How to fix problems with language settings in all versions of Windows

If your computer thinks it’s American and corrects your spelling accordingly, or your keyboard doesn’t appear to be British, your language settings are to blame. Here’s how to fix them.

There’s nothing more annoying than pressing [Shift] + [2] on your keyboard and getting the @ symbol rather than speech marks, or seeing “realise” flagged as a spelling mistake, with “realize” suggested as a correction.

These problems, and others like them, all stem from incorrect language settings in Windows. In short, inadvertently setting Windows to use something other than English (UK) can cause all manner of trouble, but it’s easily fixed once you know where to look.

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Windows 10 language settings

For Windows 10, watch our video and follow the instructions below:

Click on Cortana from the taskbar below, type language into the search box and select Region & language settings from the list of results that appears.

Changing the language settings on Windows 10

Select United Kingdom from the drop-down list under Country or region.

Changing the language settings on Windows 10

Next, if you don’t see English (United Kingdom) under the Languages section, click the Add a language button.

Changing the language settings on Windows 10

Scroll through the list of languages that appears to find English.

Changing the language settings on Windows 10

Select the English (United Kingdom) option that’s just been added under Languages and click the Set as default button. You can now select any unwanted languages in this section and click the Remove button.

Changing the language settings on Windows 10

 

Windows XP language settings

Open the Start menu, select Control Panel and double-click the icon for Regional and Language Options.

Windows XP Control Panel

When the dialog box opens, click the Regional Options tab and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list at the top. Then select United Kingdom from the Location drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box.

Windows XP Regional Options

Next, click the Languages tab and click the Details button. When the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box opens, if English (United Kingdom) isn’t the Default input language, select it from the drop-down list.

Windows XP Text Services

If English (United Kingdom) doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, click the Add button and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list that appears. Click the OK button.

Windows XP Add Input Language

Back on the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box, select any languages you want to remove under Installed Services and click the Remove button for each. Click the OK button to close the dialog box.

Back on the Regional and Language Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list at the top of the dialog box. Now click the OK button to close the dialog box. You may need to insert your Windows installation disc at this point, or show Windows to where its installation files are stored on your PC.

Windows XP Unicode language

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Windows Vista language settings

Open the Start menu, select Control Panel and select the Clock, Language, and Region option, followed by Regional and Language Options.

Windows Vista Control Panel

Windows Vista Regional and Language options

When the dialog box opens, click the Formats tab and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list for Current format.

Windows Vista language format

Click the Location tab and select United Kingdom from the drop-down list for Current location.

Windows Vista Location

Next, click the Keyboards and Languages tab and click the Change keyboards button in the Keyboards and other input languages section.

When the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box opens, if English (United Kingdom) isn’t the Default input language, select it from the drop-down list.

Windows Vista Text Services

If English (United Kingdom) doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, click the Add button and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list that appears. Click the OK button.

Windows Vista Input Language

Back on the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box, select any languages you want to remove under Installed Services and click the Remove button for each. Click the OK button to close the dialog box and again to close the Regional and Language Options dialog box.

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Windows 7 language settings

Open the Start menu, select Control Panel and select the Clock, Language, and Region option, followed by Region and Language.

Windows 7 Control Panel

Windows 7 Region and Language option

When the dialog box opens, click the Formats tab and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list for Format

Windows 7 language format

Click the Location tab and select United Kingdom from the drop-down list for Current location.

Windows 7 Location

Next, click the Keyboards and Languages tab and click the Change keyboards button in the Keyboards and other input languages section.

Windows 7 Text Services

If English (United Kingdom) doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, click the Add button and select English (United Kingdom) from the drop-down list that appears. Click the OK button.

Back on the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box, select any languages you want to remove under Installed Services and click the Remove button for each. Click the OK button to close the dialog box and again to close the Regional and Language dialog box.

Windows 7 Input Language

 

Windows 8.1 language settings

On the Start screen, type language and select Region and language settings from the list of results that appear.

Windows 8.1 language settings

Select United Kingdom from the drop-down list under Country or region.

Windows 8.1 country setting

Next, if you don’t see English (United Kingdom) under the Languages section, click the Add a language button.

Windows 8.1 Add a language

Scroll through the list of languages that appears to find English, select it and then select English (United Kingdom).

Windows 8.1 adding English

Select the English (United Kingdom) option that’s just been added under Languages and click the Set as primary button. You can now select any unwanted languages in this section and click the Remove button.

Windows 8.1 set primary language

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