I recently had to do some testing for a customer on a Windows 10 machine whose primary language was not English. I, having lived in the midwest United States my entire life, do not speak any other languages fluently. The customer anticipated this and sent along a very thorough set of directions, complete with pictures, of how to switch the language to English for me. Very kind of them indeed. As I looked through the directions the thought occurred to me, “I’ll probably need to do this a few times. I wonder if I can automate it. I bet I can! PowerShell to the rescue!”
Here’s the TL;DR of what I ran:
None of it takes place until you log back in, so I added the logoff at the end.
With PowerShell, knowing the answer is good, but knowing how to get the answer is even better. One of my friends, Jeff Hicks, always does a good job explaining the process of find things in PowerShell, so I thought I’d do that here.
I had the steps, in UI form, so I didn’t need to figure that out. There were 4 things that needed to be changed. I just needed to figure out how to make those changes with PowerShell. I went to a PowerShell prompt and typed:
hoping PowerShell could nudge m in the right direction. I got this back:
It wasn’t exactly what I needed, but it did show me there was a module, International, that was probably a good place to start. And knowing that I needed to change things, I was mostly interested in the Set cmdlets. There were also a couple of good help topics, about_Language_Keywords and about_Language_Modes that I could reference if I got stuck. My next step was to see what other cmdlets were in the International module. I did that with Get-Command -Module International. That filled in the blanks for me.
For the pieces that didn’t obviously connect to the pictures I had from the customer’s instruction I had some Get cmdlets above to poke around and try to match values. My next hour or so consisted of running the different Get cmdlets and figuring out where the current setting was so I could use the appropriate Set cmdlet to change it. I made liberal use of the help cmdletname –examples paradigm to figure out what the parameter values should be.
After I was finished and was searching to see if I was right I found this Technet article,
How to change display language in Windows 10, that confirmed what I was doing was correct. My script is laser focused on what I was doing, that one is more useful and generic. If you want to understand this more, read through that script.
That’s all there was to it. I can’t reboot the client machine but all of these changes have persisted multiple logouts. I did also have to use the CHCP command to change the code page of the PowerShell window. That did not persist across logins. I think there’s a way to set the default code page in the Registry, but I haven’t chased that down yet.