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Japanese Software On English Computers

Author: Gunther, Shekdar, Issue: October 2006, Topic: Computers

I am using Notebook PC with English version of Windows XP. I always have problems while using Japanese softwares as I can not read the instructions in the Japanese. Can anyone help in sorting out this problem?


Please follow these steps to solve your problem

  1. Go to control panel.
  2. Regional and language options.
  3. Select the language tab.
  4. Be sure that install files for east asian languages is selected. If you will select this option you will be asked for windows original CD.
  5. Go to advanced from the first dropdown menu make japanese your default language.
  6. The last step will need you to restart your PC.
  7. After restarting, test your program and read the instructions.

Note that you may need to change the default language back if some applications don't run properly.


You need the windows installation disk. Next, in Windows XP you have to go to the "Control Panel" and then Go to "Regional and Language Options". Here you will have the option to change to Japanese. Make sure you cover all the tabs in this window and go through all the sub-options.


1.0 When you change regions in Windows from the English Version to the Japanese version and then install Japanese software, you won't be able to read the menus in all programs. With well written programs that are made for universal use, they will work 90% of the time. The matching of the non-unicode code to the application can be difficult.

2.0 The time and currency will be changed as well, not usually big deal 3.0 Your outlook settings will all be changed and getting the right format for an email takes a while to get set up and fixed

3.0 Just because you changed your region setting, doesn't mean that drivers written for printers, etc. will work with your operating system

Bearing this in mind, if you have a computer with a hd that you can reformat and install everything, I would suggest a couple of partitions with 2 different versions of windows, English and Japanese.

This is just the abbreviated version of this problem. You can search many other people's rants and raves with a simple google search.


I do not recommend to choose "Japanese" as the default "Language for non-Unicode programs" as written above.

As Martin wrote, one will get into a lot of problems. The least annoyance is that henceforth all backslashes in path names will displayed as a Yen-symbol. What is far worse is that when installing new programs, the majority of setup files (including MS's own) look at this Windows setting for deciding in which language to install the program (without giving the user the chance to correct it from Japanese back to English). This is clearly not what this setting should be used for (one would think), but for some reason, even MS does so.

So leave this setting on English. To get Japanese programs running, I recommend to use the "Applocale" Utility:


You have to run all the Japanese programs, including their setup files using applocale with the applications locale set to Japanese. It is not a perfect solution since applocale will always produce an annoying popup window claiming that Applocale is a temporary solution for non-Unicode programs, before starting the program.

See? It is all because of the "bad third-party non-Unicode programmers", when in reality bad MS Windows and ununderstandable MS policies force users to such workarounds, and somehow this whole thing reminds me of DVD regional codes. Is anybody aware of similar problems in Linux?


PS: After a lot of trying around before I found this solution I somehow had some problems with Internet Explorer. I would be able to see Japanese websites only when using Internet Explorer started with Applocale set to Japanese. Fortunately there is also GOOD software available for FREE, and so I use Firefox, which I never had any similar problem with.

PPS: An entirely different solution would be to use a virtual machine running Japanese Windows. http://www.vmware.com/

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