Reading/Writing Chinese in Windows XP

This an FAQ: How to read and write Chinese (Simplified or Traditional Chinese) in English Windows XP. Many people thought people can do it only in Chinese Windows XP/2000. It is wrong. Since I reinstalled my English Windows XP, let me show you how to enable Chinese on English Windows.

Please note: This article assumes readers have only basic knowledge about the language of Chinese

By Default, You Cannot Read Chinese

This is how looks like on English Windows Xp, before Chinese language package was installed.



  • Click Start on the task bar, and click Run…
  • Enter “intl.cpl” and click OK. This brings up the Region and Language Options.
  • Click on the Language tab.
  • Check “Install files for East Asia Languages”. Click OK when a promote box appears.
  • Click OK. You may need to put your Windows XP installation CD in your CD ROM, or locate the source in your computer.
  • Wait for several minutes until the files are installed.

Now You can Read

Going back to, and it works now.


Steps to be able to Write in Chinese

The steps above only enable people to read Chinese. These are the steps to setup Chinese IME (Input Method Editor).

  • Click Start on Windows task bar, and click Run…
  • Enter “intl.cpl” and click OK.
  • Switch to Language Tab (these are the same as the steps above).
  • Click “Details…” in Text Services and Input Language area.
  • Click “Add…”. The “Add Input Language” dialog box appears.
  • Choose “Chinese (PRC)” in the Input Language drop down.
  • Keep “Chinese (Simplified) – Microsoft Pinyin IME” in the Keyboard layout/IME field.
  • Click OK twice.


Now you can input Chinese now. Here is a test.

Entering Chinese

  • Open a text editor, like Notepad.
  • Click on the IME icon on the right side of the taskbar of Windows. It is a [EN] icon.


  • Choose [CH] Chinese (PRC)
  • Enter “shanghai” and a space, Chinese character 上海 will apear in the notepad.

This is the simplest usage of IME. Really input Chinese is much more harder.

67 thoughts on “Reading/Writing Chinese in Windows XP

  1. if you have mac os x you can read from the moment you installed os x

    if you want to write/input just go to system preferences: international: input menu /Users/Quinn/Desktop/Picture 3.jpg and check simplified chinese and check ITABC for pinyin others i don’t know what they mean

  2. I think that is the best site for foreigners to learn about Shanghai. The topic here are boring and nonsense.

  3. I done both, but some programs still does not display chinese characters properly, for example the QQ chatwindow.

    Any idea how to solve those?

  4. killarkai, the application you run may not be Unicode application, so it depends on something called “locale” to work. Locale is the default translation of codes to characters. By default, the English Windows XP’s locale is English. You should change the setting for non-unicode application from English to Chinese to enable those Chinese applications work properly. Here are the steps:

    1. Start -> Run -> Intl.cpl

    2. Switch to Advanced Tab, and choose “Chinese (PRC)” for Language for non-Unicode Programs and click OK.

    You will be promoted to restart your computer. After restart, your Chinese applications should work.

    Basically, after the steps I provided above, your English Windows XP is basically a Chinese Windows XP, except the English interface.

  5. Hi JS

    Thanks for sharing the above details information. To be able to read chinese text, I normally go View bar –> pointed at encoding, select either Chinese simplified (if it is China URL or email sent by friends from China) or select Chinese traditional (if its Taiwan URL or email sent by friends from ROC).


  6. Thanks JianShuo!! Would you happen to know how to use Pin Yin inputs to type Traditional Chinese?



  7. Sam, 你好!

    > Would you happen to know how to use Pin Yin inputs to type Traditional Chinese?

    No problem, even with Simplifies Chinese and Pinyin input method installed, you can switch over to

    tradiditional chinese characters, eg.



  8. Jian Shuo:

    You got a great blog. I actually subscribe to your RSS feed, and read it quite often. Keep up the good work.

    I actually have a slightly off-topic question for you. Do you know where I can find an authoritative source of English -> Chinese IT term translation? I need to give a talk to a group of IT folks in China soon, and would like to know the Chinese translation of some of these IT terms. For example: Portal, B2B, B2C, ETL, OLAP, .NET, organizational chart, design patterns, Service Oriented Architecture etc…

    I know I can use Baidu do find the Chinese translation of some of these terms, but it’s a chore for all the words I need. Do you know a site where I can find these terms in Chinese?

    Thanks in advance.

  9. OK…how do I turn my CHINESE computer language on Windows XP Pro to ENGLISH?? I’m teaching English in China and speak NO Chinese! HELP!

  10. hi,

    i have just downloaded QQ for the purpose of learning mandarin. Problem is when i enter the group chat room, i am not able to read the characters written.

    anyone ever encountered the same problem and knows how to solve it?

    i am able however to view other chinese sites other than QQ chat room. Any inputs would be very much appreciated


  11. Hi,

    I am running Windows XP and I have already installed Chinese IME, however I find that I still cannot display any chinese text when I am trying to display the playlist in Realplayer. I can input the characters, but cannot display correctly. Can that be solved?


  12. I have also problem with qq.. I can view all chinese web pages but I cant send chinese text in qq or see what people write even I tried many different versions of qq.. If anyone can help me I ll be happy.. cauz. I need to learn chineseee!!!!!! :)))


  13. When I tried to set up my computer following your instruction above, so I can read and write Chinese. I come across a problem. Under the Input language I click (Chinese (PRC)) then under Keyboard layout/IME box, I only have ( Chinese ( Simplified-US Keyboard) instead of Ping-yin.

    What should I do to be able to wrote Chinese????


  14. how we can know what language of windows OS was installed in the system by using c#.

    Please reply back.

  15. I found a old PC with Winxpsp2. Its in great shape, execpt, everything is in chinese, I am american and I cannot read chinese, ( wish I could ) OK I tryed to UNcheck the checkbox in regional settings, for “Install files for East Asia Languages”. but the box is greyed in and I cannot uncheck !! and of course all the cgoices for lanauges are in chinese so I can’t try to choose english… I am pretty sure this is not a chinese xp verision , it was just configured from english to chinese. ANY AND ALL HELP APPRECIATED ! AND tHANK yOU!

  16. The configuration there does not help you to change the interface. I am afraid you MAY have a Chinese Windows XP. If you are so sure that you have seen English interface before, maybe you have installed a multi-language pack – which is very rare. If it is the case, look for the configruation in your Start menu, instead of in the control panel. I believe there is some configuration places parallel to where Microsoft Office shortcut in the Start menu.

  17. RE:Jian Shuo Wang ,

    Thanks for the insight, Is their anything I can do so that i can change the language to US English? So that i can use the PC. For example if this is a Chinese version of XP, Isn’t their a way to make it usable in English, just like their is a way to take an US XP and make it usable to a Chinese person? Thanks again For The Clarification! Regards, Howie.

  18. Hi, I’ve read all of the above comments regarding QQ, but none of it applied to Windows 2000. Does anyone know how to make programs like QQ display chinese characters correctly in Windows 2000? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  19. Hi, I’d like to ask something. I used to use njstar to input chinese words, both in simplified for Singaporean friends and traditional to Taiwanese. But it hangs my system so i used your method to input chinese. It works fine but how do i use pinyin to input traditional chinese? And when i send simplified chinese to my Taiwanese friend via email, it came out all nonsense letters. Is it gmail’s bug or the encoding on their side? Pls reply via email to me if possible. Thanks for all your help.

  20. How about if I dont have the windows xp home edition cd is there anything I can do ?????????

    please send me a email to wit what ever help you can give me ^^

    thanks alor ….

  21. I would like to be able to read Chinese Emails to me (in English)

    AND THEN maybe learn to reply with some sort of a converter from English to Chinese

    eventually Americans are going to need to learn some Chinese and Spanish too

    thanks for any help; any help must be presented to me at an elementary/simple level or it will appear as Greek to me!


  22. I have installed the Asian language pack and even Applocale and, for the most part, I can read and write in Chinese。 But random characters do not show up when I type them in Chinese. For instance “jian” (from zaijian) or “ci” (“word”). Anyone know how to solve this?  

  23. Hi,

    I follow the exact procedure to enable language in Chinese ( PRC) on regional set up, however I still can not read the Chinese in QQ: example , the icon and all characters as ?????? and not the Chinese characters!

    What should I do ? Please kidly hep.


    我按照您的说明,在 contol panel -regional setting,加上CHINESE (PRC), 但是还是不能阅读QQ信息上的中文.而且所有文字,如果不是??????,要么就是:





    [¹«¸و]ز،ز،ہضIV 11شآ³¬¼¶حو¼زأâ·رحو!



    CARL 敬上

  24. I am using English Window XP SP2, and want to view simplified chinese characters.

    I can view simplified sites like, but when I downloaded some of these software, the instructions are messed.

    I tried to run intl.cpl as you mentioned, but the box “install files for East Asian Languages” is dimmed.

    Please give me some advices. Thanks.

  25. All of your help was great, THANK YOU!! I now have a different problem. I have an English XP SP2 system with Chinese interface support (works great, I can see Simplified characters and input Pinyin no problem). My problem is with some programs with both Chinese or English interfaces that start up thinking that my system is Chinese, so I only get a Chinese interface (which I can’t read without translating using TranStar).

    For example, a printer driver installation program sees that I have Chinese support (even though it is an English version of XP Pro SP2), and starts up with a Chinese interface only. There is no option to select another language. If I remove Chinese support, that same program will start up with an English interface.

    How do I keep Chinese language support on my system, but force programs with multiple language interfaces to start with an English interface by default?

    Thank you in advance, and thank you for the time you put into this blog!

  26. i came across this kind of said-to-be chinese which i can’t read even though i’ve already had the chinese language pack installed and can read chinese newspapers and websites on the internet.

    can i ask what is this and how can i read it? thanks.



    ¡´°¨ÁɧJ¤u¨ã GMask version 1.70 ¾Þ§@»¡©ú®Ñ (’00 4/3)


    µL¦w¸Ëµ{¦¡¡C½Ð¦U¦Û±N¸Ñ¶}«á¤§ GMASK.EXE ©ñ¸m¨ì®à­±©Î¶}©l





    XOR 0x80 ³B²z¡C



    MEKO°¨ÁɧJ¤¬´«³B²z¡C(¤­¤Q´P ¬v¤G¥ý¥Í§@)

    WIN°¨ÁɧJ¤¬´«³B²z¡C(¥~§ø °ª³¹¥ý¥Í§@)

    FL°¨ÁɧJ¤¬´«³B²z¡C(¢Õenesis ¥ý¥Í§@)

    Q0°¨ÁɧJ¤¬´«³B²z¡C(ÆõÇpÆõÇp ¥ý¥Í§@)

    CP°¨ÁɧJ¤¬´«³B²z¡C(¤º³¥¥ý¥Í©M¢Õenesis ¥ý¥Í§@)


    Windows 95/98/ NT4.0 ¤é¤åª©¡CB


  27. can you tell me how to intall my computer to help me display chinese on my computer.

    I knew that intall the east asia language, but i dont have Windows XP CD, how can I do it?

    thank you very much.

  28. Hi! Is there anyway to sort my chinese files in a folder by hanyu pinyin? like words with A(阿) first then B(白) then C(菜) and so on? For example for my chinese songs so i can find them easily. It is possible in KTV software so i believe it is possible in XP…thank you!!

  29. I have done all the steps, installed prc selected it and i can type fine everywhere exept in an online game called dekaron. its a chinese game so i dont understand what i am doing wrong. when ever i type there it gives me question marks eg. ???? ?? ???. but i can type fine here。


    我學習漢語 我會說一點

  30. hi, thanks so much for your informative website. I believed i have installed the window xp sp2 through window update. I can’t find the source for sp2 therefore is unable to install the East Asian languages. The prompt window is looking for a D:\i386\lang folder which i can’t find on my Pc. What can i do?

  31. hi, thanks so much for your informative website. I believed i have installed the window xp sp2 through window update. I can’t find the source for sp2 therefore is unable to install the East Asian languages. The prompt window is looking for a D:\i386\lang folder which i can’t find on my Pc. What can i do?

  32. hi, thanks so much for your informative website. I believed i have installed the window xp sp2 through window update. I can’t find the source for sp2 therefore is unable to install the East Asian languages. The prompt window is looking for a D:\i386\lang folder which i can’t find on my Pc. What can i do?

  33. hi, thanks so much for your informative website. I believed i have installed the window xp sp2 through window update. I can’t find the source for sp2 therefore is unable to install the East Asian languages. The prompt window is looking for a D:\i386\lang folder which i can’t find on my Pc. What can i do?

  34. Hi I have English Vista with QQ2008 via NJStar. Problem is if I use AppLocale to open QQ, I can read everything in Chinese properly but cannot input Traditional Chinese properly in QQ’s messenger. If I do not use AppLocale, then the QQ interface is garbled however I can then input TC in the messenger. Am I missing anything?

  35. I bought a Lenovo with xp professional from TigerDirect last week. I cannot find Chinese language or any other east asian languages in the dropdawn list. How can install the East Asian Language? The xp is pre-installed and the pc doesn’t come with any cds. Please help!

  36. How does one convince windows explorer (not Internet Explorer) to display filenames in Chinese?

    Right now they show as: 3ÔÂƾ֤

  37. Hello Jian,

    A BIG THANK YOU for this. I have been looking for a way to activate the Hanzi support. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    Please is it just one font ‘SimSum’ that supports Hanzi or are there others? If yes, how / where can i get them?

    Thanks once more. Looking forward to your prompt response.


  38. Hello Mr. Wang : Can you tell me how to install chinese language on my computer ? I knew install the east asia language , but I do not have windows xp CD . How can I do it ? Thank you very much .

  39. My computer has the language packages installed. But i can’t read the words for QQ in some of the programs. My friend had given me a program that could read chinese if i opened programs through it. But i no longer have it, and I have no idea what the error is as I cannot read the chinese.

  40. hello,

    Wanted to ask you guys, if you know any software that translates chinese hanzi to english as well as pinyin, i used lingoes before but i am having problem with the pinyin output don’t know why? pinyin output helped me a lot to learn new chinese words and use them as i need to. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.



  41. Hi

    Have followed your instructions to use PRC have task bar and Note pad

    chinese gb2312 and Sim Sun font in use

    Type Shanghai but no Chinese character appears

    Have tried a number of times but no Chinese characters appear

    Have XP but not XP Office

    Also the box for Install files for East Asian languages is grayed out



  42. i could not see chinese words on chat software called UC sina , although i could see on QQ , because i already have installed language pack for east asian languages , but on uc AND another game software called , mdm365 , i cannot see the chinese words , 我现在学汉语 拼音, 我在印度的新德里, 有很多朋友 中国的, 我也喜欢游戏 在面对面 , if someone could tell me , why i could not see text on uc and mdm , i would be glad , thanks ,

  43. halor..i wan to ask..i m going to regional and languange..but how come i couldt not found out chinese (prc) izit..i didint install any setting..pls help me..i having this trouble.

  44. I am from Singapore. I am using Vista English version. I tried to to use winrar to uncompress a file which has a password. The password is a combination of english and chinese charaters. However, I got error message :

    “! F:\???(???)-??????? james20080808??.rar: CRC failed in the encrypted file ¬n¦K»S(¦i¦f¬f)-¼¦+R½ß¦-¬½+P¦-.mpg (wrong password ?)

    I have asked helpdesk from winrar. They said winrar can support password with chinese characters.

    My PC can read Chinese but I do not understand why it cannot show chinese in winrar (as you can see from the error message.

    Would appreciate any input.

  45. can I download the files to Install files for East Asia Languages coz my XP cd missing..please help..T_T

  46. I have followed all of the steps in WindowsXP, and I notice the following problems:

    1. When I type in Chinese, it seems some letters on my keyboard are not recognized. As an example: I can type: I love you and then translate it to make sure it means what I type and it comes out meaning something about Russia.

    2. Per problem and example in 1 above, translation seems to be inaccurate.

  47. But my computer don’t have Chinese as an option in the input language, what should I do? Please help me!

  48. Dear JianShuo : Recently I bought a set of Hand Wrinting Pad szqiancai DJJ-7 in Shanghai, after download the driver, screen shown non-understanble letter,marks,(as below) when writing ,do you know how to resolve it, I am using PC XP SP3 in English version, can you tell me if the Chinese writing Pad cannot be used on English version computer ? Thank You

    Best regards


    ╔g║ú╩hΘ}╛╙T⌡ˆîµ╨─üT╥╗■P▐´┴© (non-understandable figures)

  49. I bought a set of Chinese writing pad in China after installation the screen showing unreadable symbol/text any one can help me to resolve it ? Thanks!

    for your information I am using English version of XP SP3. the Writing Pad is QianCai DJJ-7.

    after tried Mr. Wang’s instruction, but failed.

  50. I can type “shanghai” and get correct word in Chinese, but when I type next word “china” or any other in English , the result is wrong though it is Chinese word

  51. Thanks for the info. It really help! Everything is fine. But there is one music player (beatport sync) that I use, doesn’t show up the chinese text (song ‘s name). Could it possibly doesn’t support chinese language for the music player or there’s a setting in window? I am using window xp.


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