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Vista Ultimate Supports Non-Unicode Program

Back to Windows 95, Chinese used to install NJStar or Chinese Star program to write and read Chinese characters or install and running non-Unicode, Chinese-based program.

As a Chinese literate who are using English version of Windows, I’m too frustrated to see bunch of weird characters in playlist when playing Chinese MP3 in Windows Media Player.

Windows Vista display weird characters when installing or executing Chinese or non-Unicode program.

Windows Vista display weird characters when executing Chinese, non-Unicode program.

However, if you’re using Windows Vista Ultimate (the mother of all Vista edition), you can totally forget about NJStar or Chinese Star, if you just need to write or read Chinese characters or install and running Chinese program such as Storm Codec II.

Windows Vista Ultimate allows user to set a default system locale that used to support a non-Unicode program, such as the Chinese-based Storm Codec II (below), Japanese-based Raiden II arcade game, Thailand-based Anti-mosquito program, etc.

Having says that, Windows Vista Ultimate can seamlessly render or display non-Unicode / Chinese encoding without having user to log off or execute additional service to support it!

Windows Vista Ultimate allows user to set a default system locale that used to support a non-Unicode program, such as properly rendering Chinese characters of a non-Unicode encoding Storm Codec II program.

This is the trick that I’ve mentioned in the post, on how to install and execute Chinese-based Storm Codec 2 in Windows Vista!

Windows Vista Ultimate powerful System Locale can definitely speak your mother-tongue!
Excerpt taken from Windows Vista Guides

“Windows Vista Ultimate system locale determines the default character set (letters, symbols, and numbers) and font that you use to enter information and that are used to display information in programs that do not use Unicode. This allows non-Unicode programs to run on your computer using the specified language….Selecting a different language for the system locale does not affect the language in menus and dialog boxes for Windows or other programs that do use Unicode!

Eventually, Vista Ultimate system locale feature is well enough to replace my NJStar and Chinese Star programs in the drawer!

How to configure Windows Vista Ultimate system locale to speak your mother-tongue?
  1. Click the Vista Orbs (Vista Start button) and type regional in the Start Search text-box (Vista powerful Instant Search)
  2. You’ll likely see “Regional and Language Options” in the program list as a result of Vista Instant Search. Double-click to open it.
  3. Click the Administrative tab follow by the Change System Locale button of “Language for non-Unicode programs” section. You’ll need to acknowledge UAC prompt, if you didn’t tweak the Vista UAC default setting.
  4. A new dialog box pop-up. Click the “Current System Locale” drop-down list-box, select the language that you wants to set it as default to render text in non-Unicode program. In my case, I choose Chinese (PRC) to run my Chinese-based program, such as PPStream (P2P TV broadcasting client) and Storm Codec 2 (Windows ultimate codecs pack).
  5. Click OK and restart the computer as prompted.

That’s it. After restarting computer, Windows Vista Ultimate will automatically and properly rendering text in programs that do not support Unicode.

Setting Windows Vista system locale to Chinese PRC resolve weird characters display in playlist when playing non-Unicode encoded Chinese MP3 title.

Now, I can really enjoy my collection of Chinese MP3! Windows Media Player 11 that bundled with Vista Ultimate is properly rendering the non-Unicode, Chinese song title in its playlist. Please take note that the default System Locale setting is applying to all programs (not just Windows Media Player 11) and user accounts in the Vista Ultimate computer system!

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  4. JK 24-02-08@13:40

    Thanks for sharing, I get it now :)

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  7. SOOLID 17-08-08@09:38

    How about changing the non unicode program from arabic to english?

    Windows XP Pro?

    I tried changing it but it says ????????????????????????

  8. gesceap 10-01-09@15:53

    Not news at all. In XP and Vista Home you can also do that. The problem is that you can only choose one specific non-Unicode language. Using different user accounts does not solve the problem either! Silly Windows! Ha?

  9. fiona 16-05-09@15:00

    i followed your details to change my laptop and it seemed success , but i found my computer change colour , all colour has gone only grey and dark , why’s wrong ? thanks .

  10. vvv 18-07-09@02:35

    This was possible since windows 2000. and to the least any version of Vista can do it. I have beening using this methode since windows 2000. The problem is when you have to deal with Big5 and GB non-unicode programs at same time, one of them will not show properly. i.e. need to go for unicode asap :)

  11. kmz 23-08-09@14:55

    Every version of windows since windows 2000 has full support for non-unicode sets, For filenames, will test first non-unicode sets , and then unicode. So for filenames you can have mixed chinese, japanese, arabic, deutch, etc. What you can’t have is support for programs that are using the “default” system encoding, wich was standard back then in the era windows 95/98. This was an design oversight back then, and was solved since windows 2000.

    That’s why you can’t open at the same time, a program designed to be used in the chinese “default” locale, and a program designed to be used in the japanese “default” locale. One of them will show correctly (if you set the default for non-unicode for one) and the other no. Also this makes possible to work with files with non-unicode characters on it.

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