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Install East Asian languages support on Windows XP without the CD


More recent versions of Windows have East Asian Languages support out of the box, but unfortunately Windows XP doesn’t have this functionality unless you install it. To get East Asian Languages support on Windows XP, you have to use the original installation CD / DVD, but most people don’t have this for various reasons.

Installing East Asian Languages support in Windows XP

There’s some chance that you won’t actually need the CD to get East Asian Languages support in Windows XP, so it’s worth trying to install it normally first. If you’ve already tried this and know how to do it, skip this section.

Go to Control Panel and open the Regional and Language Options window.

Windows XP control panel: languages support

At the bottom of that window there’s a check box labeled “Install files for East Asian languages”. Click that check-box, and click OK on the pointless file size warning that comes up.

Install East Asian Languages support in Windows XP

Then click the Apply button in the main window. This will then attempt to install East Asian Languages support. If you’re lucky, it may work just like that, in which case you’re done here. However, it may ask for the Windows XP installation CD. If you don’t have that, use the section below.

Installing East Asian Languages support without the CD

So how can you get CJK language support (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) without the install disc? You could just install a decent operating system like Linux Mint, but there are ways to get proper language support on Windows XP if you need it. You’ve just got to get hold of the necessary file somehow.

There’s actually quite a good chance the file will be on your hard-drive already, but in some hard-to-find location. Here are some potential locations, but it could be anywhere:

C:I386
C:I386lang
C:WINDOWSI386
C:WINDOWSServicePackFilesi386lang

The file you’re looking for is called cplexe.exe, so if you can’t that file in any of the above locations try doing a general search for that. If you can find the file on your hard-drive it’s much better as you won’t need to download it (the file is fairly large and downloading random files is dangerous).

If you can’t find it, though, then it’s time to start searching around for a copy online. Just Google for cplexe.exe.

This is obviously quite a dodgy process as you’re downloading and installing some random file off the Internet, so exercise your judgment and caution when looking at websites to download it from. I would also suggest using Windows Security Essentials to scan anything you download for malware before you open it.

Once you’ve got that file, go back through the process above. When it asks for the CD, just click on Browse… and find the cplexe.exe file you’ve got.

CD needed to install East Asian Languages support in Windows XP

That should start copying the necessary language support files.

Copying files for East Asian languages support in Windows XP

Every now and then the installer will ask for more files. Just keep giving it the same cplexe.exe file; all of the necessary items are contained in that. It will also ask if you want to overwrite some files – click Yes every time.

Overwrite language support files in Windows XP

Once that process is finished you’ll need to restart. East Asian languages (CJK) should now display correctly. If you’ve got any questions (or suggestions) please share them in the comments below.


  • saoussane

    hello i did everything you said but once it started downloading i found the cplexe.exe file & download it but i couldn’t find another file that they asked me, the xjis file, i hope you could help me and thank you :)

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg

      Hmm, not sure to be honest. Sounds like the cplexe file you got might not be the right one? The one I downloaded had everything in it – I just kept telling the installer to use that file each time it asked.

  • Anonymous

    What he is trying to say is that when you go to find the cplexe.exe, the “files of type” bar is locked and you can’t change it to all files, making you unable to select the cplexe.exe. I have the same problem and I don’t know if there is another way :/

  • Rusty

    No use. cplexe is only asked for once and after that diff. files are needed and file type is locked.

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg (葛修远)

      Well, the above is what worked for me. Maybe try a different cplexe file? I’m afraid I don’t know more than this so you’ll have to do some experimenting of your own.

  • Anonymous

    I did everything, but still it says “Windows Setup couldn’t copy files.” Please Help ^^

  • David Fisher

    I tried downloading cplexe.exe from various sites, but when I hit browse, they didn’t show up. I ended up downloading all the files it asked for individually, took about an hour. After the reboot, characters still won’t display, even though it says Chinese and Japanese are accounted for on the Code Page Conversion tables under the advanced tab. Additionally, Japanese and Chinese don’t show up as options for the text input. Is there a way to redo the installation process? Is there a reliable download for cplexe.exe?

  • prasad

    Hey guys, i went looking around and realized there are more of us out there completely lost ~

    here is the reason why you cant find the C:/ i386 and the exe file inside .
    Because they are usually bundled up in a few windows packages like the windows xp sp1 and 2

    i have sp3 which doesnt include it , so i finally found them but u can only download them via torrents , the magnet and direct links are gone .
    so here is the guys blogspot with the necessary info~ enjoy ~

    http://recentsolutions.blogspot.com/2012/09/east-asian-language-pack-for-windows-xp.html

  • James

    You said it was a large file, but on me computer it’s 57KB, is it the same one? because it’s not working.

  • R K B

    thankx

  • Andrea Kirkby

    Why the heck does Windows make everything so damn difficult? It’s taken me three hours already and I still can’t use the IME for katakana on this PC.