Core XP user interface languages are not free as in beer, or speech

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/10/10 10:46 -04:00, original URI:

Jesse asks (via the contact link):

My girlfriend's stepmother recently bought a computer to help with her home-based business; however, they predominantly speak Chinese and have difficulty with English. I found a blog post of yours from long ago ( that said even XP home has international support OOTB. Is there a way to switch the XP Home to display everything in Chinese?

I've figured out the regional settings thing that lets them use the specialized Chinese keyboard to type in Chinese easier, but the UI and everything else is still in English, which makes learning the computer a slow and painful process for her. Is there a way to switch the UI language akin to what the MUI does, or would she have to upgrade to XP Pro (which is ridiculous just to get language support)?

Also, if she ends up having to purchase XP Pro or something, is there any way she can get a refund for the version of XP Home that she'll no longer be using or does MS just smile and soak up the cash? She bought the system from Dell if that matters any.

It is true that Even every version of XP Home is fully internationalized, but it is also true that the built-in support I was talking about does not include the different user interface languages. And of course when I posted about Additional personal speculation on the Vista MUI SKU story, I pointed out that even in Vista, where progress was made in this area, there is still work to be done.

So getting the good deal on things in XP is pretty unlikely, all things considered. :-(

Though there is an avenue that is worth trying, and that is trying to work with the OEM (Dell) that you got the computer from!

After all, they do sell computers worldwide, and technically Microsoft isn't the support venue for that copy of XP, Dell is. So if there was any refunding/exchanging to do, they would be the best people to talk to (they are the ones that collected the money, after all!).

If you explain the situation to them via the support channel (especially if the computer was not bought all that long ago, you might be able to trade versions of XP and get a Chinese version instead of that English one (I myself have often had to get copies of software traded when they would send me XP instead of Server 2003 or Vista 32-bit when what I needed was 64-bit; they have always within an escalation or two been quite reasonable about things).

Worth a try in any case, if you ask me....


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