Windows 7 Language and Regional Settings

December 10, 2010, By Christian Cawley

With Windows 7 clock settings explained previously, our look at clock, language and regional settings continues with the operating system’s language and regional settings.

Accessible via Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region you can adjust the language settings of your Windows 7 PC or laptop using the Region and Language options.

Here you can install and remove languages, change the display language or your current location or even alter your date, time and number formatting. These options can be particularly useful when using financial or location-based software.

Alter regional settings in Windows 7Region and Location Options

Using the Region and Language settings box allows you to make various changes, some of which can affect how your PC or laptop behaves, so make you changes carefully.

On the Formats tab you can select a display Format: by language – for instance changing English (United Kingdom) to English (United States) would alter how short date format would display from dd/MM/yyyy to MM/dd/yyyy.

However if you any problems with these settings the Date and time formats can also be changed, with short and long dates, short and long times and even First day of the week: available as options to be configured as per your personal preference.

Currency and Numbers can also be altered via the Additional settings… screen where you can set Digit grouping: options (long numbers with commas or without?) and even change your computer’s measurement system from European Metric to US (also known in the British Empire as “Imperial”). Currency options allow you to change the currency symbol, a particularly useful option if you work in the UK but trade in dollars or euros.

Further Time and Date options are also available although the most notable among these is the choice to change the two-digit year range. This changes the default 1930-2029 setting (which will automatically update on January 1st each year) and is one of those features that is quite useful to know the whereabouts of, just in case…

On the Location tab, meanwhile, you can set your current location – this is available via a drop down menu and is particularly useful if you are using a laptop and need to make region-based alterations, as this will override any other changes you might make based on your location.

Keyboards and Languages

Using this tab you can change the keyboard or input language with the Change keyboards… button. This displays the General tab, from where you might change the Default input language as well as Add or Remove installed input languages. Also available here are options for the Language Bar, from where changes to the selected language can be quickly made on the Windows taskbar. Meanwhile on the Advanced Key Settings tab you can adjust how Caps Lock works as well as setting hot keys for switching between languages.

Your final native language option is to change the Display language using the Install/uninstall languages… button. Language updates are available via Windows Update.

Incidentally if you have any of the Windows Live Essentials software installed, you can separately adjust the language that they display in, via Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Windows Live Language Setting. Changes to the displayed language here will require the new language to be installed.

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