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Enabling East Asian Languages
in Microsoft Windows XP

It's easy to enable East Asian language display in Windows XP. This is required to view most Web pages and documents written in Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) in XP. Windows XP includes five Chinese fonts and several other Asian font sets as well. All you need to do is tell XP to use them.

This step is also required before you can type in Asian languages using input methods like MSPY IME Pinyin keyboard for Chinese simplified characters, the Microsoft New Phonetic IME Pinyin keyboard for Chinese traditional characters or the MSNP IME Zhuyin (Bopomofo) keyboard for Chinese traditional characters.

If after completing the following instructions you still have problems displaying Chinese in some but not all programs or web pages, see my FAQ on changing the default language for non-Unicode programs and web pages.

Windows XP Internet Explorer displaying Yahoo China after enabling East Asian languages

Some Web pages have special self-rendering fonts that require no special setup to be viewed on your system, but in general if you do not have East Asian languages activated you will not be able to view CJK documents.

Don't worry if you've already installed XP, but I should point out that you can enable East Asian languages during installation by clicking this button, which opens the Regional and Language Options control panel:

XP installation - Regional and Language Options

If you've already installed, just follow these easy instructions to get to the same place. You may need your original Windows installation disks available during this process. First, bring up the control panel:

  • Click on the Windows Start menu.
  • Click on Control Panel (if not visible in the menu, click here for help).
  • If in Category View ("Pick a Category"), click on Date, Time, Regional and Language Options, then click Add other languages.
    If in Classic View or menu view, click on Regional and Language Options, then click the Languages tab.

Either way, during or after installation, you've now brought up the Regional and Language Options control panel. Then,

  • Click on the checkbox next to Install files for East Asian languages.
  • Click on the OK button.
  • You may be asked for your Windows XP installation CD.
  • After this process your system will need to restart.

Enabling East Asian languages in the Regional and Language Options control panel

That's all there is to it! Do you also need to create your own documents in Chinese, or learn more about what Windows XP can do in Chinese? Then please visit these pages:

Windows XP Chinese Pinyin input setup
Windows XP Chinese Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input setup
Windows XP Chinese fonts
Windows XP Chinese User Interface (MUI)
FAQ on programs and web pages that still won't display Chinese

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