How to Change the System Language in Windows 8

Chris Hoffman Updated 01-11-2017

Changing 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 How to Safely Upgrade to Windows 10 and Downgrade Back to Windows 7 or 8.1 Again Still using Windows 7 or 8.1? We'll show you how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. We'll also explain how you can roll back to your old Windows version. Read More 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 Windows RT - What You Can & Can't Do Windows RT edition was discreetly launched about a month and a half ago with the flagship Microsoft Surface RT tablet device. Though visually indistinguishable from Windows 8, there are some key differences as to what... Read More .

Open the Language Pane

First, open the Charms bar 6 Retired Windows Features We'd Rather Forget Windows has gone through a lot of features over the years. Here are a few nobody really misses. Do you remember them? Read More from the desktop, as seen on the right edge in the screenshot below.

how to change system language

To bring up the Charms bar, either press Windows key + C Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More to open it, swipe in from the right on a touchscreen 5 Ways to Add Touch to a Windows 8 Computer Windows 8's Start screen and "Modern" apps can feel awkward to use on a non-touch PC, but they really start to make sense when paired with a touch PC. If you're not ready to go... Read More , or move your mouse to the top right or bottom right corner of your screen and move it upwards.

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 Every Windows 8 Shortcut - Gestures, Desktop, Command Line Windows 8 is all about shortcuts. People with touch-enabled PCs use touch gestures, users without touch devices must learn the mouse shortcuts, power users use keyboard shortcuts on the desktop and novel command-line shortcuts, and... Read More and select Control Panel, for example.

change system language 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.

change system language 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.

change system language 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 system language


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 system language

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.

windows 8 system language


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.

change 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 username at the top-right corner of the screen, and select the Sign out option. It’s the third option down in the list.

change 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.

how to change system language

Wrapping Up Your Windows Language

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 How Windows Performance Is Affected by Hardware & Software In theory, 32-bit software could outperform its 64-bit counterpart, depending on the hardware setup. Sounds complicated? We're here to make sense and help you get the best performance out of your system. Read More . 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.

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

Updated by Tina Sieber.

Related topics: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Customization.

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  1. Rina Salami Magar
    August 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I have tried this method to change language from deutch to english but I was failed many times.. so that can you help anyone to setup my computer's language??

  2. Rhemz Carrero
    November 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    How to change my start windows menu to english? It is in chinese character. The other program files is in english character.. can you help me with this? Thanks

  3. raj
    November 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

    By mistake I bought a laptop with US keyboard that has English UK as the the only language (Windows 8x64 SL). It will always be my default language. I added English US from the list (as described above), but at every start-up I have to set the language manually to Eng US. How can Microsoft import laptops/CD's with Eng UK in to a country where only US keyboard is used.

    If you are a Windows single language user, you will have to pay to get the language pack.

  4. Mahammed
    October 30, 2017 at 2:29 am

    What if your language is not available? How do you add your language into the available languages?

  5. Ole Bloch
    September 10, 2017 at 4:38 am

    This was a very good and useful explanation!
    Thank you very much to the author!

  6. Jude
    March 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm


    February 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

    i tried all the steps above but am still encountering difficulties. my language installed in my PC is italian but it the link to download the language pack did not display and the message displaying is check for availability. please i need answer.

  8. tahir
    November 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    how to change whole window in only one language? english uk?
    I select only one language in language panel but watching two languages in different apps

  9. lizel
    June 30, 2016 at 11:26 am

    nothing's changed? is there any other option? i tried your instruction how many times but nothingchanged :\

  10. Jimmy
    April 13, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Worked super well. Thanks a lot !!

  11. Anonymous
    July 16, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    why dont change

  12. Anonymous
    July 13, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    T.Y. usefull info

  13. Anonymous
    July 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    thanks man you are awesome. Thank you for taking your time with me :D

  14. Jader
    May 22, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Thank you!

  15. Trish
    May 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Worked great, the screen shots were especially helpful. And I have Windows 8.1. Thank you!

  16. Dalix
    May 6, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Do these instructions work for windows 8 .1 as well?

    • Tom
      May 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm


    April 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    it works great.. thanks man for sharing..!!

  18. Cjay
    April 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

    i cant change my computer to English because its in labone

  19. Anonymous
    April 1, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you very much that was helpful

  20. Marcos
    April 1, 2015 at 7:54 am

    I had some of the problems mentioned in the above comments at first, and I think I've figured out why it works for some and not for others: I believe that if you go through the initial device setup steps (the right-out-of-the-box steps) without being connected to the internet, and you try to change your primary language at that time, then it tricks the system into thinking that it has installed that language pack when in fact it has not.

    In my case I selected US English at setup on a Japanese computer. When I got to the Control Panel as instructed above, US English was already an option on my languages selection window, but it didn't change anything when I made it my primary language. It also had no option to download, so I assumed it was already installed and just not working.

    However, once I deleted US English, then selected it again from the list and actually downloaded it, THEN it worked just as described above. Now it's working fine.

    Also, note about the download process for me: There was a point at which the progress bar ended and went blank again. It looked like it was finished, because it was blank and nothing was happening on screen, but in fact it was installing. I wonder if that isn't causing problems for some people, if they think the download is finished?

  21. Allison
    March 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

    This stupid computer was too expensive. Turned it on and everything is in German. It just says about English Language that it is ^not available^ as far as I can figure out using google translate. I followed all the steps and it just didn't work. I'm so fed up with Microsoft. And what are the alternatives available to me in this world?? Microsoft just dominates the market and then this shit. Screw this, may as well go Linux.

  22. Gamesnation
    March 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Absolute legend like.
    Thank you for your hard work

  23. wahedi
    March 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks Man! You saved half of my life :D I owe you a treat :P

  24. umair mahmood
    March 3, 2015 at 7:38 am

    i have Italian language but English is not included in given optional languages how to add English language please help ..... urgent please

  25. Ivo
    February 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the excellent instructions! Now, how do you change the language of system messages (the ones that appear on a blue background, e.g. "Restarting..." or "Welcome")?

  26. S
    February 4, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks.... Great! Worked like a charm

  27. Fora
    January 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I changed the language successfully, but new programs have installers in another language, actually the language of my location, So I changed my location, restarted but installation screens are still not in English. I did set English for uni-code programs as well.

    • Jones
      January 27, 2015 at 11:38 am

      I have the exact same problem.. Did you find a fix?

  28. Džouzef
    January 15, 2015 at 1:09 am

    GREAT! Much better than Windows help site! ;)

  29. Ian Firth
    January 14, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Thanks just changed dutch into english - took a while to download the language pack but all good now cheers

  30. Caswell
    January 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Thank you for the directions....appreciate it, i applied and it's works.

  31. ll in US
    December 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Oh my gosh thank you!! I did a prank I shouldn't have and couldn't fix it except for this. Thank you, this was very helpful and kept me from crying!

    • Arian
      January 5, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      what is that prank you applied? share it with us!

  32. hakim
    December 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    No change in sys lang

  33. stsxwz
    December 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    thank you very much

  34. Collie
    December 16, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    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 ?

  35. AliSher
    December 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Thank you very much.

  36. amir nakamaru
    December 10, 2014 at 9:05 am

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

  37. Manu kun
    December 16, 2013 at 1:02 am

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

  38. constantinos
    December 15, 2013 at 12:10 am

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

  39. sb
    November 27, 2013 at 11:35 am

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

  40. j
    November 17, 2013 at 1:31 am

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

    • som lal
      January 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      same here not changing

  41. Imre
    October 20, 2013 at 7:51 pm

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

    • Arian
      January 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      I have got the same problem!!! :(

  42. MMartin
    October 20, 2013 at 2:41 am

    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.

  43. Onaje A
    July 4, 2013 at 3:02 am

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

  44. Martín
    July 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    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...

    • Jordan
      September 24, 2013 at 7:14 am

      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).