How to setup english windows 2000 or XP to run in asian locales and to be able see and input multibyte characters

Information provided by Ken Frank, Tools I18N Quality and Testing Team

Contact kfrank@netbeans.org for more information or with comments or questions about these pages.


This is about using English windows or another windows that does not already have fonts and other software that allow using regional settings to be used to choose asian locales like Japanese or Chinese.

This is not about having the translations of windows for these locales; there is separate versions of windows for that.
First of all, this will not make your windows into a localized windows, and you will not usually see menus or windows in other languages nor will you thus need to be able to read or write another language.

Secondly, it takes only 5 to 10 minutes to set up, and never has to be set up again; and I know various developers on different product teams have been using this setup more and more.

This can be helpful for those dealing with i18n issues or development, since issues arise with use of multibyte that don't always show when using locales like european ones; thats why these instructions emphasize asian locales.
Same principles apply to running in non Asian locales.

Steps below refer to w2000 and xp same in general but some regional settings dialogs and items are slightly different than on 2000 and some differences will be noted.

Having the additional locales does not increase size used that much and does not affect anything on your machine or environment when you run in english locale. Setting up to run in other locales on Solaris and Linux

There are related docs about how to setup and run on a solaris that has other locales installed - these docs will be coming to the wiki soon.

For adding locales to linux, install those locale specific rpms and the asian fonts and input tools or you can choose to add them later using yast2 or your install disks. Then log in to the locale of interest, and its almost completely set up; I'll need to check and see if any additional steps are needed.

Often, the installer will allow these kind of choices to be made as to which locales you want installed. Steps for setting up for windows

To install asian fonts and input tools on windows

   *   get your Windows OS disk
   * go to some web page in IE browser that shows Chinese fonts like cn.yahoo.com
   * choose view->encoding->more->simplified chinese (make sure its simplified chinese, not traditional as we are choosing mainland China now.
   * popup appears asking if you want to install language pack

(if its already installed, then popup won't appear)

   * choose install and then when asked insert the windows OS disk
   * windows should find the needed fonts and other files and install them.
         o you may need to explicitly point to dir where fonts are if can't be found automatically.
   * repeat steps above for japanese go to yahoo.co.jp choose view->encodings->Japanese autoselect item (you might need to choose view->encoding->more to see this item)

(if japanese(autoselect) does not cause popup to appear then choose japanese (euc) and follow steps above

   *  reboot machine just to be sure.

      Set regional settings for locale and keyboard

After setup has been done, then just set the locale/language you want in language dropdowns of both the first (Regional Settings) AND third (Advanced) tabs of the regional settings window (invoked from control panel) It's important to set the same value in both of these tabs. Reboot is needed. This section is for xp and windows 2000 and vista.
lets use simplified chinese as example

control panel->regional settings - has several tabs

   * general tab - your locale - choose Chinese PRC

choose apply

   * In any of these operations, do NOT choose Traditional Chinese, that is Taiwan and a different locale entirely.  (of course the similar kind of steps can be done for Tawian regional settings; we are just using this regional setting as an example)

This will set your default locale to be simplified chinese but of course os messages and windows will still be in english since this is not a localized os, which is good as we still want to see os messages in english.

   *  input locales tab - choose Add ...
   *  in popup choose Chinese PRC as locale and Chinese (simplified - Zheng Ma as the Keyboard layout/IME

choose apply

   * make sure to choose Zheng Ma and not US keyboard here.

   * after you download fonts/tools for Japanese, you can repeat these steps using for general tab choose Japanese and in input locales tab choose Japanese  Japanse input system (IME-2000) ((at least on my w2000) (not US keyboard)

choose apply

   *  whichever locale choice is made in general tab is now the current locale as viewed by the OS and you can now run in that other locale after doing step 7.

additional important steps !!!

additional important step for w2000

   * on first tab, choose set default in lower left under language settings for the system
   * in the popup "Select System Locale, choose the same locale as was chosen at the top of the first tab under your locale for example, if you chose Simplified Chinese (PRC) in first tab, choose the same choice here
   * Maybe the first time, but definitely the second and later times you change this choice to one you have changed before, it will ask you 2 questions in popups, the questions are something like
   * do you want to use already installed files - yes or no ? answer yes
   * do you want to reboot machine (it needs that to take effect) answer yes

Additional important step for XP

   * choose the advanced tab of the regional settings and then choose "Language for non-Unicode programs" section popup - choose the very same locale/lang you chose in step 1) for example, if you chose Simplified Chinese (PRC) in first tab, choose the same choice here
   * Maybe the first time, but definitely the second and later times you change this choice to one you have changed before, it will ask you 2 questions in popups, the questions are something like
   * do you want to use already installed files - yes or no ? answer yes
   * do you want to reboot machine (it needs that to take effect) answer yes


Vista steps -using Japanese locale as an example.

   * 1. Open Regional Settings using Control Panel. There will be 4 tabs
   * 2. On Formats tab select Japanese (Japan)
   * 3. On Location tab choose Japan for Current Location
   * 4. On Administrative tab press Change system locale
   * 5. Select Japanese (Japan) from the dropdown for Current system location
   * 6. Press Apply

for all systems/os - do the following after setting the choices:

   *  choose ok for all dialogs
   * reboot if it asks if you want to reboot

--> These steps are important to ensure that some other parts of windows OS view the assigned locale correctly - this does not happen with just basic locale setting.

   *  reboot to make sure in all cases  and in fact, after doing the changing of regional settings, you will need to reboot for it all to take effect, and its probably a good idea to reboot in any case.

setting whole OS to another locale via regional settings is better than starting ide while in english locale with netbeans lang/region/encoding args like --locale since product also deals with other servers and databases, and we want all of these to have sense of other locale, not just the ide.

Also, this more clearly emulates what typical user of a language specific windows will have.

(that is, don't start ide with the -J-D lang/locale/encoding related args)

How to input basic multibyte

This section is not meant to be a tutorial or how to on how to input multibyte characters, only for very basic usage and testing for those who do not normally use these languages or the related input tools.

   * aa. The best way for limited use is just to cut and paste !

* Using wordpad

   * aa1. start wordpad
   * aa2. choose insert->date time
   * aa3. choose some format in the popup that has multibyte as part of it
   * aa4. now you can copy some of this text and paste into ide as needed.
   * bb. Or, get some text from a browser on page of other language

for example, using Chinese locale as example, browse to cn.yahoo.com and get some page that has text that can be copied and pasted.

Make sure IE view->encoding says Simplified Chinese.

Same approach for japanese, go to www.yahoo.com.jp

Then just copy some text and paste it into ide where needed.

* Using windows input tools - this will vary depending on if using w2000 or XP

   * these steps were done on w2000 in Simplified Chinese locale.
   * in right corner of windows is some icon like EN or a red dot or a red/white/blue circle, depending on which input tab item set to default.
   * click left on it and you see choice of which input tools to use - EN, Japanese (red dot) or Chinese (red/white/blue circle)
   * choose the red/white/blue circle  - on left side bottom is a small toolbar appears (maybe on right side)
   * open wordpad and leave cursor focus there
   * You may need to rechoose on right side, the red/white/blue circle.
   * in wordpad, type some letter like t
   * you should see a popup with some multibyte and numbers - this helps you build a multibyte string
   * choose 1 and you see the multibyte letter now in wordpad
   * go to another line and type letter "tack" and you see an evolving string appear and then a final popup asking to choose 1 or 2 - choose 1 and another multibyte string appears. (dont type the quotes in "tack" )

   * what if I want to now type ascii characters ?

go to the rectangular tool that has as its leftmost icon the red/white/blue circle and click on it - it changes to an A

now you can type ascii.

It might bebetter to return to this ascii mode once you are done typing the chinese characters if your typical environment is using english characters

Using Windows input tool for Japanese

   *   for japanese, its a different tool with some different ways of invoking it; both these tools have many many options and styles of input, and really, cut and paste can suffice for what we need to do.
   * be in ja locale, that is, regional settings have been set as per previous instructions
   * on xp, the lower right footer has a blue box, maybe has en or jp or ch in it
   * left click and choose jp
   * notice that there is to right of jp, some red circle like icon, and to right of it, letter A
   * open a wordpad
   * left click on the A and choose the next to the top item (has letter K)
   * the letter A changes to some multibyte
   * go to wordpad and type these letters

(you might need to focus in the wordpad first or rechoose the jp and K item under the A.


   * a popup appears with some choices of some multibyte
   * double click on the second one
   * those letters are now in wordpad
   * go back to the lower right, and left click where the letter A had been, now choose the next to last item (with a letter D)
   * then left click on the jp and choose en
   * you can save the wordpad file which now has multibyte.
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