Install East Asian Languages with no Windows XP Installation Disk

Windows XP Professional 日本語版

by John McGehee on January 31, 2011

When you try to install files for East Asian languages, you are asked for a Windows XP installation disk.  These days, Windows comes pre-installed, so few people have a real Windows XP disk.  Here’s how to install without the DVD/CD-ROM.

Only Happens on Earlier Versions of Windows XP

I bought two Thinkpad laptops with Windows XP in 2002 and 2007.  The 2002 (no service pack, I think) exhibits this problem; the 2007 model (Service Pack 2) does not.  So some time between 2002 and 2007, this ceased being an issue.

Installation Procedure

The key is that the East Asian language installation files are on your hard drive, not some separate DVD or CD-ROM.

Here is how to install East Asian languages on English Windows XP:

  • In the Control Panel,  go to Date, Time, Language, and Regional Settings
  • Select Add other languages.  The Regional and Language Options form will appear.  Select the Languages tab.
  • Check Install files for East Asian Languages.  Dismiss the Install Supplemental Language Support dialog that warns you of how this will consume lots of disk space.
  • Click OK in the Regional and Language Options form.
  • You will be asked to specify a location for the files.  The file browser will ask you to insert your Windows XP installation disk, and propose a file path on your DVD/CD-ROM drive like D:\I386.  But that’s not where it is.  If Windows was pre-installed, it’s on your hard drive… somewhere.  The unfortunate reality is that various PC makers put the files in different folders, and you will have to search for it.
    • Try the path C:\I386.  That’s where it is on my Thinkpad.
    • If you can’t find it there, try searching for the folder I386 using the Start > Search command.
    • If you still can’t find it, see the comments below.  Some readers have additional suggestions.
  • Reboot
  • Return to the Languages tab of the Regional and Language Options form
  • Click the Details button.  The Text Services and Input Languages form will appear.
  • In the Settings tab, click the Add button
  • In the Add Input Language form, select Input Language (I selected Japanese) and Keyboard layout/IME Microsoft IME Standard 2002.  Click OK on all forms to finish.
  • In the Taskbar at the lower right of your screen, EN should appear, indicating that you are currently in English mode.
  • Click on the EN, and you will be offered a choice of all the input methods you currently have installed.

That’s the procedure for Windows XP.  I also have an article that tells you how to set up Japanese and Chinese on Linux.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

neil February 27, 2011 at 03:07

Thanks so much! Pretty good solution, I was troubled by this problem for many days, and tried every method on the net I could, however only your method is working. Thanks a lot.

johnsonho September 3, 2011 at 03:20

I tried your tips, but still couldn’t work,when i typed C:/I386/lang and click on browse i was taken to locate file >> file name is cplexe
next i have to select to open either my document; my computer and so forth, I was totally confused as to what to click next.
Please help me out. thanks

John McGehee September 3, 2011 at 10:48

I wish I could help, Johnson, but I do not understand your question.

Felipe November 23, 2011 at 12:39

Man, there is no folder named C:/I386. Is there any other method?

John McGehee December 3, 2011 at 09:59

I’m sorry, all I can suggest is that you look for other system-looking folders. But what “system-looking” is, I couldn’t say. Good luck.

Chris December 3, 2011 at 22:09

Well, your article is pretty good, but I’ve got one problem. When I accessed the i386 folder I couldn’t find the cplexe.exe folder the system was looking for. Do you know where I could find it?

Joe March 2, 2012 at 17:36

I did the same and also did not work. I did a search for the cplexe.exe file on my hard drive and could not find it. I downloaded it from the following site:
I can’t guarentee there is no virus from this site. I have an old computer so I didn’t care.

opik March 28, 2012 at 19:09

Try to search for the I386 folder by the search function, also search for hidden files and folders. I found it in this location:

copy paste it then it works

but if your Windows isn’t pre-installed, there’s a possibility there’s no such files

namedoesntmatter March 30, 2012 at 19:43

It didnt work.. when i click “add other language” and follow the steps u mentioned until when the computer told me to insert disk (which i dont have), and i clicked ok, and it says “copy files from” (or whatever), and i typed c:\i386, and it didnt work out.. so i tried to browse it, and well i found that 1386 file, but nothing’s inside.. when i clicked ok, they said there is no “cplexe.exe”.. so how?

Peggy May 19, 2012 at 11:51

I have the exact same problem as johnsonho! When i click browse in that folder, it says a file name called cplex…. and from there, i cant do anything. nothing happens when i click okay.

Janardhana Reddy August 18, 2012 at 23:28

Install files for East Asian languages how i can it

Lucky September 19, 2012 at 02:24 link did’nt worked. dont try it..

nintai83 October 7, 2012 at 14:03

Didn’t work for me. I found the files myself and uploaded here.

Nge October 9, 2012 at 21:46

Great idea, now my problem have been solved. Thank a lot n u save me my life.

Eduardo October 25, 2012 at 16:30

When I search for “I386″ in the search software, I can see 20 different files with this name. What is the correct file?

Eduardo October 25, 2012 at 17:12

Thank you very much nintai83, your files worked sucessfully here.

Dion November 6, 2012 at 21:15

nintai83 It’s really work for me. I have installed the file on my vps.


ross November 7, 2012 at 21:29

hello guys,
i have xp sp2 english window and fresh installed, but i cant display chinese on internet pages, i go start/control panol/ Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options then in middle language bar and clicked on mark the (install files for asian languages) and it start and click apply (ok) , i had put the xp sp2 window during this process too in dvd room but during copying the files from i386/lang > could not complete the copying, copying error come, i dont know what to do with it now, please help

ross November 7, 2012 at 21:41

trying by input and out language there is no chinese in list in my xp sp2 , now what to do ,

Vasto Lorde November 23, 2012 at 12:15

guys just search for cplexe.exe for me it’s in:

safiullah November 27, 2012 at 08:19

we are thank from google

surendra December 4, 2012 at 14:12

The other solution is to download the *.iso image via torrent online and install from there. takes a few minutes with high speed connection

RabbiedRabbit December 14, 2012 at 10:30

Thanks nintai83, it worked for my XP home.

Hugh Grigg December 19, 2012 at 07:05

Thanks a lot for this, managed to get it working in the end with a downloaded cplexe.exe.

I’ve also written up my own guide on how to do this:

Renchou December 27, 2012 at 11:40

I did the whole search and the download thing (from various websites) and when I went to look for it in the files of C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386\lang
I found it, but when I went to look for it, the xjis.,nls.,xjis.,nl_ file wasn’t in there it was empty. I need help with this because it is mandatory for where I live. I’m tired of my friends asking me what “this” means and “that” means in Japanese. HELP PLEASE

Angel Rosado January 17, 2013 at 14:40

i found too many files when i searched i386, wich one am i supposed to use

chrs January 21, 2013 at 07:42
JizzWizz February 12, 2013 at 15:23

I found all the I386 files in the search command, but what do I do next? do I put them all into one file? It would help if you offered visualizations.

kareem March 8, 2013 at 05:24

thank you

S March 17, 2013 at 17:55

Thanks! This was helpful to me in getting my computer to display Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters. Now I’m headed back to Google to look for advice on how to get my computer to display ogham and runes…

Rohan March 25, 2013 at 19:18

Thanks … Nintai83′s solution worked for me :-)

vanshining April 20, 2013 at 19:22

in china ,i cannot open any link you offered.

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Mikersson August 13, 2013 at 15:42

How to install swedish language is this is a Windows lite modified to keep just “spanish” language.
My notebook is Swedish and I want the original swedish language files. THe one that comes in the list, to doesnt include the swedish keyborad, just amercian and spanish keybpard. I need the swedish as well.
THank you.

James August 16, 2013 at 22:45

It’s not working for me, I found i386/lang but the OK button only makes the DÉEDÒO noise, any suggestions?

bhaskar August 23, 2013 at 09:30


rishi September 4, 2013 at 04:07

excellent solution- it worked like a charm ! thanks !!

Lương Văn Du September 4, 2013 at 05:58

Yeah, that’s a good idea! nintai83..

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jawed December 17, 2013 at 07:22

Thank you very much nintai83, your files worked sucessfully here.

very mache

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At ADD INPUT LANGUAGES i dont find Japanese or Chinese or that keyboard…

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David Garriga April 14, 2014 at 10:34

I see what Johnson is saying, because the same thing is happening to me; At: “Copy files from:”, I change “D:\i386\lang” to the path you suggest, “C:\I386″. However, clicking “OK” sends an error noise, and clicking “Browse” enters the File name of “cplexe” in the Locate File tab. I honestly have no idea what to do, because I also try searching for the path using Start> Search, and individually copy-pasting the addresses of each file named i386 to the :”Copy files from”. None work. The computer. again, just gives the same error noise on “OK” and gives the same file name of “cplexe” in the Locate File…
I’ve been trying to find out how to see Japanese characters on my computer for a while now. Could you please help?

David Garriga April 14, 2014 at 10:59

Oh, wait!! I think I found something; the folder, “C:\WINDOWS\Driver Cache\i386″, has a cabinet file named “sp3″. Does that have to do with anything?

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