Changing OS Languages in Windows XP

windows_xp_logo_2I recently needed to change languages in my Windows XP Operating System because I teach English in Korea, and all the computers in the office have Windows installed in Korean.  Though I’m learning the language, nothing beats being able to read about the computer problems and solve them on your own in your native language (mine = English).  Therefore, here are the steps, links, and images I used to successfully change my Windows XP from Korean to English.

1. Download the Windows Service Pack 3 installer to your computer IN YOUR DESIRED OS LANGUAGE

(in my case English).  You can find the download from the Microsoft website, here: Windows SP3 Download

2. Open Regedit from the start menu

(Start -> Run… -> “regedit”), to change the Language Registry Key values.



The Registry Keys to change are located in “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/ControlSet001/Control/NIs/Language”



Always create a Backup of your Registry Keys before changing any values.  Wouldn’t want to create a huge problem to fix later.  This can be done by clicking on “File -> Export…” and saving the values anywhere you can find them later (if there is a problem you can always restore the original keys with “File -> Import…” and choosing those keys you saved earlier.


After saving a copy of your Registry, you can edit the “Default” and “InstallLanguage” keys to the numerical value of the language you want to change to (in my case, the initial language value was 0412 for “Korean”, which I changed to 0409 for “English: US”)

A full list of numbers that represents each language in registry  is provided below (found on Xisto forum):

0436 = “af;Afrikaans”
041C = “sq;Albanian”
0001 = “ar;Arabic”
0401 = “ar-sa;Arabic (Saudi Arabia)”
0801 = “ar-iq;Arabic (Iraq)”
0C01 = “ar-eg;Arabic (Egypt)”
1001 = “ar-ly;Arabic (Libya)”
1401 = “ar-dz;Arabic (Algeria)”
1801 = “ar-ma;Arabic (Morocco)”
1C01 = “ar-tn;Arabic (Tunisia)”
2001 = “ar-om;Arabic (Oman)”
2401 = “ar-ye;Arabic (Yemen)”
2801 = “ar-sy;Arabic (Syria)”
2C01 = “ar-jo;Arabic (Jordan)”
3001 = “ar-lb;Arabic (Lebanon)”
3401 = “ar-kw;Arabic (Kuwait)”
3801 = “ar-ae;Arabic (you.A.E.)”
3C01 = “ar-bh;Arabic (Bahrain)”
4001 = “ar-qa;Arabic (Qatar)”
042D = “eu;Basque”
0402 = “bg;Bulgarian”
0423 = “be;Belarusian”
0403 = “ca;Catalan”
0004 = “zh;Chinese”
0404 = “zh-tw;Chinese (Taiwan)”
0804 = “zh-cn;Chinese (China)”
0C04 = “zh-hk;Chinese (Hong Kong SAR)”
1004 = “zh-sg;Chinese (Singapore)”
041A = “hr;Croatian”
0405 = “cs;Czech”
0406 = “the;Danish”
0413 = “nl;Dutch (Netherlands)”
0813 = “nl-be;Dutch (Belgium)”
0009 = “en;English”
0409 = “en-us;English (United States)”
0809 = “en-gb;English (United Kingdom)”
0C09 = “en-au;English (Australia)”
1009 = “en-ca;English (Canada)”
1409 = “en-nz;English (New Zealand)”
1809 = “en-ie;English (Ireland)”
1C09 = “en-za;English (South Africa)”
2009 = “en-jm;English (Jamaica)”
2809 = “en-bz;English (Belize)”
2C09 = “en-tt;English (Trinidad)”
0425 = “et;Estonian”
0438 = “fo;Faeroese”
0429 = “fa;Farsi”
040B = “fi;Finnish”
040C = “fr;French (France)”
080C = “fr-be;French (Belgium)”
0C0C = “fr-ca;French (Canada)”
100C = “fr-ch;French (Switzerland)”
140C = “fr-lu;French (Luxembourg)”
043C = “gd;Gaelic”
0407 = “de;German (Germany)”
0807 = “de-ch;German (Switzerland)”
0C07 = “de-at;German (Austria)”
1007 = “de-lu;German (Luxembourg)”
1407 = “de-li;German (Liechtenstein)”
0408 = “el;Greek”
040D = “he;Hebrew”
0439 = “hi;Hindi”
040E = “hu;Hungarian”
040F = “is;Icelandic”
0421 = “in;Indonesian”
0410 = “it;Italian (Italy)”
0810 = “it-ch;Italian (Switzerland)”
0411 = “ja;Japanese”
0412 = “ko;Korean”
0426 = “lv;Latvian”
0427 = “lt;Lithuanian”
042F = “mk;FYRO Macedonian”
043E = “ms;Malay (Malaysia)”
043A = “mt;Maltese” 0414 = “no;Norwegian (Bokmal)”
0814 = “no;Norwegian (Nynorsk)”
0415 = “pl;Polish”
0416 = “pt-br;Portuguese (Brazil)”
0816 = “pt;Portuguese (Portugal)”
0417 = “rm;Rhaeto-Romanic”
0418 = “ro;Romanian”
0818 = “ro-mo;Romanian (Moldova)”
0419 = “ru;Russian”
0819 = “ru-mo;Russian (Moldova)”
0C1A = “sr;Serbian (Cyrillic)”
081A = “sr;Serbian (Latin)”
041B = “sk;Slovak”
0424 = “sl;Slovenian”
042E = “sb;Sorbian”
040A = “es;Spanish (Traditional Sort)”
080A = “es-mx;Spanish (Mexico)”
0C0A = “es;Spanish (International Sort)”
100A = “es-gt;Spanish (Guatemala)”
140A = “es-cr;Spanish (Costa Rica)”
180A = “es-pa;Spanish (Panama)”
1C0A = “es-do;Spanish (Dominican Republic)”
200A = “es-ve;Spanish (Venezuela)”
240A = “es-co;Spanish (Colombia)”
280A = “es-pe;Spanish (Peru)”
2C0A = “es-ar;Spanish (Argentina)”
300A = “es-ec;Spanish (Ecuador)”
340A = “es-cl;Spanish (Chile)”
380A = “es-uy;Spanish (Uruguay)”
3C0A = “es-py;Spanish (Paraguay)”
400A = “es-bo;Spanish (Bolivia)”
440A = “es-sv;Spanish (El Salvador)”
480A = “es-hn;Spanish (Honduras)”
4C0A = “es-ni;Spanish (Nicaragua)”
500A = “es-pr;Spanish (Puerto Rico)”
0430 = “sx;Sutu”
041D = “sv;Swedish”
081D = “sv-fi;Swedish (Finland)”
041E = “th;Thai”
0431 = “ts;Tsonga”
0432 = “tn;Tswana”
041F = “tr;Turkish”
0422 = “uk;Ukrainian”
0420 = “your;Urdu”
042A = “vi;Vietnamese”
0434 = “xh;Xhosa”
043D = “ji;Yiddish”
0435 = “zu;Zulu”

3. Restart your computer to apply the new Language settings.

4. Install your chosen language Windows SP3

from the place you downloaded it earlier.  (If you try to install this before you restart your computer with the new language settings, Windows will give you an error like “Cannot install Service Pack 3 because the system you are installing to is a different language than the Service Pack.”)



5. After successful installation of SP3, restart your computer again for the settings to all take effect.

6. Upon Restart, Windows should now be in the language of your choosing.

You may need to reinstall any applications into the language of your choice as Windows settings don’t necessarily affect the language settings of individual programs (in my case I had to reinstall Internet Explorer 8 in English, and Google Chrome in English).


Some small parts of your OS may still be in the original language (like the Accessories folder), but the majority of it will be in your new chosen language.

7. Success!! You have now successfully changed the language of your Windows XP Operating System!

I used to complain about how Windows made it impossible to change the language of their OS, and that Mac was so much simpler, allowing near instantaneous switching of menu languages and such.  I still think Mac is better, but at least now I don’t need to swear off Windows altogether.

**8. UPDATE** Still need the original language?

Trick your computer into reading other programs in their native language.

Since moving to Jeonju University, I’ve needed to access a Korean computer program and make it read Korean characters. However, after the switch to English, the Korean characters that should have told me student names only showed up as “boxes.” Find out how to fix that in my next post: Trick your Windows XP computer into reading programs in their native language.

What about you?

Has this article helped you out? Do you know of any simpler ways to change languages in Windows? I’ve not played around much with Vista. Do you know how to change languages in Vista?

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50 Responses to “Changing OS Languages in Windows XP”

  1. Getting Windows on my Mac « Jekkilekki’s Home Abroad Says:

    [...] that I would be installing Windows in the Korean language, but I already had plenty of experience changing Windows XP languages after install.  I’d performed numerous Windows XP installs in the States when I worked for [...]

  2. The BEST Mac and Windows Software « Jekkilekki’s Home Abroad Says:

    [...] Change WinXP languages Let’s not forget that sometimes changing Windows languages can be an extremely wonderful thing.  After changing mine from Korean to English, I was more able to do anything I wanted on my computer without the hindrance of attempting to decipher Korean. [...]

  3. Essential Windows XP Tools « Jekkilekki’s Home Abroad Says:

    [...] 2. WinXP Service Pack 3 – Wikipedia says that “A total of 1,174 fixes have been included in SP3″ and this is also an essential requirement for any users wishing to change their Windows XP default and install language. [...]

  4. Different Input and OS languages on your Mac « Aaron Snowberger’s Home Abroad Says:

    [...] some hard drive space (as opposed to WinXP’s default mono-lingual install that requires a different trick to change languages). However, it wasn’t until I went back in to my own system to check [...]

  5. sampath perera Says:

    Hi, It really works. thanks a lot fot posting the article. Best regards.

  6. Mark H Says:

    I appreciate your instructions here and hope they work. I have a quick question. you mentioned to install sp3 after making the changes in the regisgtry and then rebooting. What if sp3 is already installed on the computer? do we need to uninstall it or will it be ok?

    • jekkilekki Says:

      Go ahead and RE-install SP3 over the top of the old installation. It will just rewrite the critical files necessary to change your system OS.

  7. Doan Van Minh Says:

    Huge! that’s great. I have been looking for this for two days, and currently installing the SP3 to change from Russia to English.

    Thank so much for the useful instruction!

  8. Jason de Souza Says:

    Wow, I cannot believe this! For ages I had been searching for a solution and up till now everything that I’d read stated the only option was to re-format and re-install with the new language or a multi-language CD.

    This has saved me so many headaches as I have a bunch of computers to install with Latin-American Spanish and I only have access to an English installation. BTW – re-installing the SP3 with the new language worked perfectly.

    Thank you very much for this brilliant tutorial!

  9. vicocu Says:

    thank you so much…..

  10. Mechell Baradillo Says:

    thank you… I’ve changed dutch winxp to english but some are still not chage like the accessories and the desktop icon names such as My Computer and My document… do you have any suggestion to change it as well? thank you..

  11. Mechell Baradillo Says:

    Regarding vista… I used the Vistalizator ( its a great program… try it

  12. Alok Chandra singh Says:

    Fantastic tweak! Thanks for the Great solution to this trivial issue. Works perfectly.

  13. Hiro Hyodo Says:

    Thanks, it worked. But you wrote:
    Some small parts of your OS may still be in the original language (like the Accessories folder)…
    This happens to my PC. Why? Any solution?

    • jekkilekki Says:

      The reason parts of your OS remain in the original language is because your ACTUAL Operating System IS STILL in the original language. You’ve merely tricked it into installing Service Pack 3 and some updates in your choice language over the top of your original language. But that doesn’t change what’s underneath.

      It’s like if you’re a non-American, but dye your hair, get plastic surgery, and learn English perfectly, then go to New York and get a job, you may successfully convince people that you’re an American. But, it still doesn’t change what’s underneath, and SOME parts won’t completely change (like knowing all the idioms in English).

      If you want a COMPLETE change of EVERYTHING over to your language of choice, then you need to just bust down and buy and install the FULL Windows XP OS in your language of choice. But nobody really wants to do that, so this tweak will work well enough for now.

  14. didi Says:

    Hey, is there anyone who can explain me well the fourth step please.

  15. is150 Says:

    Thank you very-very much…. its been a while since I’ve try to change my windows from German to English.

  16. gerry Says:

    It doesnt allow me to change languages still because it says the installed language is different than that of the update pack!!! And yes – i did the restart b4 and after as the directions stated.

    • jekkilekki Says:

      You need to be sure you change your Install and Default languages in “regedit” before you restart and install SP3 (that’s Step 2 above). Change your Install and Default languages to “new” numbers of your language of choice.

  17. Yeoh Says:

    Thx brother ! My language can successfully to change . Support fully

  18. Greg S Says:

    I’d just like to say you are a breath of fresh air.. Where all others said you could not you showed how easily this could be done. Can’t thank you enough and will be following your updates from hear on in and linking you to all the sites that adamently say it can’t be done. I think though you just need to make sure that both default and installed languages in regedit are edited to whatever language you are trying to change too. I tried your method and recieved error messages when trying to install sp3 untill I also changed installed language setting in regedit to english as well. Other than that you are a Legend……..

  19. Amlou Says:

    Thanks dude for the tip !

  20. max Says:

    Caution……….!! i have tried it to convert German to English and it lead to catastrophe.. computer takes atleast 5 mins to startup n later half of the text is in german n other half in english… some apps take so much time to load .. This tweak is really a risky shot and ofcourse not a good solution to the prob… I request the moderator to take this post off and not let others to fall in same pit i did…

    • jekkilekki Says:

      Granted this IS a tweak. That’s all it is. Microsoft never created Windows XP with the capability to change languages. If you want to change the OS language, you really only have two options:

      1. Buy and install a NEW Windows XP in the language you want.
      2. Try this tweak, at your own risk.

      This tweak is not perfect or error proof, you can still break your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing. But I’m sure you can see from some of the other comments that this tweak is an excellent fix for a very common problem.

  21. max Says:

    To get back to normal just restore the saved “Register Values” and install the compatible service pack (Sp3 preferred ) and then you are back to normal.. Nice article but not the worth to give a try …

    • jekkilekki Says:

      Yes, that’s true. Restore your original “regedit” values and reinstall SP3 in the original language to return to normal. In essence, you change your language just to “trick” XP into allowing you to install a different language SP3 over the top of your original language OS. So, you are not actually changing the OS language, you are merely “tricking” XP into allowing you to install your chosen language files over the top.

  22. Mike Says:

    It crashed my computer and now my comp can’t start up. FYI: beware.

  23. ali Says:

    fantastaic sir i am very thankful to have really solved my i am enjoying windows xp in arabic language.thanx once again

  24. stopwasting mytime Says:

    where do you download other sp3 language versions, ie; Spanish?

  25. sanjay vyas Says:

    Nice article really give knowledge to readers.

  26. Eddie Huang Says:

    Thanks for sharing information, it works for me.

  27. paul Says:

    I tried this and now it wants me to activate windows. Then it errors and says that a problem is preventing windows from accurately checking the license for this computer. Error code 0×80004005. Any ideas?

    • jekkilekki Says:

      If it wants you to activate Windows, then you probably didn’t activate it in the first place, or don’t have a “real” copy. When you install Service Pack 3, it seems like it will check the validity of the Windows installation.

  28. wwwjesusrosascom Says:

    Thank you so much for this tip. I’m now in China and many computers here in different offices are still using Windows XP and obviously in Chinese. I have followed your steps in two different computers at work changing the operating system from Chinese to English. Now I can give my laptop a break and use the computers at work.

    I also tried to find your post titled: “Trick your Windows XP computer into reading programs in their native language”, but I couldn’t find it. Would you mind sharing the link?

    • jekkilekki Says:

      For that trick, I think you basically just restore your Install and Default languages in “regedit” (Step 2 above) to the ORIGINAL OS language settings. Then, SP3 will be installed over the top of the original language in your language of choice – so the files will be in English rather than Chinese, and when you return the Install and Default languages to Chinese, the files will remain in English, but the menus and text areas that rely on the System Language Settings will read in Chinese. Something like that. It’s been over two years since I did this trick.

  29. shonwalker Says:

    Hey thank you for the info, I went from Chinese to English, start menu looks good, starts up in English ok, but when I right click, the drop down menu’s are still in Chinese… Anybody know what else in regedit needs to be switched to English 0409? Thanks in advance!

    • jekkilekki Says:

      The reason SOME parts of the OS stay in Chinese is because this tweak merely “tricks” XP into allowing you to install SP3 in your language of choice. If SP3 has 1,174 fixes, then that means 1,174 items will be converted to English. BUT, the OS underneath is still the same old Chinese. So, whatever SP3 doesn’t fix will still be in Chinese.

      The only way to avoid this is to actually buy the English OS and do a full reinstall over the top of the Chinese OS.

  30. shonwalker Says:

    I think different languages have different tweaks? Maybe?

  31. Ed Morane Says:

    thanks all worked fine other than slight issue with registry, i found that you needed to change the language code in control set 003/004 aswell as 001

    • jekkilekki Says:

      Thanks for the info. Some computers may need to, but the ones at my school didn’t. I think all of our 15 or so computers I tweaked only had 001 in the Control Set.

    • shonwalker Says:

      I went from Chinese to English and my drop down menus are all still in Chinese, think I’ll try this as well.

  32. martin Says:

    Great succes, This outstanding procedure makes it an easy task, it works all the way. I’ve applied it twice on different pc’s, dutch to english and vice versa. thanks

  33. Kap Says:

    I did the same for my xp . My Vaio boots tries to start window and then automatically goes for restart. Any suggestions??

    • jekkilekki Says:

      Hold down your F8 key and boot into Safe Mode, then reset your “regedit” values to the original language values and try to reset. See if that works. If not, you can always insert your original Windows XP disc and do a “Repair Disk” from the boot.

  34. Jaime Says:

    This proved invaluable in helping my Spanish friend. Many thanks.

  35. Andre Says:

    OMG, perfect how-to! Bought a Swiss laptop with French language on it, but due to this it is at least telling me what is wrong with it in English :P. Stil some French words, but have to learn it anyhow someday ;)

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