Multiple languages in Windows Vista/Windows 7

Language packs contain the localized resources for the user interface in Windows. All installations of Windows contain at least one language pack and the language neutral binaries that make up the operating system.
With additional language packs, you can change the display language on your computer so that you can view wizards, dialog boxes, menus, Help topics, and other items in Windows in a different language.

There are two types of language packs:

  • Multilingual User Interface Packs (MUI)
    Windows MUIs provide a translated version of most of the user interface. MUIs are only available with Windows Ultimate or Enterprise. If you are using Windows Ultimate, you can download and install MUIs by using Windows Update. You can also download MUIs from web (language packs in EXE format) and run them directly to install a language.
    All other editions, including Windows Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium and Business/Professional allow only one language been selected and used. These editions also do not provide any user interface to change the default display language.
  • Language Interface Packs (LIP)
    Windows LIPs provide a translated version of the most widely used areas of the user interface. LIPs are freely available to download, and most LIPs can be installed and used on any edition of Windows. Because not all of the user interface is translated, LIPs require at least one parent MUI language, like English or Spanish. The parts of the user interface that are not translated into the LIP language are displayed in the parent language. The parent MUI language pack needs to be installed before the LIP can be installed.

MUI Language packs in Windows

To be able to install MUI language pack(s):

  • a) You are the lucky user of Ultimate/Enterprise edition
  • b) Upgrade your edition to Ultimate - purchase a Windows Anytime Upgrade
  • c) Get a Windows installation DVD in different language and do a clean install of Windows
    (you can use Windows Easy Transfer for all the data and settings)
  • d) Make your own Multilanguage Windows installation DVD and do a clean install of Windows
  • e) Use Vistalizator in Windows Vista or Windows 7 and install languages in a few minutes


  • It is possible to run a MUI language pack on editions other than Ultimate or Enterprise, but the system refuses to install it and does nothing at all.
    To override this limitation to one MUI language, Vistalizator was created.
  • If Windows is installed using a multi-language Windows installation DVD, one can choose which language to use at installation startup (once selected there is no option to change it later).
    In fact all languages from the DVD are installed, but they are not accessible: Vistalizator detects these languages and can switch between them. Furthermore, Windows tries to remove all languages except the installed one, soon after system installation (through Task Scheduler): Vistalizator blocks this behaviour at first startup.
    Of course you can install more languages as usual using Vistalizator.

Installing languages in Windows Ultimate/Enterprise

To install language pack(s) on Windows Ultimate you need to follow these instructions:

  • Click on "Start" menu then select "Control Panel"
  • Under "Clock, Language, and Region" select "Install or uninstall display languages"
  • Click on "Install languages"
  • Locate the folder that contains the language packs (.cab files)
  • Select the desired languages and click on "Next"
  • Accept the License terms and click on "Next"
  • Verify that the desired MUI is listed in the list of the languages and click on "Install"
Changing language on Windows Ultimate

Installing language packs on Windows Ultimate

Another way is to select and install language pack(s) using Windows Update (Ultimate only):

Windows Update

Well, forget it, most probably you don't have Ultimate - use Vistalizator instead.

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