Languages overview

Note

To add a language to your personal PC, go to Settings > Time & Language > Language, and choose a language to install. Learn more.

You can add languages and regional support to Windows 10 and Windows 11 (except for Home Single Language and Home Country Specific editions), and Windows Server.

Windows installations start with at least one language pack and its language components. You can add:

  • Language packs: Localization packages for Windows.

    • Delivered as a .cab file, for example, Microsoft-Windows-Client-Language-Pack_x64_es-es.cab.
    • Includes UI elements like text for dialog boxes, menu items, and help files.
  • Language Interface Packs (LIPs): Partially-localized language pack. Requires a base language pack:

    • Starting with Windows 11, five LIP languages (ca-ES, eu-ES, gl-ES, id-ID, vi-VN) are available as cabs and usable for imaging. The remaining 67 LIP languages can be acquired using the Settings app after logging in, but can't be used for system imaging.
    • From Windows 10, version 1809, through Windows 10, version 21H1, LIPs are delivered as Local Experience Packs (LXPs) .appx files, for example, LanguageExperiencePack.am-et.neutral.appx.
    • For versions of Windows 10 prior to Windows 10, version 1809, LIPs are delivered as .cab files, for example, C:\Languages\ca-ES\lp.cab.
  • Language features: Language features include language:

    • Basics (like spell checking)
    • Fonts
    • Optical character recognition
    • Handwriting
    • Text-to-speech
    • Speech recognition.

    You can save disk space by choosing not to include some language components in your image. While this reduction in image size can be helpful when creating images for devices with limited storage, it does lead to an incomplete language experience. Delivered as .cab files, for example, Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-fr-fr-Package.cab.

  • Recovery languages: UI text for the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). Delivered as .cab files. Example: lp.cab, WinPE-Rejuv_fr-fr.cab, and more.

Get language resources: Languages and Optional Features ISO

Tip

Starting with Windows 11, the Language pack ISO and the Features on Demand ISO have been replaced by the combined Languages and Optional Features ISO.

  • OEMs and System Builders with Microsoft Software License Terms can download the Languages and Optional Features ISO from the Microsoft OEM site or the Device Partner Center.

    • As of Windows 11, the number of language pack-supported languages has increased from 38 to 43 to include 5 LIP languages (ca-ES, eu-ES, gl-ES, id-ID, vi-VN). The remaining 67 LIP languages will be available only as .appx packages and can be acquired using the Settings app after logging in.
    • For Windows, version 1803 to Windows 10, version 21H1, LIP .appx files and their associated license files are in the LocalExperiencePack folder on the Language Pack ISO.
    • For Windows 10, version 1709, and earlier, Language Interface Packs are available as a separate download.
    • WinRE language packs are distributed on the Languages and Optional Features ISO. Don't use the WinPE language packs that ship with the ADK.
  • IT Professionals can download language packs from the Microsoft Next Generation Volume Licensing Site.

  • After Windows is installed, users can download and install more languages by selecting Settings > Time & language > Language > Add a language.

    Note

    Starting with Windows 11, non-administrator user accounts can now add both a display language and its corresponding language features.

Note

  • Language components must match the version of Windows. For example, you can't add a Windows 10, version 1809 language pack to Windows 10, version 1803.
  • Windows Server: Full language packs are not interchangeable with Windows 10.

Considerations

  • Install languages, then updates and apps. If you're adding languages to an image that already contains apps or updates (for example, servicing stack updates (SSU) or a latest cumulative update (LCU), reinstall the apps and updates.

    Important

    After you install a language pack, you have to reinstall the latest cumulative update (LCU). If you do not reinstall the LCU, you may encounter errors. If the LCU is already installed, Windows Update does not offer it again. You have to manually install the LCU.

  • Care is required when installing languages to an image that includes FODs with satellite packages. When FODs have satellite packages, the localized text for the feature may be carried in a satellite package rather than the language pack or primary FOD package. Specific steps must be followed when adding languages to an image that includes these FODs.

    • Starting with Windows 11, you can either use the Languages and Optional Features ISO as a FOD and language repository, or create a custom repository.
    • Starting in Windows 10, version 2004, the default Windows 10 image includes several FODs with language resources in satellite packages. Before adding languages, you must first build a custom FOD and language repository to ensure that the appropriate satellite packages are pulled in when the language is added.
    • For versions of Windows 10 earlier than 2004, this is typically only a concern when you have added a FOD with satellite packages. A best practice here is to add languages first, then FODs.
  • Servicing changes starting Windows 11

    • The number of language pack supported languages has increased from 38 to 43 and now includes 5 LIP languages (ca-ES, eu-ES, gl-ES, id-ID, vi-VN).
    • All languages (43 LP languages) supported for manufacturing will be serviced by LCU. LIP languages were not serviced by LCU previously.
  • Size and performance

    • You can install multiple languages and components onto the same Windows image. Having too many affects disk space, and can affect performance, especially while updating and servicing Windows.
    • LXP-backed language packs are smaller than their Lp.cab-backed counterparts.
    • When creating Windows images, you can remove English language components when deploying to non-English regions to save space. You'll need to uninstall them in the reverse order from how you add them.
    • Starting Windows 11, the default System UI Language set by DISM is left unaltered on all editions except the Home edition. For all commercial editions the language chosen during the Out of Box Experience (OOBE) is set as the System Preferred UI language and Windows will be displayed in this language and for Home SKU the language chosen at OOBE will continue to be the default System UI Language.
    • In Windows 10, 21H1 and earlier, after the Out-Of-Box-Experience (OOBE) is complete, the default language cannot be removed. The default UI language is selected either during the Out-Of-Box-Experience (OOBE), or can be preselected in the image using DISM or an unattended answer file.
    • Some time after OOBE, any pre-installed languages that haven't been used are removed automatically.
  • Cross-language upgrades are not supported. This means that during upgrades or migrations, if you upgrade or migrate an operating system that has multiple language packs installed, you can upgrade or migrate to the system default UI language only. For example, if English is the default language, you can upgrade or migrate only to English.

To save space, you can remove English language components when deploying to non-English regions by uninstalling the language components in the reverse order from how you add them.

Build a custom FOD and language pack repository

Tip

If you're using Windows 11, you can use a mounted Languages and Optional Features ISO directly as a repository and don't need to create a custom repository.

If your image contains FODs with language resources in satellite packages you must build a custom FOD and language pack repository before adding language packs to ensure the language resources for each FOD are pulled in. If you fail to do this correctly, these features will not be localized. Starting with Windows 10, version 2004, this includes features such as Notepad, WordPad, MsPaint, and PowerShell ISE included in the image by default.

  • If your image doesn't include any FODs with language resources in satellite packages you add the FODs and language packs directly from the FOD ISOs.

  • Starting with Windows 11, you can use a mounted Languages and Optional features ISO as a FOD and language pack repository and don't need to manually create your own. You only need to follow the steps in this section if you're:

    • Working with a previous version of Windows that includes satellite FODs, or
    • You want to build a custom FOD and language pack repository.

Consider the following when creating a custon FOD and language pack repository.:

  • If the size of the repository is not a concern, simply copy the entire contents of the FOD ISO and all language packs into the same directory.
  • For a minimally sized repository, use the /export-source switch with DISM to export just the FODs included in your image that have satellite packages and any other FODs you'd like to add. Copy all language packs of interest into the same directory.

In the following example, we'll build a minimally sized FOD and language pack repository.

  1. Mount the Language Pack ISO and the Features on Demand ISO with File Explorer. This will assign them drive letters.

  2. From a Command Prompt, use DISM to export all FODs included in your image that have satellite packages, from the FOD ISO. If you know which languages you intend to add, you can include the associated language features too:

    dism /image:"C:\mount\windows" /export-source /source:d: /target:c:\repository
    /capabilityname:App.StepsRecorder~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Microsoft.Windows.MSPaint~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Microsoft.Windows.Notepad~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Microsoft.Windows.PowerShell.ISE~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Microsoft.Windows.WordPad~~~~0.0.1.0
    /Capabilityname:Print.Fax.Scan~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Print.Management.Console~~~~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.Basic~~~fr-FR~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.Handwriting~~~fr-FR~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.OCR~~~fr-FR~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.Speech~~~fr-FR~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.TextToSpeech~~~fr-FR~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.Basic~~~lb-LU~0.0.1.0
    /capabilityname:Language.Handwriting~~~lb-LU~0.0.1.0
    

    Where D:\ is the mount location for the Feature on Demand ISO

  3. Copy the language packs of interest into the local repository. In this example, all language packs are copied.

    copy E:\x64\langpacks\* c:\repository\
    

    Where E:\ is the mount location for the Language Pack ISO

You now have a custom FOD and language pack repository that you can use a source when you add FODs with /DISM /add-capability.