By Val Bakh 2. Windows 7 2.1 Windows 7 Editions 2.1.2 Support For Multiple Languages It all depends on your linguistic requirements. It is much easier if you’re a home user. You can simply purchase any Windows 7 consumer edition in your preferred language, and then enjoy the ride. If you are an IT professional responsible for maintaining Windows 7 in multilingual environments, you have more options.
Windows 7 core binaries can be used in any language, but the graphical user interface is not. In fact, the screen should be displayed in a language other than English. Language packs are used to localize. There are two types: one is simply called language packs (LPs) and the other is known as language interface packs or LIPs. An LP provides complete locale, and the default LP is required for all WIM images and any Windows 7 edition. LIPs provide partial localization in a supplementary languages and are dependent on a parent LP. Microsoft offers LPs through its volume licensing program, and LIPs can be freely accessed on the Internet.
We are now ready to tackle another way of classifying Windows 7 editions – based on their language support. A single-language edition is one that supports only one LP at once. All editions, except Enterprise and Ultimate, are single-language editions. An offline WIM image can be loaded with as many LPs as you like. However, when the image is deployed to a target machine and is first started, the user will be prompted to choose one language. All other LPs will be automatically deleted. Enterprise and Ultimate are multilingual editions. When you add multiple LPs to a multilingual edition image and deploy it to a target machine, the additional languages will not be removed. All languages are available and can be switched between at any time.
Maintaining WIM images in multilingual environments is one tricky decision you might have to make. It’s easy to add all the required LPs and LIPs to your images, and users can play with any language you choose. With the other editions, however, you need to decide: Should you pump all the languages you are required to support into your single-language-edition images and then let users figure it all out? Or should you create a separate image for each geographical area, with the appropriate language for that area. The answer lies in how operating system updates are applied.
Let’s say you need to deploy Windows 7 within your company. You create a WIM image and then deploy it. What happens to the image? Is it best to archive the image and make it history? Most likely, no. There are always dynamics. New employees need computers; computers can malfunction and need to reimage; computers age and need replacement. The chances are you will need to keep the image around for a while. Microsoft releases monthly updates. You need to deploy them to all computers and also to the WIM file. This will ensure that you don’t have to do a lot of updates on each target computer a year later. Some updates are language-specific, and they are applied to each language installed. You will need to reapply any updates that were language-specific if you add languages after installing the updates.
It turned out to be not so bad after all. No matter whether you are using Windows 7 in single-language or multilingual editions, you should install all languages in your deployment images in advance. This will allow you to keep fewer images, and make it easier to do so.