Multilingual User Interface

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Comparison of Windows Vista Ultimate Start Menu interface with an English MUI applied in the left image, and a Traditional Chinese MUI applied in the right.

Multilingual User Interface (MUI) is the name of a Microsoft technology for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and other applications that allows for the installation of multiple interface languages on a single system. On a system with MUI, each user would be able to select their own preferred display language. MUI technology was introduced with Windows 2000 and has been used in every release since (up to Windows 10). The MUI technology was covered by an international patent titled "Multilingual User Interface for an Operating System".[1] The inventors are Bjorn C. Rettig, Edward S. Miller, Gregory Wilson, and Shan Xu.

Functionally, MUI packs for a certain product perform the same task as localized versions of those product, but with some key technical differences. While both localized versions of software and MUI versions display menus and dialogs in the targeted language, only localized versions have translated file and folder names. A localized version of Windows translates the base operating system, as well as all included programs, including file and folder names, objects names, strings in registry, and any other internal strings used by Windows into a particular language. Localized versions of Windows support upgrading from a previous localized version and user interface resources are completely localized, which is not the case for MUI versions of a product. MUI versions of a product do not contain translated administrative functions such as registry entries and items in Microsoft Management Console. The advantage of using MUIs over localized versions is each user on a computer could use a different language MUI without requiring different versions of software installed and dealing with the conflicts that could arise as a result. For example, using MUI technology, any version of Windows can host Windows applications in any other language.[2]

MUI in Windows 2000 and Windows XP[edit]

MUI products for these versions were available only through volume agreements from Microsoft. They were not available through retail channels. However, some OEMs distributed the product.

List of languages in Windows XP[edit]

Up to Windows XP, MUI packs for a product are applied on top of an English version to provide a localized user experience. There are a total of 5 sets of MUI packs.

Set 1[edit]

  • German
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)

Set 2[edit]

  • Arabic
  • Hebrew
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Swedish
  • Dutch
  • Portuguese (Brazil)

Set 3[edit]

  • Norwegian
  • Danish
  • Finnish
  • Russian
  • Czech

Set 4[edit]

  • Polish
  • Hungarian
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Turkish
  • Greek

Set 5[edit]

  • Bulgarian
  • Estonian
  • Croatian
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Thai

MUI in Windows Vista and Windows 7[edit]

Windows Vista[edit]

Windows Vista further advanced MUI technology with support for single, language-neutral, language-independent binary files supporting multiple language skins, with the language-specific resources contained in separate binaries. The MUI architecture separates the language resources for the user interface from the binary code of the operating system. This separation makes it possible to change languages completely without changing the core binaries of Windows Vista, or to have multiple languages installed on the same computer while using the same core binaries. Languages are applied as language packs containing the resources required to localize part of or the entire user interface in Windows Vista.

MUI packs are available to Windows Vista Enterprise users and as an Ultimate Extras to Windows Vista Ultimate users.

Beginning with Windows Vista, the set of associated MUI APIs are also made available to developers for application development.

At launch, the following 16 language packs were released:

  • Danish
  • German
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Finnish
  • Swedish
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Japanese

On October 23, 2007, the remaining 19 language packs were released:

  • Czech
  • Estonian
  • Croatian
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Serbian
  • Turkish
  • Greek
  • Bulgarian
  • Ukrainian
  • Hebrew
  • Arabic
  • Thai

Windows 7[edit]

MUI packs are also available to Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate edition users. Beginning with Windows 7, Microsoft started referring to MUIs as "Language Packs," although this isn't to be confused with Language Interface Packs (LIP).[3]

MUI in Windows 8/8.1/RT and Windows 10[edit]

Beginning with Windows 8/RT, most editions of Windows are able to download and install all Language Packs,[4] with a few exceptions:

  • In Single Language editions of Windows, only one language pack is allowed to be installed, [5] the same behavior as editions of Windows 7 and earlier that are not Enterprise or Ultimate.
  • In OEM editions of Windows, the exact language packs that are preinstalled/available for download depend on the device manufacturer and country/region of purchase (and the mobile operator for devices with cellular connectivity). This is a mixture of a local-market feature and a feature for everyone everywhere. There may be multiple display languages preinstalled on the device by the manufacturer and/or wireless carrier, but each manufacturer and/or wireless carrier installs two different sets of languages: one set of preloaded languages and one set of languages that can be installed by the end user. This rule is currently used in Windows Phones as of Windows Phone 7[6] and PCs as of Windows 8 (since Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 share the same Windows NT kernel) and was later dropped in Windows 10 version 1803, but was later quietly reinstated as of Windows 10 version 1809. An end user could install a retail license on top of an OEM license by performing a clean install through the Media Creation Tool to circumvent the region locking and install any display language that they want.
    • The Windows update process does not affect the currently installed display languages in any way, but it may give the end user access to newly released language packs made available by the OEM (PCs only). However, when installing a new feature update, it may change the display language back to the one set during the initial setup process. For example, if the Samsung ATIV Smart PC on AT&T is upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Anniversary Update (not necessarily done in one go), it will now be able to install Portuguese (Brazil), Vietnamese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), and Japanese in addition to English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Korean (the last three languages can be downloaded by the end user at the time of its launch), just like with the Galaxy S8 series and the Verizon-based Galaxy Book.
    • On the other hand, a Samsung Galaxy Book device does not support Afrikaans as a display language, because Samsung apps do not officially support Afrikaans.[7] Furthermore, cellular variants of the Galaxy Book laptops sold in North America support fewer display languages than their Wi-Fi-only counterparts, just like on their smartphones.
    • Certain language packs like English (Australia) and English (Canada) are only supported on the Xbox consoles and the Surface Duo.
    • Some LIP packs require certain MUI packs (base languages) to be present or compatible.[8] If that base language is not present or compatible, then that LIP cannot be installed on that device.

Beginning with Windows 10 version 1803, Microsoft started referring to language packs as "Local Experience Packs" (LXPs), but they still work in the same way.[9] In addition to downloading from Windows Settings, these 110 LXPs are also available for download through the Microsoft Store app and through the web interface, the latter enabling remote installation for consumer editions of Windows.[10] However, as with any other application from the Microsoft Store, only the LXPs that are compatible with that Windows device are shown through the Microsoft Store app. These LXPs receive updates through the Microsoft Store, outside of the normal Windows update cycle.[11]

List of supported languages[edit]

As of Windows 11, the following language packs are supported.

PCs[edit]

MUI Language Packs by Windows version
Language English name 2000 XP Vista 7.0 7.1 8.0 8.1 10 11
العربية Arabic Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Български Bulgarian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Català Catalan (Spain) LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP Yes
Čeština Czech Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dansk Danish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Deutsch German Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ελληνικά Greek Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
English (United Kingdom) English (United Kingdom) No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
English (United States) English (United States) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Español (España) Spanish (Spain) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Español (México) Spanish (Mexico) No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Eesti Estonian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Euskara Basque LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP Yes
Suomi Finnish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Français (Canada) French (Canada) No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Français (France) French (France) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Galego Galician LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP Yes
עברית Hebrew Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hrvatski Croatian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Magyar Hungarian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Indonesia Indonesian LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP Yes
Italiano Italian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
日本語 Japanese Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
한국어 Korean Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lietuvių Lithuanian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Latviešu Latvian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Norsk bokmål Norwegian Bokmål Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nederlands Dutch Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Polski Polish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Português (Brasil) Portuguese (Brazil) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Português (Portugal) Portuguese (Portugal) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Română Romanian LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Русский Russian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slovenčina Slovak LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slovenščina Slovenian No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Srpski Serbian (Latin) LIP LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Svenska Swedish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ไทย Thai LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Türkçe Turkish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Українська Ukrainian LIP LIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tiếng Việt Vietnamese LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP LIP Yes
中文 (简体) Chinese (Simplified) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
中文 (香港特別行政區) Chinese (Hong Kong) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
中文 (繁體) Chinese (Traditional) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Language Interface Packs by Windows version
Language English name Base language required 2000 XP Vista 7.0 7.1 8.0 8.1 10 11
Afrikaans Afrikaans English Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
አማርኛ Amharic English Yes Yes
অসমীয়া Assamese English Yes Yes
Azərbaycan Azerbaijani English Yes Yes Yes
Беларуская Belarusian Russian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
বাংলা (বাংলাদেশ) Bangla (Bangladesh) English Yes Yes
বাংলা (ভারত) Bangla (India) English Yes Yes Yes
Босански Bosnian (Cyrillic) Russian Yes Yes
Bosanski Bosnian (Latin) English Yes Yes Yes
Català Catalan (Spain) English Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MUI
Valencià Catalan (Spain, Valencian) Spanish
ᏣᎳᎩ Cherokee English
Cymraeg Welsh English Yes Yes Yes
Euskara Basque Spanish Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes MUI
فارسى Persian (Iran) English Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Filipino Filipino English Yes Yes
Gaeilge Irish English Yes Yes
Gàidhlig Scottish Gaelic English
Galego Galician Spanish Yes Yes MUI
ગુજરાતી Gujarati English Yes Yes
Hausa Hausa English Yes
हिन्दी Hindi English Yes Yes
Հայերեն Armenian English Yes Yes
Indonesia Indonesian English Yes Yes MUI
Igbo Igbo English Yes
Íslenska Icelandic English Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Inuktitut English Yes Yes
ქართული Georgian English Yes Yes
Қазақ тілі Kazakh English Yes Yes
ខ្មែរ Khmer English Yes
ಕನ್ನಡ Kannada English Yes Yes
कोंकणी Konkani English Yes Yes
کوردیی ناوەڕاست Central Kurdish English
Кыргызча Kyrgyz Russian Yes
Lëtzebuergesch Luxembourgish French Yes Yes
ລາວ Lao ???
Te reo Māori Maori English Yes Yes
Македонски Macedonian English Yes Yes
മലയാളം Malayalam English Yes Yes
Монгол Mongolian English
मराठी Marathi English Yes Yes
Melayu (Brunei) Malay (Brunei) English Yes
Melayu (Malaysia) Malay (Malaysia) English Yes Yes
Malti Maltese English Yes Yes
नेपाली Nepali English Yes Yes
Norsk nynorsk Norwegian Nynorsk Norwegian Bokmål Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sesotho sa Leboa Southern Sotho English Yes
ଓଡ଼ିଆ Odia English Yes
پنجابی Punjabi (Arabic, Pakistan) English
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ Punjabi (Gurmukhi, India) English Yes Yes
درى Persian (Afghanistan) English Yes Yes
K'iche' K'iche' Spanish
Runasimi Quechua Spanish Yes Yes
Kinyarwanda Kinyarwanda English
سنڌي Sindhi English
සිංහල Sinhala English
Shqip Albanian English Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Српски (Босна и Херцеговина) Serbian (Bosnia & Herzegovina) English
Српски (Србија) Serbian (Serbia) Serbian (Latin) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kiswahili Swahili English Yes Yes
தமிழ் Tamil English Yes Yes
తెలుగు Telugu English Yes Yes
Тоҷикӣ Tajik Russian
ትግር Tigrinya English
Türkmen dili Turkmen Russian
Setswana Tswana English Yes
Татар Tatar Russian Yes Yes
ئۇيغۇرچە Uyghur Chinese (Simplified)
اُردو Urdu English Yes Yes
O‘zbek Uzbek English
Tiếng Việt Vietnamese English Yes Yes MUI
Wolof Wolof French
IsiXhosa Xhosa English Yes
Èdè Yorùbá Yoruba English
IsiZulu Zulu English Yes

Mobile[edit]

The multilingual user interface for Windows Phones did not appear until version 7.0.

Language packs for the new Windows Phone platform
Language English name 7.0 7.5 7.7 7.8 8.0 8.0.2 8.1 8.1.2 10
Afrikaans Afrikaans No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes
አማርኛ Amharic No No No No No No No No Yes
العربية Arabic No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Azərbaycan Azerbaijani No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Беларуская Belarusian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Български Bulgarian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
বাংলা Bangla No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Català Catalan No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Čeština Czech No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dansk Danish No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Deutsch German Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ελληνικά Greek No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
English (United Kingdom) English (United Kingdom) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
English (United States) English (United States) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Español (España) Spanish (Spain) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Español (México) Spanish (Mexico) No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eesti Estonian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Euskara Basque No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes
فارسى Persian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Suomi Finnish No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Filipino Filipino No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Français (Canada) French (Canada) No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Français (France) French (France) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Galego Galician Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Hausa Hausa No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes
עברית Hebrew No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
हिन्दी Hindi No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hrvatski Croatian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Magyar Hungarian No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Indonesia Indonesian No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Íslenska Icelandic No No No No No No No No Yes
Italiano Italian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
日本語 Japanese No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Қазақ тілі Kazakh No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ខ្មែរ Khmer No No No No No No No Yes Yes
ಕನ್ನಡ Kannada No No No No No No No No Yes
한국어 Korean No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ລາວ Lao No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Lietuvių Lithuanian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Latviešu Latvian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Македонски Macedonian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
മലയാളം Malayalam No No No No No No No No Yes
Melayu Malay No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Norsk bokmål Norwegian Bokmål No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nederlands Dutch No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Polski Polish No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Português (Brasil) Portuguese (Brazil) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Português (Portugal) Portuguese (Portugal) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Română Romanian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Русский Russian No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slovenčina Slovak No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slovenščina Slovenian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shqip Albanian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Srpski Serbian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Svenska Swedish No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kiswahili Swahili No No No No No No No Yes Yes
தமிழ் Tamil No No No No No No No No Yes
తెలుగు Telugu No No No No No No No No Yes
ไทย Thai No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Türkçe Turkish No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Українська Ukrainian No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
O‘zbek Uzbek No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tiếng Việt Vietnamese No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
中文 (简体) Chinese (Simplified) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
中文 (香港特別行政區) Chinese (Hong Kong) No No No No No No Yes Yes Yes
中文 (繁體) Chinese (Traditional) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ US patent 6252589, "Multilingual user interface for an operating system", published 2003-05-14 
  2. ^ "Guide to Windows Vista Multilingual User Interface". Microsoft. Retrieved 24 February 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "How To Install Language Packs In Windows 7". The Windows Club. Archived from the original on 1 August 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Language packs are available for Windows 8 and Windows RT". Microsoft. Retrieved 29 April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Check whether your version of Windows supports multiple languages". support.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  6. ^ Blog, Windows Experience (2011-07-06). "Windows Phone around the world: Language support in Mango". Windows Experience Blog. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  7. ^ "Get Samsung Notes". Microsoft Store. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  8. ^ "Language packs for Windows". support.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  9. ^ "Local Experience Packs: What are they and when should you use them?". TECHCOMMUNITY.MICROSOFT.COM. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  10. ^ "Local Experience Packs". Microsoft Store. Retrieved 2022-01-10.
  11. ^ "Local Experience Packs". support.microsoft.com. Retrieved 2022-01-11.

External links[edit]