How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

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windows 8 logo   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8Changing the system language in Windows 8 can be a complicated process, especially if you don’t understand the current language. If you’ve sat down at a Windows computer and found it’s in an unfamiliar language, trying to puzzle out where the language options are located can take a while. This process is now easy and available to everyone on Windows 8 — on Windows 7, you needed the Ultimate edition to do this.

We’ll walk you through the process of changing the Windows system language on Windows, complete with screenshots for every step of the process. If your system is in a different language, just click the options in the same place. How to change system language may be different in different languages, but they’ll be in the same place no matter what your language is. This process also applies to Windows RT.

Open the Language Pane

First, open the charms bar from the desktop. Either press Windows key + C to open it, swipe in from the right on a touch screen, or move your mouse to the top right or bottom right corner of your screen and move it upwards.

charms bar windows 8   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

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Click or tap the Settings option in the charms bar, and then click the Control Panel option. It’s the first option you can click at the top of the screen.

Of course, there are other ways you could open the Control Panel — you could also right-click in the bottom-left corner of the screen to open the system tools menu and select Control Panel, for example.

open control panel from charms   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

Click the Add a Language option under Clock, Language, and Region. If the interface is in another language, just look for the icon containing a globe with a clock in front of it and click the first option in the list under the heading.

windows control panel add a language   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

Add a New Display Language

If you don’t see the language you want to use in the list, click the Add a language option — it’s located at the top-left corner of the language list. If the language you want to add is already in the list, you can skip the next few steps.

windows 8 add a language   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

Select any language you want to install from the list and click the Open button. You can also use the search box at the top-right corner of the window to search for languages in the list.

windows 8 choose a language to add   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

The language you’ve added then appears in the list. You can now use it as an input language, but note that it says “Windows display language: Available for download” next to the new language. This means that you can’t yet use it as your Windows language — you don’t have the necessary support on your computer. To download display language support, you’ll need to click the Options link to the right of the language.

windows 8 language options   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

Click the Download and install language pack link to download the language pack from Microsoft and install it on your computer. It’s the link with a shield icon next to it because installing a new language requires administrator privileges.

download and install language pack   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

A progress bar will appear while Windows downloads and installs the language pack. After the process completes, you may be prompted to restart your computer. After your computer restarts, log in and re-open the Language pane after doing so.

Set Your Display Language

Select the language you want to use and click the Move up button — third from the left — to move it to the top of the list. This makes it your highest-priority language. As long as the appropriate display language support is installed, it will now be used as your display language.

windows language list move up   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

However, your system language won’t change immediately. You’ll need to log out of Windows and log back in for your change to take effect.

To log off, open the Start screen (press the Windows key), click or tap your user name at the top-right corner of the screen, and select the Sign out option. It’s the third option down in the list.

sign out of windows 8   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

Log back in and Windows will be using your new display language. To change your language again, go back into the Language pane, drag a different language to the top of the list, then log out and log back in. You can follow the screenshots above to walk back through the interface and change the language back to English even if you don’t understand the current language — just click the options located in the same places.

windows control panel in french   How To Change The System Language in Windows 8

The system language you set only applies to your specific user account, not for everyone who uses the computer. Every user can select their own language of choice in the Language pane and Windows will switch between languages when users log in.

Note that installing multiple languages can decrease Windows system performance. Only install languages you actually want to use. If you want to uninstall a language, you can do it from the Language pane — just select it and click the Remove button.

Thanks to our readers on MakeUseOf Answers for asking this question and inspiring us to write a more in-depth guide!

Do you have any other questions or comments about Windows 8’s support for multiple languages? Leave a comment!

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12 Comments - Write a Comment



It seems that with installations with some days of use of Windows 8 the addition of new languages isn’t possible, it always says that “these updates cannot be installed” The forums of MSFT are full with people angry with this issue since the only way to get this work it’s by “refreshing” your system…


I tried all of the steps above and it does NOT change the system language nor did it change my display language despite English being the first language on the list and removing Spanish as an entry (the system language was Spanish originally).


Onaje A

Nice, but Windows 7 was easy to install and change.



Same problem as Jordan. No change in the system language, despite everything being set to English. Restart? No change. Log out/Log in? No change.



Same problem. NO change after I did all steps above. I still have German :-(



Looks like the version of windows may say: Windows 8 single language.



When will Microsoft LISTEN to its customers and recall Windows 8? – some of us actually have to work for a living



I follow the steps but the download stops and no error mesage appears


Manu kun

I hate windows 8.1 single language!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


amir nakamaru

thank you very much, that was work. from japanese to english system really thank you very much



Thank you very much.



I have not done the process but it seems like you are not changing the Operating system language but the display language , what am I missing ?

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