but a specific language, and has to go out of its way to turn around and support the wrong one....

To add insult to injury, at one point this very same guy Mike as reporting that the original bug of the settings being wrong was fixed BUT there was a new problem where that site which comes up once that lets you change settings was defaulting to the wrong thing. Which may still be the behavior now, I can't tell from the above if that is still the case or if the core, original setting that was finally correct managed to break again. What are they basing it on -- install language?

What exactly is going on here?

Well, one of two things.

Either there is something very unique to Mike's settings that few other people see (which I do not believe to be the case, especially since other people did validate his bug).

Or there are as bunch of people hitting problems here -- which seems a lot more likely.

They don't listen to me, though. And they clearly never managed to address a bug that was reported some time ago (I saw the bug, and it was resolved "not repro.").

Assuming the bug is indeed still around (as it seems to be), I'd ordinarily recommend that the lot of them head over to the IE Blog and start complaining. Though they don't seem to have a suggestion box and it is kind of rude to start randomly commenting in unrelated posts (I consider it rude here so obviously it's not something I'd call acceptable there). If you look at the blog there are lots of exciting posts about new localized releases being available, but not so much about core language support. Which is maybe another proof that it is broken (if it weren't, wouldn't they be blogging about the feature?).

Anyway, currently my Vista machines run IE7, though that is likely because I am reinstalling often (newer builds, other configurations). My XP/Server 2003 machines are in all but one case running IE 6. mainly out of spite over it being made a "critical update" which annoys me.

To be fair I'll try out IE here and see what it does (something I have done several times during the beta but nothing recently). I've got a bit of free time this weekend, I'll let you know how it goes. If it doesn't work out I may have to reassess my browser choice....


This post brought to you by  (U+0d2a, a.k.a. MALAYALAM LETTER PA)

# Mike Dimmick on 25 Jan 2007 4:46 AM:

I can confirm that when using IE7 for the first time on Windows XP, here in an English (UK) locale, that it does indeed set the radio button next to the drop-down list with the possible regions ('Use the following settings') as the default choice, rather than 'Use the current settings'. In the drop-down list, 'English (US)' is selected as the default choice.

This webpage is hosted on MSN so may suffer from the regular problems of determining what the user's locale should be, from a webpage.

My user account's settings are, in the Regional and Language Options properties, to use 'English (United Kingdom)' standards and formats, and I've set the Location to 'United Kingdom'. My default input language is 'English (UK)' using the UK keyboard. The 'Language for non-Unicode programs' is set to 'English (United Kingdom)'. Our public IP address (we're behind a NAT) is based in the UK according to the lookup tools at

# Mike on 25 Jan 2007 5:30 AM:

I have set up IE7 on multiple users machines in UK, and the same thing happened on each and everyone of them. I just hit it again last week on a cousin's machine in Wales and nearly blew my stack

MS's English install language are always English=US which is at the heart of many of the language assumptions. One reason I prefer Firefox is that it allows me to use British English settings for the UI as well. While MS is going out of its way to provide support for very small languages, it does very little for one of the biggest language markets...

# Mal on 25 Jan 2007 5:32 AM:

I've seen this bug on every single PC I've installed IE7 (approximately 6 or 7).

The only common factors were that they were all UK English editions of Windows XP SP2, but varied between XP Pro, Home and Media Centre Edition.  

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Jan 2007 5:43 AM:

I would be very interested in knowing if the same problem is happening with other locales like fr-fr vs. the other french locales and so on.... between the AU and GB reports it looks pretty definite that there is a problem with English but it may be a special case problem rather than one across all locales....

# Simon on 25 Jan 2007 6:28 AM:

Ditto for me on eight or so machines, and our engineering team just started to ignore the option (eep from a software development point of view) because it comes up on EVERY machine we install, every till we install, etc.

All have been previously configured to use English (United Kingdom) in their regional settings and seeing the wrong setting appear.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Jan 2007 7:22 AM:

(I'll just sit in the corner and scroan at the inslaught of 'me too!' posts about other English locales!)

Anyone able to repro this bug with a non-English source locale on the machine, a non-English target locale on the ClickOnce page, or both?

# Mike Dimmick on 25 Jan 2007 10:11 AM:

OK, I created a new user in my sacrificial VM, set its various settings to French (France), and then ran IE7. The runonce page then comes up _in French_ with 'Use your current settings' selected (showing 'francais'). However, the default in the drop-down list is still 'Anglais (États-Unis)'.

You can have another go by going to Tools/Internet Options/Advanced tab and clicking Reset under 'Reset Internet Explorer settings'. I selected 'French (Canada)' in 'Standards and Formats' and tried again, and this time I got 'Utiliser les paramètres actuels : français (Canada)'. So it seems that there's some logic somewhere which says which radio button to select by default.

# Mike Dimmick on 25 Jan 2007 10:19 AM:

BTW although is closed, the 'Email' link in the top of the right-hand bar at does work and leads to Now, whether any errors reported there make it into a bug database is another matter.

It's interesting that if you close the browser without saving the settings on the 'runonce' page, then restart the browser, you get a page which has only the search engine selector on it; the other options (Phishing Filter, ClearType, Location, Customer Experience Improvement Program) have gone.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Jan 2007 12:13 PM:

So it looks like they fixed the bug in the browser and then re-introduced an even worse variant of the problem on the web page. :-(

# Mike on 26 Jan 2007 12:07 PM:

To paraphrase a former mutual colleague of ours (who looked after many loc issues in Office) - "When the app fails, it returns to US-based default settings. That looks normal to testers who have US settings as their usual experience."

So even with locale-neutrale development, you need people who don't habitually build machines with all US settings dogfooding it. Microsoft has brought back so much of its testing onto US shores that this problem has increased: more of its R&D staff run some level of US settings on their PCs.

As for the "not repro" resolution. It's probably one of the many that got bulk-resolved thus ahead of a new build.

# Charles Bocock on 30 Jan 2007 9:56 AM:


It's worse than that really.

If you're a native "American" (en-US) speaker and your computer started bringing up dialogs in British, with words like Favourites and Colours and started playing "God Save The Queen", you'd probably notice it pretty quickly.

On the other hand, us Brits are so used to Americanisms in our language that it's hard to spot them. Windows has never been in "English" (en-GB), only in "American" (en-US), so it's almost impossible to know whether something in a Microsoft product is in American by design, or just because the settings are wrong.

So even someone running Windows and IE with *everything* set to en-GB is never going to see anything different in the UI to someone running in en-US. Web page content might be different, but that's down to the provider.

My solution to this problem is.. if you can't beat them, join them. So, if you're in Chicago and need a great ASP.NET programmer who can be a source of constant amusement with his British accent, let me know ;)

# Gavin Short on 3 Apr 2007 9:53 AM:

I've also suffered the bug on every PC that IE7 has been installed on.  I love the way the radio buttons present you with the two options...

Change to en-US or change to en-GB (your default).

It even recognises that it's your default so why bother to ask?

It's not only spelling that causes a problem but dates too.  We use a timesheet system on our Intranet and the system gets confused by dates in an American date format... causing all kinds of problems with peoples leave entitlement (a fiercely guarded topic!).


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2007/10/29 Sometimes RunOnce is one time too many

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