And now? There are Language Packs!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/03/07 07:01 -05:00, original URI:

Hopefully you've read Using the language you want on the Building Windows 8 Blog, either from the fact that I pointed to it in The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 19: In honor of International Mother Language Day... or from another of the many hundreds or thousand of places that point to them.

Anyway, there was one particularly interesting section was right at the beginning, titled New, easier way to get languages.

I'll quote the whole section here just in case you don't feel like clicking on the link:

The new Language preferences section in Control Panel is the new one-stop place to find all Windows display languages in Windows 8. In the past, some languages were available through Windows Update, and others were distributed through the Microsoft Download Center.

The reasons for separating the languages into two groups and their separated distribution channels made no sense to our customers. It wasn’t their fault. This classification of languages only made sense to our internal teams. This confusion was a great motivator for re-imagining Language preferences in Control Panel. We will no longer ask customers to understand these nuances. Looking at the end-to-end experience, it made sense to build an entirely new experience around the acquisition of new languages. Here’s what that looks like in Windows 8:

Dialog heading: Change your language preferences / Link: Add a language / English (United States) is the only item in list of languages

Language preferences in Control Panel

The main view of Language preferences shows you which languages are enabled on your system. You can see that on this system, English (United States) display language is installed and enabled. The keyboard layout is also US. Language preferences is the one place to go to add or change display languages, input language, and other functionality. We’ll be talking more about that in future blog posts.

To add another language to your Windows, simply click the “Add a language” link above the first tile to bring up this list.


Add a language / Use the search box to find more. A long, scrolling list of languages are shown which the user can select from.

List of languages you can add to Windows

Select the language you want from the list. In these screenshots, I’m selecting Hindi. This list is long. Luckily, it’s filterable. Just type the first few letters of the language you want into the search box, and the list is narrowed for you. This search filter works in both the native script as seen on the tile, and the localized name of the language.

The Language preferences page now has two languages listed, English and Hindi, with an Options command for each.

Hindi language has been added

Once selected, the language is added to your language list, but does not download and install the display language until you choose to do so. To add it as a display language, click Options.

Hindi / Windows display language / A language pack for Hindi is available for download / Link: Download and install language pack / Input method / Hindi Traditional / Commands: Preview or Remove / Add an input method

The Options page for this language shows the status of the language pack

If a language pack is available for your language, you will see the link to “Download and install language pack.”

A progress bar is shown on a pop up dialog. It says "The updates are being downloaded and installed."

You can monitor progress of the download and installation

To switch to the newly installed display language, you’ll need to make it your primary language, by clicking “Make this the primary language,” as seen in the next screenshot.

Commands available for Hindi: Make this the primary language / Uninstall display language

Make your new language the primary language on the PC

Two languages now listed: English and Hindi, with Hindi selected as the primary language

Hindi is now the primary language on this PC

It’s as simple as that. Pretty cool, huh? No more hunting around on websites looking for the languages you want. They’re right here. If you are currently using Windows Vista or Windows 7 Ultimate, you probably see 34 or 35 languages as optional updates in your Windows Update UI. These won’t show up there anymore in Windows 8. Instead, we’ve consolidated the languages in one place for you: Language preferences in Control Panel. Language preferences will be a clean, unified control for all Windows display languages moving forward.

Great concept, that.

Language preferences will be a clean, unified control for all Windows display languages moving forward.

Now there were some people who thought that this was all well and good of us, but theoretically useless for the time being.

I mean, not vaporware exacty.

Since these were rea screenshots of actual product.

But it wasn't available to everyone else -- it was just a teaser.



If you download/install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview,  you can now find Language Packs that have been put up on Windows Update, using these very steps the blog taks about....

That blog now has the steps you can start using to try out the new Language preferences UI for yourself. A few languages (the Consumer Preview languages) now, and more to come.

I don't know about you, but I thiunk that's awesome!

Simon Buchan on 7 Mar 2012 8:35 PM:

Well *I* can't see any language packs on Windows Update, but that's because our DC (SBS 2011) has some annoying defaults :)

Lars Viklund on 10 Mar 2012 9:17 AM:

Too bad that it's utterly impossible to properly install a custom keyboard layout on 8CP anymore, and that there seems to be no Connect section to report bugs in.

In essence, in order to get any custom layout (like altinter from visible and manipulatable in Input Languages is to swap the "Control\Keyboard Layouts\" key with some existing layout like "00020409", as the "a0000409" ones that MSKLC generates are unusable.

Michael S. Kaplan on 10 Mar 2012 12:59 PM:

This bug is known, and should be being fixed almost as I type this....

Michael S. Kaplan on 12 Mar 2012 6:08 AM:


Marcus on 27 Mar 2012 9:11 AM:

May I ask if this dialog is going to be improved in Windows 8?

The problem is that it has a huge blank on the right (it looks awful and introduces an unnecessary horizontal scroll bar), since Windows Vista, in the Brazilian Portuguese edition.

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referenced by

2012/03/12 3 things: 1) there's a bug in the W8 DP, 2) it's still in the W8 CP, and 3) what was that third thing?

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