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How To Get Windows Command Prompt Displays Chinese Characters?

For those who use English version of Windows and occasionally work with files contain non-Unicode characters (e.g. Chinese characters) will find it difficult and frustrate.

If you’re using Windows Vista and above, this situation (or problem) can be easily fixed in no time – just tell Windows which language should it use to handle non-Unicode data.
NOTE: This trick is not about switching the whole Windows UI from English to other language. It’s about to get English version of Windows to properly rendering non-Unicode characters into human-readable format.

Although Windows 8 is used in this example, the trick is also applicable to Windows 7 and earlier version.

Change Windows Command Prompt code page

English version of Windows 8 Command Prompt display Chinese characters

To support non-Unicode characters, you need to change the Windows system locale to a language that can display those non-Unicode characters. In this example, I would like Windows 8 to render non-Unicode Chinese characters:

1. Press Windows+X to bring up Power User menu and select Control Panel.

2. Open Region setting dialog box and go to Administrative tab.

3. Click “Change system locale” and select “Chinese (Simplified, China)”, press OK, and then reboot Windows 8.

After Windows 8 reboots, most if not all program (e.g. Windows Media Player, Command Prompt, etc) should be able to properly display file name or content that contains non-Unicode Chinese characters.

If the Command Prompt window is still display Chinese characters as question mark characters (as in some of my Windows 8 systems, for unknown reason), you’ll have to change the Windows Command Prompt default code page manually:

1. Right click on Command Prompt window title bar and select Default.

2. Change the “Default code page” to “936 (ANSI/OEM – Simplified Chinese GBK)” and click OK.

The default code page change is persistent. Alternatively, you can also execute chcp 936 at Command Prompt to change its code page on needed basis.

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  1. KLM 23-11-14@04:27

    Very good advice. I have been search the solution of this for the whole morning and afternoon until I see this web page as I am trying to get a list of files to text file by dir /b >filelist.txt. I came out ????? for chinese charaters of file names. Now I get chinese file names correctly. Thanks….

  2. User 26-06-15@02:46

    How to make it display ALL Unicode characters at the same time: Chinese, German, Cyrillic?

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