Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to fix Chinese characters appearing as blocks in Windows 7

Windows 7 is supposed to display non-ASCII characters just fine out of the box but for some strange reason that's not always the case. A brand new Windows 7 installation can sometimes have problems displaying (not typing) Chinese characters.

Worse, it's not across the board. Some parts of the OS may work just fine (browser works but not Notepad, or vice versa) while others don't.

Here's one way to fix it.

Windows Locale settings
Head over to Windows' locale settings (just look for Region and Language settings in Control Panel) and change the system locale to Chinese (PRC) and reboot. Check to make sure everything's as they should be.

You can revert the locale back, it won't cause the blocks to reappear. It's one of those weird Windows bugs.