Regional and Language Options

Windows XP is by far the most internationally oriented version of Windows to date. It can accommodate any conceivable arrangement of date, currency, and number formats; comes with fonts for dozens of Asian languages; lets you remap your keyboard to type non-English symbols of every ilk; and so on.

For the first time in Windows, you can install multiple input languages on your computer and easily switch between them when the mood strikes (see Section 5.4 for details about the Language bar). The key term here is input language; the language for the operating system doesn’t change. If you installed Windows XP in English, you’ll still see the menus and dialog boxes in English. But when you switch the input language, your keyboard will type the characters necessary for the selected language.)

Regional Options Tab

If you think that 7/4 means July 4 and that 1.000 is the number of heads you have, skip this section.

But in some countries, 7/4 means April 7, and 1.000 means one thousand. If your PC isn’t showing numbers, times, currency symbols, or dates in a familiar way, click the Customize button to rearrange the sequence of date elements (see Figure 8-18).


The Customize Regional Options box (Figure 8-15, left) is where you can specify whether you prefer a 12-hour clock (“3:05 PM”) or a military or European-style, 24-hour clock (“1505”).

Languages Tab

The symbols you use when you’re typing in Swedish aren’t the same as when you’re typing in English. Microsoft ...

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