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How to change system language on Windows 10

Windows 10 change language
Windows 10 change language (Image credit: Windows Central)

Although Windows 10 will help you configure the default language during the initial setup, if you didn't select the correct option or use a computer already configured with a different language, you don't have to struggle when your requirements are different.

If you have to change the device's default language settings, you can complete this task using the Settings app without reinstalling Windows 10.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to change the system default language on your computer.

How to change default system language on Windows 10

If you happen to be using the incorrect language on Windows 10, you can adjust the system settings to configure the correct language without reinstallation.

Disable language sync

On Windows 10, when using a Microsoft account, some of your preferences (including language) will sync across the device. If you only plan to change the settings on the computer, you should disable the option to sync your language settings to prevent changing the same settings on other devices.

To disable language preference sync on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Click on Sync your settings.
  4. Under the "Individual sync settings" section, turn off the Language preferences toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, you can change the language settings without affecting the other devices connected with the same Microsoft account.

Change system language settings

To change the system default language, close your apps, and use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Time & Language.
  3. Click on Language.
  4. Under the "Preferred languages" section, click the Add a language button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Search for the new language using the language or country name.
  2. Select the package from the result.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Next button.
  2. Check the Install language pack option.
  3. Check the Set as my Windows display language option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Check the additional features as needed — for example, "Text-to-speech" and "Handwriting."
  2. Click the Install button.
  3. Click the Yes, sign out now button.
  4. Sign back into the account.

After you complete the steps, the Windows 10 language will change across the experience, including the Sign-in screen, Settings app, File Explorer, Desktop, apps, browser, and websites you visit.

Change system region settings

You will also have to change the region settings if you need to adjust the language settings because you are in a different region.

To change the local region settings on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Time & Language.
  3. Click on Region.
  4. Under the "Region" section, select the current location with the "Country or region" drop-down menu (if applicable).

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Regional format" section, select the formats for the region's date and time with the "Current format" drop-down menu (if applicable).
  2. Click on Language.
  3. Under the "Related settings" section, click the Administrative language settings option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Administrative tab.
  2. Under the "Language for non-Unicode programs" section, click the Change system locale button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the new system locale language with the "Current system locale" drop-down menu.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click the Copy settings button in the "Administrative" tab.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Copy your current settings to" section, check the Welcome screen and system accounts and New user accounts options.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click the OK button again.
  3. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, the settings will apply, and the computer will now use the correct region settings.

Usually, you rarely have to change or install additional languages on Windows 10. However, changing these settings may come in handy in organizations working with people who need to use different preferences. It's also a helpful feature to match the locale settings if you relocate to another region or when buying a new device that ships from a different country.

The only caveat with changing the region settings is that it will also change the settings for the Microsoft Store, which may block access to certain apps and services, depending on the location. In the same way, you can change the region settings to access an application from the Microsoft Store that is only available in a specific region. If you happen to be one of the remaining users using Cortana, consider changing the region settings that may prevent you from accessing the digital assistant.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

32 Comments
  • Changing System language removes Cortana for non yet supported languages, right?
  • On stable yes, but now for Insider builds or on the upcoming anniversary update.
  • This is what still needs fixing in windows. Control panel should be integrated with settings (app). Changing the language settings in two locations is twice the work.
  • i would love to change the language of my Xbox like i do in Windows 10 (desktop and mobile) , without need to change my region as well
  • That option is coming in an update this year. Yeah!
  • Yep makes watching hulu+ simpler now for those of us outside US though the static dns is buggy
  • Souza_rs I think equal I want to use my xbox with out change Region Microsoft need to fix that. What think windows central about that?
  • I find that when I change my language to English (Australia), the quick search function stops working. Cortana still works. I get some message about try again later. When I change it back to (US), it works again. Bug? Or not?
  • On my Window phone (Lumia 950), the *spell* checker uses language based on the (virtual) keyboard I use. Probably fine. On Windows 10 ("proper"), e.g. Facebook *appears* to choose the spell checking language based on the (physical) keyboard I use... I regularly experience that if I write in English, some words are suddenly corrupted to words in the dictionary of the language of the (physical) keyboard. How can I avoid this? Linking the spell checking language to the physical keyboard is totally insane...     
  • that does sound insane!!! maybe its your browser setting? (Firefox has language packs inbuilt)
  • Assuming that you have more than one keyboard languages installed, you can switch between them on W10M just by swiping the spacebar to either left or right. On Windows 10 PC you may just press Win+Spacebar or click/tap the language switcher in the system tray. Sent from my laptop on Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview
  • I can choose whatever language I want for spellchecking (e.g. in Facebook) by just selecting the desired language (it needs to be available and downloaded, see in  the article) from the toolbar language selection. I typically use alternatively English, French, German, depending on the context I'm in.
  • Thanks a lot, I have been trying to change the language on my lock screen PC for awhile now.
  • I wonder what other languages MAURO HUCULAK speaks?
  • Does this process need some time to change? Because nothing happened here! :\
  • Just reboot.
  • There's a great number of entry level PC's shipping with single language Windows10
  • You mean windows 10 core & pro has almost everything
  • Core and Pro have single language versions. You can't change the language since SL is sold at a reduced fee.
  • who need different language already known that.
  • Thanks a million! 
  • [DELETED]
  • Wow, this information defines poor UX. i'm trying to change the language on a device that's not in my native language! use case much? "Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Control Panel." - awesome shortcut, at first, i don't read the language so perfect. now, control panel? how do you spell that in japanese? OH, no idea! yet, every single one has a shortcut - that would be useful. and obvious! i can't do anything! what is wrong with you people. "Click Add a language." - umm... again, how am i supposed to find that in this control panel menu when i have no clue what that is in the language i'm looking at. i cannot get my work done, and now the client is going to fire me. seriously, real world ramifications for your UX designers fails.  please, PCs have been around for decades. do you not understand how important it is to make changing language easy? sure, it's a rare case, but when it occurs, the problems are catastrophic. "peak end rule" - behaviorial economics. have your UX people look that up, because they're clueless. 
  • I have this exact same problem, but with Arabic. Every single thing is Arabic, and I dont understand a word of it.
  • Just follow the screens ;)
  • i follow every command and restart my computer but it show same language
    in this reboot mins restart or format
    my computer is in russian language and need to be in english
  • Hi, I bought a Laptop from ebay and when it arrived it was in Hungarian, I did all the setting as laid out in to method shown which I actually found before seeing this page and most of the language is now Englishbut not all. The reason I'm still looking is it didn't work totally. My administor tools are still in Hungarian, if I right click there is Hugarian mixed in with other options and I downloaded Classic Shell myself and "Shutdown" etc is in Hungarian and the word apps is in Hungarian plus various. This I find strange as I would have thought that something I downloaded after my changes would definitely be in English, I am stumped. I am thinking despite the PC is exactly what I want I am going to have to return the PC to the seller (who I think should have made these changes before selling in an Engilish speaking country or stated that it was hungarian in his listing)but that's another matter
  • Same here, in my case, even following all the steps here and restarting, while the large majority of Windows, office and apps now use an English UI, still most device names, system errors and Admin utilities remain in German, even the Lenovo driver update utilities which I de-installed and re-installed following the language changes. Will some knowledgable person post an update on how to deep change the *full* language settings right down to the system level?
  • With my Lenovo IdeaPad Flex with Windows 10 Home from Costco for $900, steps 22-24 can not be completed i.e. the changes can not be made. What can be the problem? Thanks a lot!
  • Hi! I just bought a new laptop and it came with Windows 10 Home Single Language. And that language is Spanish. I want to get rid of Spanish and switch to English. Just English, not other languages. Is there a way to do that?
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