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Windows 7: Buying a laptop in Japan with English OS

07 Jun 2010   #1

Windows XP
Buying a laptop in Japan with English OS

Hello -

I am an American expat living in Tokyo,Japan for a couple years. I do not know Japanese very well yet. I am in need of new laptop very soon. I would like it to have an English operating system. It is my understanding that Windows 7 Ultimate is able to operate in 35 languages. If I buy a laptop here in Japan with a Windows 7 Ultimate OS installed will I be able to set it to English easily? Would other programs that come installed on the laptop such as adobe and norton anti-virus be viewable in English?

I am basically interested in buying a laptop as I would back in the states. To me, the easiest would be to order online from one of the manufacuter's sites in the states. However, HP, Dell and Sony (U.S.) do not ship to Japan. I have thought about ordering from a U.S. site and getting the laptop shipped to a friend in the U.S. and then having the friend ship to Japan.

My apologies if this has already been discussed here. Any advice is much appreciated.

Thank you!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jun 2010   #2


Hello Sakura, welcome to the Seven Forums.

A language pack transforms your Windows 7 Ultimate (or Enterprise) completely to the chosen language. A language pack is an optional Windows update, and as such it can only change the language of Windows own features and dialogs. Third party software and applications are not affected, so if you have got a Japanese OS preinstalled, I'll bet that all bloatware, including preinstalled Adobe Reader and Norton is in Japanese, meaning you have to reinstall English versions. As you already know, there are 35 languages available, optional updates showing 34 languages to add on top of your original language.

I am a long time language pack user, have been using multilingual Windows since it was made possible in early beta versions of Vista. Based on my own experience I can say you are hardly going to notice the original language was not English. I say hardly because you still have remains of the original language visible, but not too much to disturb your computing.

Here's an example what I mean, a screenshot from an original German Windows Ultimate, turned to English using language pack. If I check for instance audio devices, I can see that the device names are still in German:

Buying a laptop in Japan with English OS-audio_devices.png

No big deal, I can live with that.

A very positive thing using language packs is that it allows you to have multiple languages on one computer; a language pack is not universal i.e. it does not change the language of all user accounts. You can assign a different language to every user account.

Check this post of mine from couple months back. There's more information about language packs, as well as links to other language pack related topics. Come back with more questions if you have any.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jun 2010   #3


English laptop these days are very common. specially if its brand new.

I remember a good friend who bought a laptop there that he dont know it has tons of porn movies inside which almost cost him impressionist.
so make sure you check everything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Jun 2010   #4

Windows XP

Hi Kari - Thank you so much for your quick and very helpful response. Also, thank you for pointing me to your previous posts. There are a lot of great explanations in them.

Please forgive my ignorance here, but is the language pre-set by the laptop manufacturer? I guess what I'm asking is if I am able to buy a laptop in Japan with the Windows 7 Ultimate not installed, then would I be able to install the Windows 7 Ultimate and choose English as my install language? (Then, I could download the Japanese language pack for my minimal use of Japanese)

Also, please, do you know how this feature of the Windows 7 Ultimate compares to the Mac OS's similar feature? I somehow understood that now matter where you physically buy a mac, the os is the same and that you just choose the language you want. But, maybe it is similar to where you download a language pack to do so.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2010   #5


A Windows install media, DVD or downloaded ISO file, normally contains only one language. Installing Windows must therefore be done using that language, any additional languages installed afterwards. In other words, if you have a Japanese install media the installation process and all dialogs are in Japanese, and you can change the language only after installation is completed and a language pack downloaded from Windows Update is installed.

Some computer manufacturers supply a multilingual install media, in multilingual market areas. This is normally done so, that when a new computer is booted first time, it let's user choose the language of Windows. This choice can be made one time only, a later full system recovery to factory settings remembers the original choice and don't let user to change language any more. For instance, all HP computers I buy from my native Finland come with the choice of Finnish, Swedish and English; the choice has to be made when booted first time, and can not be later reverted.

I don't think you get this choice in Japan.

My conclusion: if you buy a new PC in Japan, it most probably comes with a preinstalled Japanese Windows. To change it to English, you have to download and install English language pack, or buy English install media and replace the preinstalled OS with that.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2010   #6

window's 7
Brand new Alienware M11x

Dear Sakura, if you are interested then I would like to offer you my brand new Alienware M11x (GNO3 model) which I bought from dell japan.Here is the link-

It has everything in English including MS office 2010 (excel, power point,outlook etc.) and BitDefender total security 2010.

You can check its performance here-

Its got full one year Dell's standard repair warranty (stating from 10 may 2010,the day I received it from Dell).If you are interested then I can provide you with the rest of the information.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2010   #7

Windows XP

Hi again-

Kari - Thank you so much for your explanations. They have really helped me to gain a better understanding of the capabilities of Windows OS with respect to language. I feel much better now. I do think I'm going to try to buy it in the States so I have the install OS in English. Then, I can download the language pack for Japanese. Thank you for your support and helping me out! It's much appreciated!

Verma - Thank you for offering me your computer here in Japan. I'm sorry, but I am not interested in purchasing it. I am looking at another brand and model of a pc laptop.

Thank you,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2010   #8


I think that's a right decision, Sakura. That way you get all included third party software in English, as well as those few things language pack does not translate (re: audio device in my first reply).

In my opinion, it's always better in a multilingual setup to use the main language as install language, and add other needed languages later.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Buying a laptop in Japan with English OS

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