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Add Language Packs to Windows

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

To design PCs that work better for customers in different regions, you can set up Windows with the right set of local languages, settings, and keyboards or other input devices. For an overview, see Language Packs ( and Windows Deployment.

All installations of Windows® 8 contain the language-neutral binaries that make up the core operating system and at least one language pack. Language packs contain resources that are specific to a particular language, and they are used to localize the user interface (UI). Because the language resources for the UI are in a language pack and are separate from the binary code of the core operating system, you can change the UI language without changing the core binaries of the operating system. You can also install multiple languages in the same Windows image.

As you plan a multilingual deployment, it is important to understand the different types of language packs that are available and how they differ. For example, some language packs depend on another language pack to fully localize the UI.

This topic includes:

  • Language Pack Types

  • Language Pack Installation

  • The Lang.ini file

  • The Language-Pack Removal Task

Language Pack Types

There are two types of language packs: a language pack and a language interface pack (LIP). Language packs and LIPs localize the operating system UI. The only differences between a language pack and a LIP are license restrictions and the level of resources that are included.

Type Are all necessary resources in the language pack? Are all resources localized in that language? Are there requirements? Availability and usage

Language pack

Contains 100 percent of the resources that are necessary to localize the UI.

Some of a language-pack resources might be localized in a language other than the language-pack language. For example, some resources in a Danish language pack might be localized in Danish while the remaining resources are localized in English.

Language packs require the appropriate license.

Language packs are available for all editions of Windows through volume licensing programs. For more information, see the Microsoft Volume Licensing Site.

Language packs for Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) are available on the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) media.


(also known as a partial language pack)

Contains a subset of the resources necessary to localize the UI.

All language resources in a LIP are localized in the LIP language.

LIPs do not require a license.

Because only a subset of the resources are included in a LIP, a language pack (or parent language*) must be installed before you can install a LIP.

You can download LIPs from the Web site and apply them to any genuine copy of Windows.

LIPs are partially localized language packs for emerging or minority language markets where a fully localized version of Windows is not available. For more information, see Local Language Program.

*A parent language is a language pack that contains either fully localized or partially localized resources. The parent language can be different from the base language.

Language Packs

Although language packs include a full set of language resources, for some languages not all of the language resources are localized in the specified language. In this case, the language pack is referred to as a partially localized language pack. For example, in the French language pack, all of the resources inside the language pack are localized into French. In the Greek (Greece) language pack, the majority of the language resources are localized in Greek and the remaining language resources are in English, where English is referred to as the base language.

To provide a full UI, a partially localized language pack includes a base language to localize those parts of the interface that are not localized by a partially localized language pack.


Corporations and users can download LIPs from the download center. OEMs and system builders can get the LIPs from the OEM and system builder dedicated download center. Most LIPs can be installed and used on any edition of Windows.

Because not all of the language resources for the user interface are included in a LIP, LIPs require at least one language pack (or parent language). A parent language pack provides support for a LIP. The parts of the UI that are not translated into the LIP language are displayed in the parent language. In countries or regions where two languages are commonly used, you can provide a better user experience by applying a LIP over a language pack.

For more information about supported language packs, LIPs, and parent languages, see Available Language Packs for Windows.

The following figure shows the different types of language packs and language-pack configurations:

Language Pack Installation

Before you add additional language packs to a Windows image, you should determine the following:

  • Which languages, regional languages, and fonts the Windows installation needs to support

  • Whether the languages require a parent language, input method editors (IMEs), alternative keyboards, or input devices

  • Whether currency, time zone, or calendar formats vary between the different countries/regions

For more information, see Windows Language Pack Default Values.


We recommend that you do not add more than ten language packs to a Windows image. Multiple language packs increase the size of the Windows image and also affect the overall performance of a system during deployment and servicing.

A language pack can be added to a Windows image during the following phases of deployment:

  • During an automated installation using Windows Setup and an unattended answer file (Unattend.xml)

  • When the Windows image is offline

  • While the operating system is running

Before you add a language pack to a Windows image, consider the following:

  • The image can contain multiple language packs. However, each language pack increases the size of the image and the time that is required to perform servicing and installation operations. Use the following guidelines to avoid problems:

    • We recommend you do not add more than ten languages to a Windows image.

    • The same languages that you add to the Windows image should also be added to the Windows recovery environment image (winre.wim). This ensures that end users have a consistent multilingual experience when recovering their PCs.

    • You can add all language packs at one time by using the Dism /Add-Package command.

    • When you add language packs to an offline image by running the Dism /Apply-Unattend command from a full operating system host environment, we recommend that you do not add more than twenty language packs at a time, because packages are processed in a single session and memory limitations might prevent additional language packs from processing.

    • When you add language packs to an offline image by running the Dism /Apply-Unattend command from a Windows PE host environment, we recommend that you do not add more than seven language packs at a time. When you add packages by using an unattended answer file, all of the packages are expanded and processed in one session. There might not be sufficient memory for all of the expanded packages in a Windows PE environment.

    • You can add all language packs at one time by using the LPKSetup.exe /i command on a running operating system. However, we recommend that you do not use this tool to remove more than twenty language packs at one time.

  • Some languages require more hard-disk storage space than others.

  • Adding language packs can increase the size of your Windows image.

  • 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.

  • The default language cannot be removed because it is used to generate computer security identifiers (SIDs). The default UI language is the language that is selected during the Out-Of-Box-Experience (OOBE), the UI language specified in the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool, or in the unattended answer file if you skip OOBE.

  • If you add a language pack to a Windows image in a Windows PE environment, you must add pagefile support to Windows PE. For more information, see Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) Best Practices.

  • Do not install a language pack after an update. If you install an update (hotfix, general distribution release [GDR], or service pack [SP]) that contains language-dependent resources before you install a language pack, the language-specific changes that are contained in the update are not applied and you will need to reinstall the update. Always install language packs before installing updates.

You can add a language pack in the following ways:

  • Offline installation. If you need to add a language pack to a custom Windows image, you can easily update the image entirely offline by using the DISM command-line tool to mount the image and add the language pack before the image is booted. DISM can also be used to configure international settings in an offline image after a language pack is added to the image. For more information about how to do this, see DISM - Deployment Image Servicing and Management Technical Reference and Add and Remove Language Packs Offline Using DISM.

  • Using Windows Setup. To deploy a multilingual edition of Windows by using Windows Setup, copy one or more language packs to the \Langpacks folder in a distribution share, update the Lang.ini file, and then use Setup to install the language packs that are in the distribution share. For more information, see Add Multilingual Support to a Windows Distribution. You can also add multilingual support to Windows Setup in this way. For more information, see Add Multilingual Support to Windows Setup.

    If you deploy a multilingual image, or need to apply a specific language pack to a Windows image for a specific computer, you can add the language pack by using Windows Setup and an unattended answer file. The language pack must be added to the image before international settings can be configured. For more information about how to add a language pack to an answer file, see Add a Package to an Answer File. To add a language pack and configure international settings, use the WindowsPE configuration pass to add the language pack and other configuration passes to configure international settings. For more information, see Configure International Settings in Windows.


If language and locale settings are specified in an answer file, those settings overwrite any previous default. For example, if you first change the default UILanguage setting to FR-FR by using the DISM command-line tool on an offline image and then later apply an unattended answer file that specifies EN-US as the UI language, EN-US will be the default UI language.

The Lang.ini file

If you deploy Windows by using Windows Setup and you have added or removed language packs from the distribution share, you must recreate the Lang.ini file. Windows Setup uses the Lang.ini file to identify the language packs that are inside the image and in the Windows distribution share. The Lang.ini file also identifies the language that is displayed during Windows Setup. You must also regenerate the Lang.ini file if you plan to create recovery media for images that contain multiple languages.

You can use DISM international servicing command-line options to recreate the Lang.ini file based on any language-pack updates. Do not manually modify the Lang.ini file. For more information, see DISM Languages and International Servicing Command-Line Options.

The Language-Pack Removal Task

In Windows 8, the language pack removal runs on all Windows editions. However, any languages that are selected by users in the language preferences section of the control panel are not removed. Users can choose to run multiple languages and any language packs that are not used by the user are removed from the computer. Also, any language pack that is installed by a user is not removed. Note that Windows® 8 Single Language editions can only run a single language.

On single-language editions of Windows® 7 and Windows Vista®, all non-default language packs will be deleted from the computer. The language pack removal task will start 25 -60 minutes after the end user restarts the operating system. The language packs will be removed during idle time.

Running the Sysprep tool resets the language-pack removal clock. The clock will not start again until the next time OOBE runs and the computer is restarted. If you customize your Windows image, consider booting to audit mode to make your customizations. The language pack removal task will not be started when you boot to audit mode. For more information about audit mode, see Boot Windows to Audit Mode or OOBE. You can also update your Windows image offline without booting the image. For more information, see Service a Windows Image Using DISM

Using the SkipMachineOobe setting in the Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup component does not skip the language-pack removal task.


The language-pack removal task does not remove LIPs.

See Also


Available Language Packs for Windows
Windows Language Pack Default Values
Default Input Locales for Windows Language Packs

Other Resources

Language Packs ( and Windows Deployment