How do I install Indic language support on my PC?
February 15, 2006 12:52 PM   Subscribe

WindowsFilter: how can I install complex language support on my PC without a CD?

When Windows was installed on my computer by the good people of Best Buy several years ago, they neglected to install support for Asian languages as part of it. Unfortunately, I no longer have my installation CD, and no one I know seems to have one either. I've been trying to solve this problem for months now: how can I install Indic language support without paying for another copy of Windows?
posted by anjamu to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Best answer: What version of Windows? Depending on which, you may actually have your setup files whether you know it or not.

The registry remembers where the setup files were located - usually D: for your CD-ROM. If you have the files on disk, you can modify your registry to tell the system to look on C: (your hard drive) for the files.

If 9x, look for a folder named "Win95", "Win98" or "cabs" on your computer. Should have your setup files cached there (not common for 9x, as the hard drive size was small enough back then that it didn't do this by default.)

If NT/2K/XP, look for a folder named "I386". Will likely be hidden/system.

In either case, you can force the system to look for these files locally by changing your install path from D: to C: in the registry:
run regedit --> HKEY-LOCAL-MACHINE --> Software --> Microsoft --> Windows --> CurrentVersion --> Setup. Look for the key "SourcePath", double-click to edit it. Change it to "C:" and then reboot. Try the Windows Add-Remove Software control panel again, choose "Windows Setup" and go from there. If it lets you add the languages, great.

If not, this functionality may be part of Office and not Windows. In that case you're out of luck without an Office disk. Your only option at this point is probably to find a disk somewhere. Take it back to Best Buy and have them install it, if you must.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:31 PM on February 15, 2006

Any computer that can do unicode can handle it, provided you've got fonts with the appropriate glyphs in the right place. What you'll need is a copy of a font with extended character entries. I know that Microsoft Office 2k and up ships with a version of Arial that's full of unicode characters. Here's what it looks like with Indic characters.

Unicode fonts have hundreds (thousands) more glyphs than standard fonts, so usually you'll find them within certain subset ranges... for example, Arial (Vietnamese) or Arial (Gujarati). There are a couple of huge single-font files that cover broad ranges (like the aforementioned Microsoft Arial Unicode), but they obviously would like you to buy their software before you can use it.

I think a good Googling for arialuni.ttf might be productive.

Alternatively, you can find other fonts with the common Indic languages (some free for download) here.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2006

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