Windows 10 Japanese OS to English language?
May 20, 2020 6:44 PM   Subscribe

How effective is the language change setting on Windows 10? I would like to have an English OS, but the computers I'm looking at are offered only with Japanese Windows 10.

I'm looking to buy a new computer, but, being in Japan, options for English language OS are few and far between. Currently, I'm looking at a Dell Inspiron (I've had good experiences with Dell in the past), and, after a chat with their support, they said that the option for English OS is only available with their XPS series (which is fine and nice, but also several hundreds of dollars more expensive, and frankly more than I need).

I've heard Windows 10 has done a much better job of allowing display language change than previous editions, but I would like to know how deep it goes into the OS, which I can't seem to find online. If, for example, I have to wrestle with things in the control panel (ah... printer settings), will those still end up being in Japanese? I guess being stuck with a Japanese OS pc won't kill me, but it would be nice to be able to have it all in English, if that's possible.

(Note, I know Apple does this much better, and has for years, but I'm not looking for an Apple computer at the moment.)
posted by Ghidorah to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I don't have firsthand experience changing the Windows display language (though my understanding is the same as yours, that it is much easier to do and more comprehensive), but if all else fails you could pave over the installation of Windows it came with using the media creation tool. The license should be baked into the firmware on new computers and it should be language agnostic. (I'm pretty sure you'd be fine with the built-in language customization support though.)
posted by Aleyn at 7:17 PM on May 20, 2020

I got a new Windows 10 computer last year and switched the language setting from Japanese to English right away. It was easy and everything seems to be covered by it, though I don't have a printer hooked up so I can't answer that specifically. Network troubleshooting menus and the control panel are all English.
posted by emmling at 8:29 PM on May 20, 2020

I've got English Windows 10 and if you set your display language to Japanese then everything becomes Japanese so it should work the same in reverse.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:34 PM on May 20, 2020

I am in the process of ordering a refurbished computer with Windows 10 on Amazon Japan and a friend called them and asked if they could change the OS to English before they shipped it to me and they were more than happy to do it! So it seems like it is pretty easy (finally) to do this! I ended up completely wiping a desktop I purchased at a HardOff because I couldn't get the language changed and ended up deleting all the drivers to even get on the internet, and well, it was a mess. :)
posted by stormygrey at 12:11 AM on May 21, 2020

I went Polish to English on a Lenovo. The occasional install menu is still in Polish, and a few native drivers (sound for example) but I haven't seen artefacts otherwise.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 6:00 AM on May 21, 2020

Note there's also the "Language for non-Unicode programs" setting in Windows which determines the locale used for Windows XP-era apps. This might be what was happening to I claim sanctuary.

I think you should be fine.
posted by neckro23 at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bingo, neckro23, that was still set to Polish for me. Thank you for fixing that niggling issue!
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:39 PM on May 22, 2020

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