GoKunming Forums

Buying a laptop with Windows in English

explorerred (26 posts) • 0

I've been shopping for a new laptop at the computer mart on one two one street and am told by the shop assistants that if I want them to install Windows 7 in English it will be a pirated version (at least they're honest enough to say so!). So I'm wondering if this will cause a problem, for example when Windows 8 comes out in a few months, will the fact that my OS isn't genuine mean that I can't upgrade for the reduced price. Because apparently the reduced price will be something like $15 as opposed to maybe ten times that if you don't already have Windows. I always find these kinds of issues very confusing to deal with, especially since my Chinese is extremely limited. Ideally I would love to just find a shop that can install a genuine version of Windows 7 in English when I buy the computer.

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

If you want the GENUINE version of Windows 7 - you can BUY it. A brand new version of Win7 looks something like this. Perhaps you'll think twice, as when win8 comes out - it'll only cost you an additional ¥15 (if not free) to upgrade to the new grey market version.

WIN7 VERSION TREE
Source: windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/compare

HOME MSRP USD 119.99 = CNY 764
PROFESSIONAL MSRP USD 199.99 = CNY 1,273
ULTIMATE MSRP USD 219.99 = CNY 1,401
ENTERPRISE - too lazy - you can look this up yourself.

They ALL have GENUINE copies of Windows - but when they install their genuine copy on your machine - it becomes grey market - especially since the "WGA phone home" features are usually disabled. This does NOT mean you can't get win7 and eventually win8 upgrades - it just gets a little complicated depending on the grey version they installed.

If you're asking them to install their GENUINE version on your laptop for free - well that's a nice dream - but you might be able to negotiate it for a fee - but again - you'll probably just end up with the grey market version installed anyway.

Since you're not a savvy win hacker - you do realize that upgrading to win8 may break lots of things - it'll be classically bug infested upon release requiring daily to weekly upgrades, you'll DEFINITELY need antivirus software installed - which also will require daily to weekly updates, and most of your applications will also either just quit working or start behaving strangely - also requiring daily to weekly updates for the next 12 months.

Also - you do realize that win7 has 32 and 64 bit installation options...

Microsoft's business model is most interesting to study - especially their pricing and anti-piracy efforts.

Dazzer (2813 posts) • 0

I believe that Win7 is multilingual. It just needs to be set up to operate using English language and this needs to be on installation.
But I could be wrong.

Geezer (1947 posts) • 0

I bought a notebook in 2010 in Kunming. I had my real and legal English WIN XP installed after formatting the HD. But that was the easy part.

It took a more trips back to the store to find, download, and change most of the drivers to the English versions. Finally, it was sorted out.

Lately, the notebook has begun to display error messages in Simplified Chinese. There is very little Chinese software on the machine, just some dictionaries and QQ.

I have an original, legal OFFICE 2007 as well, Unfortunately, Excel has taken on some Chinese characteristics.

Microsoft products are "localized." I am not sure what all is involved but it is not simply GUI in another language. Access in English is not compatible with the localized Chinese version. Certain common tasks in English Excel have been modified to fit the way Chinese use spreadsheets. Trust me, teaching Access and Excel to Chinese students requires you to have both a high level of Chinese skill and the localized versions installed. Otherwise, the neat stuff you do at home, handouts, samples and planned lectures, just won't work on the school's computers.

Computers are cheaper in the US. Chinese like to buy cheap so they usually buy little more than bare bones configurations. I like lots of HD and RAM. Upgrading locally will drive the price way above stateside prices. My locally bought notebook, with a 4GB DIY RAM upgrade was significantly more expensive than the same model with 4GB RAM and a bigger HD in the US. Deciding factor: the cost of shipping.

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

Unfortunately Dazzer is wrong, I wish he wasn't!

Windows 7 doesn't include multiple languages for the cheap versions - if you want multilanguage support you have to buy Windows 7 Ultimate and then you are eligible to download them.

This was something they changed from XP and is quite annoying. More info: windows.microsoft.com/[...]

I would say with a pirated copy of Win7 you are playing with fire if you want to download an additional language pack, but thats not what the OP posted so I won't say more.

You almost certainly will not be able to upgrade to Windows 8 if you have a pirated version. My advice is actually to buy Windows 7 legit (the ultimate version) in Chinese as laotou suggests and download the English language pack. With such a cheap upgrade to Windows 8 and the buggy crud that happens when you have a pirated version of windows, its worth the cost.

tigertiger - moderator (5085 posts) • 0

@blobbles, in March last year I would have agreed with you. Having searched the net I found the same information. That being that it must be Win7 Ultimate and that there is a need to download a language pack.

However, my boss at the time (now returned home) had bought licensed Win7 (not Ultimate) in China and installed onto the schools PCs in English.

In June I went to HK to buy a laptop from a legit store. I told them I wanted English Win7. The salesman smiled and said that the language is not important if it is set the first time the computer is started. Not being tech savvy I believed him and watched him open up, set up and the machine works in English. With no gimping out to Chinese. I am running Win7 Home Premium.

There would be no point in the sales person to lie to me by selling me an English language version and pretending it did not matter. There is also no reason why the colleague in my last boss would need to lie about this either.

All my updates work OK and I have never reverted in part or otherwise to Chinese language. I am also running a legit English language copy of Office2010.

I tend to concur with Dazzer.

It is possible that the IT monkeys in the downtown stores have not learned about this because they are only using grey software.

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

If you check the link I gave above, you'll see that ONLY Win7 ULTIMATE allows the full gamut of language packs. The Home PREMIUm and PROFESSIONAL are language restricted.

Since you want the legitimate license - just buy it online. Amazon.com or any legit computer store. And I might add - mighty sporting of you to buy the legit licenses.

The legit software license for the FULL (brand new) version of win7 ULTIMATE is USD 319.99. Legit laptop dealers are supposed to bundle this for you (one of the legit versions). Most laptops in China are supposed to ship with some version of LINUX to avoid the anti-piracy issues. It's then up to the individual to purchase legit or pirate sw to switch to WIN.

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

Hmmm... this is strange if you got this to work tigertiger - I have reinstalled win7 on my friends system in NZ using a Windows 7 Home Premium disk bought legit in NZ. I was given no other language option other than English during the installation (they wanted Chinese!).

Maybe there are many types of disks with different options out there? Very strange.

Could it be that Microsoft makes location specific disks?? HK is definitely multilingual, NZ is considered only English speaking, China maybe considered only Chinese speaking... would be weird if they have set it up like this.

Ouyang (243 posts) • 0

Don't bother buying one. Just make sure the Chinese version is legit. Download the release candidate of Windows 8 from Microsoft and dual boot. Then when Windows 8 is released upgrade the Chinese Windows 7 to Windows 8, change to English and enjoy.

Oh, and I'd recommend just doing a fresh install(with format) over the Chinese version if Windows 8 upgrade allows that. That way you get rid of all the crap-ware that comes with the computer.

gbtexdoc (218 posts) • 0

I bought an excellent Lenovo Thinkpad x220 (good specs) from an authorized dealer here in Kunming this spring. It came with a legitimate version Win 7 Home Premium installed. The dealer somehow switched the language of the OS to English for me and added an English language bootleg copy of MS Office 2007.

The hardware works fine, but the software is still driving me nuts. Even with the above modifications, I've now got a mish-mash of English and Chinese all over the place. Also, when I download new programs, even when using a VPN, they are invariably the Chinese version and I cannot understand the interface instructions.

Would wiping the laptop clean and doing fresh installs of everything be a solution? I read the post above that talked about driver issues, and the other one suggesting that MS software is all somehow location specific.

Those factors makes me worry about doing this. I'm willing to pay a real technician the going rate to sort it out and get it right. Am not necessarily after the cheapest solution, I just want to once again have a user friendly machine.

Any ideas much appreciated. Footnote: I'm not real tech savvy.

Login to post