Ask LH: How Can I Change My Windows OS From Korean To English?

Dear Lifehacker, Some years ago, I purchased a Windows 7 Pro upgrade licence from the It's Not Cheating promotion, which provided a download link via Digital River. I downloaded the software and burnt the ISO disc - unfortunately I used an ei.cfg tool and it messed up my disc, but I didn't discover it until now...

Digital River has since disappeared. It's possible to download the ISO direct from Microsoft, however when I enter my product key, the only languages available to me are French or Korean! My French is only so-so, and my Korean is worse... so is there any way to get an ISO in English? Thanks, Mister Merde

K Pop picture from Crayon Pop

Dear MM,

This is one of the chief problems with digital downloads: when things go wrong it's a lot harder to find a solution; especially when you're dealing with third-party suppliers who have no physical retail presence.

We sent your full query to Microsoft Australia. Here is their response:

Customers who need to install or reinstall Windows 7 are advised to visit to download a disc image (ISO file) to create their own installation media using either a USB flash drive or a DVD.   Customers are advised to ensure they have their Windows product key, an internet connection, sufficient data storage available and a blank SB or DVD with at least 4 GB of space if they wish to create media. For step by step instructions, customers can visit the Software Download page.

Er, thanks Microsoft. We personally haven't come across the issue of restricted languages, but perhaps one of our readers can help.

Has anyone ever been presented with this conundrum when attempting to input their Windows product key? Did you ever discover a workaround? If so, please let MM know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Couldn't you potentially install in French, and then from Windows update install the English language pack?

    There are a lot of hints here. It sounds like there are limitations and work arounds.

    You need to have Windows Ultimate or Enterprise in order to install language packs.

    I diddly dee, a pirates life for me?

    Only legitimate way is to fork out money for an English version.

    Not much of a choice really, pay up or play up

    Your Honour, I request a sidebar.
    My upgrade from Win 7 Starter to Win 10 went OK on an old netbook but after activating I tried a reset. However, I got an inaccessible boot device error and it went into a loop. I did a fresh install using Win 10 USB media creator but it now won't activate and I don't have any installation media for the original Win 7 starter to go back to and use original product ID. Neither Acer nor Microsoft will provide me with any either.
    Any idea of where I can source an iso of Win 7 Starter from so I can roll back before upgrading again?

    Last edited 08/09/15 2:51 pm

      Try here

        Unfortunately doesn't work with manufacturer specific OEM versions.

    No idea if this would work, just an idea - could you potentially pirate an English copy of the specific windows 7 you bought, install it, then when it asks for the activation code put in your legitimate one? I'm sure it's not 100% legal but you would still have a legally activated version of the software.

    (Also, you could just pirate it)

      That was my original thought but am concerned of it being rife with malware etc.
      Anyone know if I can use a different version of Windows 7 (enterprise, pro, home) and plug in the win 7 starter licence key?

        I uhh..."know someone" who has installed pirated copies of windows and as long as you get a well-reviewed torrent of it and install some anti-virus software I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem with it.

        Also I'm pretty sure the windows 7 starter license key only works for starter, pro for pro, home for home etc.

          Guess I'll have to take a shot at it. My plan after rolling back to 7 is to then upgrade to win 10 again and then do a fresh win 10 install once activated (again) so any infections should be short lived. It's not my main machine so downtime is not an issue. Thanks

    No, since his license is only for Pro, additional language packs are not an option (that's Ultimate exclusive on 7).

    Dear @LifeHacker,

    I came across this issue last week, when I was trying to upgrade my Dell Laptop with Windows 10 Upgrade. Due to the laptop being older and requiring a fresh installation, I formatted my HDD and attempted to install my previous OS from scratch.
    When I purchased this Laptop it had XP installed, and I purchased an upgrade to Windows 7, (Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade - 32 bit), which I installed when it was released in 2009. When I accessed my Unique Key to perform the download and re-installation of Windows 7, the Digital River website, only gave me the option to download the Windows 7 Korean version.
    I contacted MS Online (via webchat) in regards to this, however was advised that there was nothing they could do to resolve the matter, and that I would need to escalate through MS Australia.
    I am currently awaiting a call back from MS Support Australia to assist further.


    Same thing here - only Korean option is available, but my code should be for Czech version instead.

    same thing for me its in Korean and should be English.. Even called Microsoft a few times and they pawned the call off every time telling me i should call my retail store like they would do something for me 2 years later without a box or receipt.. Ms really gives a shit about their customers :D If you buy something it should work period.. paid what almost 100 bucks for W7hp and literally have no option but to buy a new copy since digital river made it impossible to make a backup cd


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