Skip to main content

Deploying Windows 8 Language Packs

The Windows 8 operating system is fully multilingual and ready to mingle! All editions of Windows 8 offer a multilingual user interface (UI), which means that people can use their preferred language on any device running Windows 8 by using Windows 8 language packs. This is a change from the Windows 7 operating system, which only supported multilingual UI in Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

You can deploy language packs to devices running Windows 8 in either of two ways:

  • Online deployment. You can install the language packs after Windows 8 is deployed by using the Optional Updates section in Windows Update.
  • Offline deployment. You can install the language packs during Windows 8 deployment—before Windows 8 starts for the first time.

For most organizations, offline deployment of language packs allows better control of the desktop environment and reduces user effort and complexity in supporting multilingual environments. This article shows you how to perform offline deployments so that you can quickly and easily bring multilingual support to your Windows 8 devices.

note iconNote:
You can download language packs for use in offline deployment from the Volume License Servicing Center.

Select a Deployment Method

Most organizations have different deployment standards and requirements. Fortunately, you can use any of the methods that Table 1 lists to deploy Windows 8 language packs. Use Table 1 to select the method that best suits the needs of your organization.

MethodDescription
Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM)

DISM is a free tool provided with Windows 8 and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit. It allows you to manage Windows 8 operating system images—specifically, .wim file formats. The DISM tool provides a method of adding (injecting) language packs to Windows 8 images that can be deployed to the designated computers. The advantages of using the DISM tool include:

  • Available with Windows 8 at no additional cost.
  • Use with a partner- or vendor-provided Windows 8 image-deployment method.

Note:
Tools like the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) use the DISM tool to service Windows 8 operating system images, including adding language packs. During automated deployments, Microsoft recommends that you use these tools to reduce deployment effort and complexity, instead of using the DISM tool directly.

Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1

You can use the operating system deployment (OSD) feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to deploy Windows 8 operating systems and language packs. The advantages of using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager include:

  • Provides integrated deployment of language packs and operating system images.
  • Allows granular control of language pack deployment on a user-by-user or device-by-device basis.

Note:
Microsoft recommends that you use MDT with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to further reduce deployment effort and complexity.

MDT 2012 Update 1

MDT is a free product that allows you to integrate language pack deployment with operating system deployment. MDT greatly simplifies the deployment effort and complexity while reducing configuration errors by using a wizard-driven UI. You can use MDT with or without System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. The advantages of using MDT include:

  • Available at no cost from Microsoft
  • Provides integrated deployment of language packs and operating system images
  • Reduces configuration and deployment complexity by using a wizard-driver UI
  • Allows granular control of language pack deployment on a user-by-user or device-by-device basis

Table 1. Methods for deploying Windows 8 language packs


In many instances, using a combination of the methods in Table 1 may be desired. For example, an organization might deploy core language packs in an image using the DISM tool, while optional packs are added at the time of deployment by using MDT. The decision to include language packs in images is usually driven by the size of the language packs and the impact on image size.

DISM

You can add language packs to Windows 8 custom images by using the DISM tool. You can also configure the default Windows language by using the DISM tool to customize the Unattended.xml file. The following is a summary of the high-level process for adding a language pack to a Windows 8 image by using the DISM tool. The section, “To add a language pack using DISM,” in the article Add a Language Pack to a Windows Image provides detailed instructions.

  1. Using the DISM tool, mount the Windows 8 image to which you want to add the language pack.
  2. Add the language pack to the Windows 8 image: Dism /Image:C:\test\offline /ScratchDir:C:\Scratch /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\packages\fr-fr\lp.cab
  3. Optionally, configure the Unattended.xml file to set the default language for the deployment.
  4. Commit the image changes.
  5. Dismount the image.

For more information about how to manage language packs in Windows 8 images, see the article How to Add and Remove Language Packs Offline in the TechNet Library.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

You can deploy Windows 8 images by using the OSD feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. These Windows 8 images can include language packs (as you saw earlier with DISM). You can create custom Windows 8 images that include the language packs using DISM, and then deploy those custom images using the OSD feature either using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager only (as described in the additional information below) or in combination with MDT.

note iconNote:
Microsoft recommends that you use MDT with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to further reduce deployment effort and complexity.


For more information, see the following resources:

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

Table 2 lists the MDT deployment technologies and provides a brief description of each. You can use the MDT deployment technology that best meets the deployment requirements of your organization. The following sections describe how to deploy Windows 8 language packs by using each deployment technology. For more information about the MDT deployment technologies, see the sections, “Overview of the MDT Deployment Process” and “Choosing LTI, ZTI, or UDI Deployments,” in the MDT document Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

TechnologyDescription
Lite Touch Installation (LTI)LTI performs deployments without System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. You configure LTI deployments using the Deployment Workbench. LTI deployments allow you to fully automate the deployment of language packs or interactively select the desired language packs during installation.
Zero Touch Installation (ZTI)ZTI performs deployments with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. You configure ZTI deployments by using the Configuration Manager console. For ZTI deployment, you must fully specify the desired language packs and related configuration prior to starting the deployment process by using the CustomSettings.ini file or the MDT database (MDT DB). You can control which language packs are deployed to specific devices by using a combination of task sequence variables and task sequence step conditions.
User-Driven Installation (UDI)UDI performs deployments by using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. You configure your deployments by using the Configuration Manager console and the UDI Wizard Designer, which allow you to fully automate the deployment of language packs or interactively select the desired language packs during installation.

Table 2. MDT deployment technologies

Lite Touch Installation

To deploy language packs using LTI, perform these simple steps:

  1. Import one or more language packs into a deployment share by using the Import OS Package Wizard in the Deployment Workbench, which you start by clicking Import OS Packages in the Actions pane in the Packages node in a deployment share.

    For more information, see the section, “Import a New Package into the Deployment Workbench,” in the MDT document Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  2. Configure LTI to deploy language packs as follows:
    • Mandatory. You can make the deployment of some language packs mandatory by using the LanguagePacks MDT property, which you set in the CustomSettings.ini file or the MDT DB. The following listing is an excerpt from a CustomSettings.ini file:

      [Settings]
      Priority=Default
      [Default]
      LanguagePacks001={a1923f8d-b07b-44c7-ac1e-353b7cc4c1ad}

      For more information on the LanguagePacks property, see the section, “LanguagePacks,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

      You should also hide the language pack from the Deployment Wizard to prevent users from disrupting the pack’s installation. For more information, see the section, “Prevent a Package from Being Visible in the Deployment Wizard,” in the MDT document Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
    • Optional. You can display a list of available language packs on the Language Packs Deployment Wizard page (shown in Figure 1). Users can select the language packs they want to install during deployment. By default, any language pack you import into the deployment share is available on the Language Packs wizard page.

      Language Packs wizard page
      Figure 1. Language Packs wizard page
  3. Configure the default language by using one of the following methods:
    • Interactive. You can select the default language on the Locale and Time Deployment Wizard page (shown in Figure 2) at the time of deployment, which occurs in Step 4.
    • Fully automated. You can select the default language by using the KeyboardLocale, UserLocale, and UILanguage MDT properties in the CustomSettings.ini file.

      For more information on the KeyboardLocale, UserLocale, and UILanguage properties, see the corresponding sections in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

      Locale and Time wizard page
      Figure 2. Locale and Time wizard page
  4. Run the Deployment Wizard to deploy Windows 8. If you did not make the language pack mandatory, select the language pack on the Languages Packs wizard page (shown in Figure 1), and then select the default language on the Locale and Time wizard page (shown in Figure 2).

    For more information, see the section, “Performing LTI Deployments,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

Zero Touch Installation

Unlike LTI or UDI, you must configure all of the deployment configuration settings prior to performing a ZTI deployment. You can deploy language packs with ZTI by performing the following steps:

  1. Create Configuration Manager packages for the language packs to be deployed. In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager-based deployments, you deploy language packs in Configuration Manager packages as a part of the task sequence. For ZTI, you can use any combination of the following methods to do so:
    • Deploy all the language packs in one Configuration Manager package. This method reduces the number of Configuration Manager packages but increases the length of the deployment and the amount of disk space consumed on the target device, because all the language packs in a package are deployed, and there is no way to select individual language packs.
    • Create a separate Configuration Manager package for each language pack. This method allows a fine granularity of control over which language packs are deployed and the amount of disk space consumed on the target device but increases the complexity of configuring the deployment of the right combination of language packs to the correct devices.
    For more information, see the section, “Add Language Packs in Configuration Manager 2012,” in the MDT document Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  2. Add an Install Language Packs Offline task sequence step to the task sequence for each Configuration Manager package created in the previous step that you want to deploy with the task sequence.

    For more information on the Install Language Packs Offline task sequence step, see the section, “Install Language Packs Offline,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  3. Configure the default language by using the KeyboardLocale, UserLocale, and UILanguage MDT properties in the CustomSettings.ini file.

    For more information on the KeyboardLocale, UserLocale, and UILanguage properties, see the corresponding sections in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  4. Deploy Windows 8 and the language packs to the targeted devices.

    For more information, see the section, “Performing ZTI Deployments Using Configuration Manager 2012,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

User-Driven Installation

Deploying language packs in UDI is similar to LTI, except that you use the OSD feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager for distributing the content and running the task sequence. To deploy language packs by using UDI, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a separate Configuration Manager package for each language pack to be deployed.

    This method allows you to select the individual language packs in the UDI Wizard (see Figure 3) at deployment time. For more information, see the section, “Add Language Packs in Configuration Manager 2012,” in the MDT document Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

    Language wizard page in the UDI Wizard Designer
    Figure 3. Language wizard page in the UDI Wizard Designer
  2. Add an Install Language Packs Offline task sequence step to the task sequence for each Configuration Manager package created in the previous step that you want to deploy with the task sequence.

    To work properly with UDI, you will need to make each of the Install Language Packs Offline task sequence steps conditional based on the UILanguage task sequence variable. The UILanguage task sequence variable is set on the Language wizard page in the UDI Wizard. If you want a language pack to be deployed regardless of the selection made on the Language wizard page, do not put a condition on the corresponding task sequence step.

    For more information, see the section, “Prepare for Language Pack Deployment in UDI,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  3. Configure the language packs to be available for deployment using the UDI Wizard designer (shown in Figure 3).

    For more information, see the section, “LanguagePage,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.
  4. Run the task sequence to deploy Windows 8; on the Language UDI Wizard page, select the language to be deployed (shown in Figure 4).

    For more information, see the section, “Performing ZTI Deployments Using Configuration Manager 2012,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference, which is part of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Documentation Library installed with MDT.

    Language wizard page in the UDI Wizard
    Figure 4. Language wizard page in the UDI Wizard

Conclusion

As you have seen, deploying Windows 8 to be multilingual ready is easy to do and can be highly automated. You can use tools like the DISM tool, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, and MDT to help you integrate language pack deployment right into your Windows 8 operating system deployment processes with minimal effort. As a result, you can provide users an enhanced user experience in their native language from the moment their Windows 8 device starts the first time.