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You Cannot Change the Default User Interface Language After You Run Sysprep

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q309433
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
After you run the Sysprep tool on a Windows XP-based computer, the default system user interface language cannot be changed by modifying the Default user account settings value on the Advanced tab in the Regional and Language Options tool in Control Panel. The default system user interface language is the language that is used during the startup process, when no one is logged on, or while you are logging on. This problem occurs under the following conditions:
  • The computer is running Windows XP Professional with Windows XP Multilingual User Interface Pack installed.
  • You prepared the computer for imaging by using a Sysprep image.
  • During the Sysprep mini-Setup process, a user interface language was selected.
Sysprep mini-Setup runs in the context of the local system and uses the user profile that is used by Windows after Sysprep finishes. The registry key that is used during Sysprep for the system profile is HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT. Changing the user interface selection during Sysprep causes a registry value named HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\MUILanguagePending to be created, which specifies the user interface language that will be used the next time a user logs on to the computer. Typically, this occurs in the profile of the logged-on user, but there is no logged-on user context during Sysprep mini-Setup. Therefore, this value applies to the default system profile.

The default system profile is unlike any other user profile because the MUILanguagePending entry that is created during Sysprep is never deleted. When the Default user account settings setting in the Regional and Language Options tool in Control Panel is used, the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\MUILanguage registry key is updated to reflect the new choice. However, this setting is always overwritten by the value that remains in the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\MUILanguagePending setting. Under normal operation, the default user profile does not make use of the MUILanguagePending value. The MUILanguage is modified directly instead.
WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To work around this behavior, delete the following registry value:
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\MUILanguagePending
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

Article ID: 309433 - Last Review: 06/11/2002 09:22:00 - Revision: 1.1

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