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.

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