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Create a Multilingual Windows Image

You can create a Windows image that supports multiple languages by adding one or more language packs.

Adding multiple language packs to a Windows image can significantly increase its size. A Windows image (.wim) file with several language packs can be significantly larger than a single-language Windows image file. Installing large Windows images over the network can lead to longer installations.

To create a multilingual Windows image

  1. Locate the .wim file that contains the Windows images that you intend to add languages to or remove languages from.
    The Windows image must be a recently installed and captured image, or the default Windows Vista retail image. This will ensure that the Windows image does not have any pending package actions. The Windows images can be in any language. For example, you can start with an English (US) image and add support for Japanese (Japan) and Korean (Korea). In addition, you can also install Language Interface Packs (LIPs) onto a Windows image that contains the supported base language. For more information about the supported language packs and LIPs, see Supported Language Packs and Default Settings.
  2. Depending on how many language packs you want to add to the Windows image, either mount or apply the Windows image to an available directory by using the ImageX command. Because of performance concerns, if you are installing more than three language packs to a Windows image, it is faster to apply the Windows image to a directory, apply the language packs to that image, and then recapture that image.
    If you are installing three or fewer language packs, you can mount the Windows image to an available directory. For example,
    imageX /mountrw C:\windows_distribution\sources\install.wim 1 C:\wim
    
    If you are installing more than three language packs to the Windows image, you must apply the image to an available directory. For example,
    imageX /apply C:\windows_distribution\sources\install.wim 1 C:\wim
    
    noteNote
    The Install.wim may contain multiple Windows images. If the .wim file contains multiple Windows images, then repeat steps 2 to 6 for each Windows image in the .wim file.
  3. If there are languages in your Windows images that are not required, remove these languages before installing new languages. It is important that language pack removal precedes adding new language packs. If you are creating multiple multilingual images in a .wim file, repeat the following procedures for each Windows image that you intend to remove language packs from.
    For example, if you start with a Windows image that contains English (US) and French (France) languages installed, but you do not require French, remove the French language pack before installing new language packs.
    1. Use Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) to create an answer file that contains only the language packs that you intend to uninstall. Open the Windows image by using Windows SIM and create a new answer file.
    2. In the Package node, under Language Packs, right-click the language pack that you intend to uninstall and click Add to Answer File.
    3. Select the language pack in the Answer File pane. In the Properties pane, under Settings, choose the Remove value for the Action setting.
    4. Save the answer file and close Windows SIM.
      The answer file must be similar to the following sample.
      <package action="remove">
         <assemblyIdentity name="Microsoft-Windows-LanguagePack-Package" version="6.0.5714.0" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="fr-FR" />
      </package>
      
    5. Use Package Manager to apply the unattended installation answer file to the mounted Windows image. For example,
      start /w pkgmgr /o:"C:\wim\;C:\wim\Windows" /n:"C:\unattend.xml"
      
      The language is removed from the Windows image.
  4. Add a language pack for each language that you intend to install.
    noteNote
    Microsoft recommends that you do not install more than ten language packs at a time.
    1. Use Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) to create an answer file that contains only the language packs that you intend to install. You can add one or more language packs to the answer file.
    2. On the Insert menu, select Package(s).
    3. The Select Package(s) to Insert window opens.
    4. Navigate to the language package to add, and then click Open.
    5. In the Properties pane, under Settings, choose the Install value for the Action setting.
    6. Save the answer file and close Windows SIM. The answer file must be similar to the following example.
      <package action="install">
         <assemblyIdentity name="Microsoft-Windows-LanguagePack-Package" version="6.0.5714.0" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="ja-JP" />
         <source location="C:\LPs\ja-JP\lp.cab" />
      </package>
      
    7. Use Package Manager to apply the answer file to the mounted Windows image. For example,
      start /w pkgmgr /o:"C:\wim\;C:\wim\Windows" /n:"C:\unattend.xml"
      
      The language is installed to the Windows image.
  5. After all languages have been removed and added to the Windows image, use Intlcfg.exe to select the default language. For example, if you intend to specify Japanese (Japan) as the default language, use the following command:
    intlcfg.exe –all:ja-JP –image:C:\wim
    
  6. Either unmount the Windows image if the image was mounted, or capture the Windows image if the image was applied.
    If the Windows image was mounted to a local directory, unmount the image and commit the changes by using ImageX. For example,
    ImageX /unmount /commit C:\wim
    
    If the Windows image was applied to a local directory, capture the Windows image by using ImageX. For example,
    ImageX /capture C:\wim C:\windows_distribution\updatedImage.wim “Windows Vista BUSINESS”
    
  7. If there are multiple Windows images to remove languages from and add languages to, then repeat steps 2 through 6 for each Windows image in the .wim file.
  8. After all Windows images in the .wim file are updated, you must export the images to a new .wim file. Although the language pack is removed from the specific Windows image, the related language pack files are still present in the .wim file. Exporting the Windows image to a new .wim file ensures that any unnecessary files are not carried to the new .wim file. Use the ImageX command to export the Windows images in a .wim file to a new .wim file. For example,
    ImageX /export /check C:\windows_distribution\sources\install.wim * C:\newinstall.wim
    

The Windows image is ready to be deployed.

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