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How to Change the Language on Windows

How to Change the Language on Windows

Learning a new language? Trying to explain how something in Windows works in a foreign tongue? It is relatively easy to make Windows and most applications display everything in the language of your choice. Find out below how to change the language on Windows for all the interface.

First, Walking at Windmills

The land of the Dutch, we know, is filled with windmills: the mills have been used to mill grain, produce electricity, act as anchors in paintings, and claim land from the sea—to put more windmills on it, of course.

Windmills need wind, and so does a curious Dutch word: uitwaaien is an ingenious verb that, as Christopher J. Moore put it in his In Other Words, means “to walk in the wind for fun” (or, more prosaically, “to catch some fresh air“).

Now, want to change the language on Windows for fun, school or business? It’s easy, and, provided the wind is not overly strong, we can do it outside. Let’s… uitwaaien!

How to Change the Interface Language on Windows

To make Windows display menus, window titles, help and more in a different language:

  1. Click the Start button in Windows.
  2. Select Settings (it sports a gear icon).
  3. Open the Time & language category.
  4. Now go to the Region & language sub-category.
  5. Make sure the language you want to use appears in the list under Languages on the Region & language page.
    If you do not see the desired language:

    1. Click Add a language.
    2. Now click the language you want to add to Windows.
      • Tip: Click in the Type a language name… field and start typing the language’s name (or that of a country); you can use the name in the language itself or the English name.
    3. If a list of language variants or dialects appears, click the version you prefer.
    4. Wait for Windows to install the appropriate language pack.
  6. If you see Language pack available under the language you wish to use for Windows:
    1. Click the language.
    2. Now click Options.
    3. Click Download under Download language pack.
    4. Wait for Language pack installed to appear; this means Windows has installed the language pack and is ready for you to change the language.
    5. Click ⬅︎ in the Settings window’s title bar.
  7. Click the language you want to use for the Windows interface and as a preference for applications, apps and websites under Languages.
  8. Click Set as default.
    • Note: This will move the language to the top of the list. If an application or web site, for example, is not available in the first language, Windows will try the second in the list, then the third and so on.
    • Note also: You cannot easily re-sort the list. What you can do is remove languages selectively and adding them back, which moves them to the bottom.
  9. Log out of Windows.
  10. Log back into Windows.

(How to Change the Language on Windows tested with Windows 10; updated September 2017; )

Heinz Tschabitscher

Heinz Tschabitscher

Has been writing about email, communication and technology in an engaging and informative manner since 1997. Find out more.