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Add a Language Pack to Change the Display Language in Windows 10

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In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to add a language pack to change the UI language in Windows 10.

It’s long been possible to change the display interface language in Windows to view menus, dialog boxes, and other user interface items in a language other than that of the base install. The base language of the OS is chosen during the out-of-box user experience phase of setup when you start the device for the first time. But later you can change the display language.

You can download Multilingual User Interface (MUI) language packs using the Settings app in Windows 10. Some language packs require English as the default base language, and others can be installed on top of any base language. For details about the available languages, see Microsoft’s website here.

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Download and install a language pack

Language packs in Windows 10 are installed per user. The following instructions don’t make a system wide configuration change, so first decide which user requires a different language, and if they’re not already, temporarily make the user a local administrator.

If you’re not sure whether the user is a member of the Administrators group, have the user log in and follow the instructions below:

  • Type cmd and press ENTER in the search box on the taskbar.
  • Type whoami /groups and press ENTER.
  • Check for Administrators in the groups listed.

If BUILTIN\Administrators is not in the list, make the user an administrator as follows:

  • Log on as a local administrator.
  • Right-click the Start button and select Computer Management from the menu.
  • In the Computer Management MMC, expand Local Users and Groups, and click Users.
  • In the right pane of Computer Management, double-click the user you want to add to the Administrators group.
  • In the user account’s dialog box, switch to the Member Of tab.
  • Click Add, and in the box at the bottom of the Select Groups dialog, type administrators and click OK.
  • Click OK in the properties dialog.

Now the user has been added to the local admins group. Have the user log in again.

Add a MUI Language Pack in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Add a MUI Language Pack in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
  • Open the Start menu and click Settings.
  • In the Settings app, click the Time & language icon.
  • In the list of options on the left, click Region & language.
  • If the language you need is not already listed, click Add a language.
  • Select a language from the list. It might take a few minutes to install.
  • On the TIME & LANGUAGE screen, click the language in the list and then click Options.
  • On the Language options screen, click Download under Download language pack. The download process might take a few minutes.
  • Once the language pack has downloaded, sign out of the user session.
Add a MUI Language Pack in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Add a MUI Language Pack in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

When the user signs back in, the user interface will be displayed in the recently downloaded language. Windows Store apps will only change to the new language when they are next updated. And don’t forget to remove the user from the Administrators group using Computer Management.

 

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.

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