Some basic computer questions

I’m getting a new computer, and believe it or not, it’s the first time I’ve owned one. So, basically, I’m pretty ignorant about OSs and stuff like that, so I hope someone can help me with a few questions.

  1. The computer comes with a version of Windows called Windows ME. Is this any good or should I get XP or something?

  2. The Windows ME is in Chinese. Is there any version of Windows which is biligual and you can just menu switch between two languages? Any other options to accomodate one English-speaking and one Chinese speaking user?

  3. Similarly, with software like MS Office, is it all monolingual? Would the best bet be to just have one English one and one Chinese one on the hard drive? What about Outlook Express and Explorer which come with windows? if I had just English windows, would it be possible to have one English and one Chinese program of each of these.

  4. If I end up using English windows and English word, can I still type Chinese charcters as long as I have the Chinese character set software and the Chinese typing software?

Thanks for any replies

  1. I would suggest using Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Windows ME is already considered old.

  2. Windows 2000 and Windows XP have multilingual support. This means that you can install an English Windows OS system and still be able to read and input Chinese and/or other languages without having to have a Chinese Windows OS.

  3. MS Office applications have Chinese versions with Chinese menus, but this is not necessary to view and input Chiense. Simply use MS Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer) with the English versions. You can still view and input Chinese in the body of documents/e-mails/browser windows.

*** Remember that this is seamless in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Earlier versions like Windows 98 are not too savy on the input of muli-languages. I don’t know about Windows ME.

To my knowledge, there are no Windows OSes that support switching between languages as far as the menus are concerned. Inputting and viewing in different languages is not a problem for Windows 2000/XP, but I don’t think toggling the actual system language on the boot OS is possible (accoring to my experience).

  1. Yes, see above. Remember, with Win 2000/XP, there is NO special Chinese input software. The system supports it from your original install CD-ROMs. You simply go to the Regional Options Control Panel and select the “Input Locales” tab. From there you can choose input languages/methods.
  1. Windows ME is junk. Avoid it like the plague. You really want Windows 2000 or Windows XP. They are much more stable.

  2. As far as I know, no. I thinik some people run dual boot systems-- one running Chinese windows and the other running the English version. Any Windows gurus out there have better suggestions? BTW, this is possible (even easy) with Linux.

  3. You can switch between Chinese and English in Office 2K or Office XP

  4. Yes. Just download the appropriate language packs and input methods from Microsoft.


Thanks for your replies

[quote]You can switch between Chinese and English in Office 2K or Office XP


Do you just mean you can switch between Chinese and English input, or can you switch between Chinese and English menus. I might not have been clear enough in my question. I can’t use Chinese (menu) MSWord very well, and my wife can’t use the English one very well. This is a problem with a lot of software. Do they have dual language menu versions, or is the best solution just to put two versions ont he computer.

Finally, what’s the difference (basically) between Windows 2000 and Windows XP?


  1. Windows ME is junk, don’t even think about it! Win 2000 is very stable no frills, never had it crash ever using Office suite, explorer etc. Win Xp is a more flash version, ‘nicer’ than 2000 and I think cheaper, however I have had it crash (XP pro) when running some types of software, esp games.

  2. I have some software somewhere (trying to dig it out here) that I bought at a trade show in the WTC, it will change all the Windows menus (including office suite and start menu) from Chinese to English or vice versa with one mouse click. Never really bothered to try it properly. You need to install it on a Chinese version of windows I believe. Try to install it on an English version and many of the set-up screens are trashed and all in Chinese…

  3. See above!

  4. Yes, with various degrees of difficulty depending on the version of Windows as someone already pointed out.

Personally I would be opting for Win 2000 in your case, esp. if you don’t play games. I think it’s actually more expensive than Xp, but there are lots of copies of it floating around…

Ok found it, you can check it out . As I said, I never really tried it, it costs about 1600NT or there abouts, go to any of the computer shows in the WTC and there are generally several stands demonstrating it in action.

[color=red]As soon as I clicked on that “hostran” link SuperS54 just gave, my anti-virus program popped up with a warning. Better not click on that link, folks.[/color]

What type of AV are you using??? Type it instead then, it’s the genuine article, don’t forget the .tw

There is a multilingual version of Windows 2000 which ships on either the Select disks, or the MSDN disks. It isn’t / didn’t use to be available as a retail version. However, I’ll be bet a large helped of Deep Fried Pig’s Arse that someone out there somewhere can get a hold of the Select or MSDN disks for you…!

Windows ME - no. If you want to play games, install Windows 98 Second Edition first. Then install W2K. W2K installation will take care of everything else, and it will leave you the option at boot up of which OS you want to use. Advice: I prefer to use the Windows New Technology Filing System (NTFS) with W2K, which is more efficient, allows you to manipulate your disks better, and enable security so your wife can’t see oops what am I saying. But Windows 98 can’t see NTFS so if you install W2K with NTFS it will change your entire hard drive to NTFS and poor old W98 will no longer boot. To get around this, use a program called FDISK to create 2 partions on your hard drive. I have an itsy bitsy 10GB hard drive for my OSs, and I can fit 98, 2000, and 2000 server on it. So I reckon if you leave 5GB for W2K that will be enough. W98 may need more as you’ll be putting all you games on there. But of course don’t forget to leave space for your data files, which should be on the NTFS partition for security. I prefer to have one physical hard drive for the OSs, and another monster one for data. Disks that spin at 7200 rpm are the standard now. I digress. Best and easiest to get the guy in the shop to use FDISK to make an active primary DOS partition on your hard drive for W98 and a second one for NTFS. Then slap on 98 yourself onto the primary active partition. Once it’s up and running, bung W2K on top, selecting the option to “let me choose the installation partition during setup” and then select the partition which doesn’t have W98 on it during setup. It’s easier than it sounds.

Windows XP - I’ve only ever used it on laptops and I hate it. Lots of people like it though.

Windows 2K - my OS of choice. You can use MS’s Input Method Editor (IME) for Chinese, and it come with all the language packs you need. The menus are in English on the English version. For true multilingual menus you need the multilingual version of Windows 2000. To be honest I’ve never seen it in action - sounds great though. I don’t like MS’s IME for Chinese. I like NJ Star which lets you use chop and change and convert and it’s much more pinyin friendly for long form characters. I’ve been using it for about 7 years.

If you want to bung on Chinese W2K over Englsih W2K you can. But there are file security issues to bear in mind with 2 NT systems on the one box. The admins on one installation have control over the files of the other. Forgive the obsession with security, but it was a major part of a job I did a few years ago and I think it’s the most important aspect of NT.

With Hexuan on this 100%, 2kPro is the way to go. Ditch ME now before it’s too much work to backup /restore. 2k is ok for gaming too if you have a bit more chip/ram. XP is a memory hog and the features it has over 2k aren’t worth it. Then there’s the huge amount of knowledge (as opposed to M$ propaganda) on the NT OS that’s available…
I run 2k (Pro or Server) Chinese myself rather than mess with IME, and English appz on top of that, works fine. Once in a while you find an English application (Illustrator 9.0 springs to mind) that can’t handle 2-byte characters in filenames, but mostly it’s fine.

If you have an earlier edition of 2k, remember to install SP2 before any appz. Install TweakUI and turn off all the dumb menu and window animations for better performance and security enhancements. In ‘services’ turn off ‘messaging’ and avoid those dumb pop-ups.

Oh, I forgot to mention: You cannot upgrade from ME to 2k, you have to do a clean install (better anyway). The good news is that the 2k CD is bootable and will offer to format the HDD for you during setup so there’s no messing about with DOS floppys / PQmagic etc. as with NT.

Before you go and download sp2, sp3 is out. Get yourself a download manager such as FlashGet to help you d/l this 127Mb monster. Of course if you live in the third world you’ll have ADSL and not 56k dial-up like me here in Potato Land (as the wife likes to refer to our lovely land of Guinness and rain - 土豆國 hmmmm)

NB yon Chinese was input using NJ Commmmunicator as UTF-8 and Hanyu Pinyin. Easy as pie. MS IME would have input it as MS-IncompatiblityChineseCharacterSetNoOneUses98.

As everyone has said in the previous post, pretend windows me doesn’t exist, don’t use it. Unless your a masochist, then enjoy. Usually with new computers, you have enough room on the harddrive to put in two OS. I would go with win2k and winxppro. Most games that are out now play pretty well on win2k. I have an english win2k and chinese winxppro on my system and it works fine. As much as the IME allows you to see another language, it’s not 100%. It doesn’t work well with some web sites and software that only exist in Chinese. If you want to do the two OS install, make sure you install win2k before winxp. The bootloader in win2k is older than the one in winxp so it doesn’t recognize winxp. If you only want to install 1 OS, use a chinese OS instead. you get more flexability since the chinese OS can accomodate english better than english OS can accomodate chinese. Just have to figure out what the menus are in chinese.


Why would you put on Wxp as well as W2K ? What’s good about it ? (I’ve never used it much)

I just realized that I have an English Language Pack for my Chinese Office XP!!! Obviously, the idiot who sold the computers and the server to me “forgot” to mention that, and I only realized when I grabbed the CD to reinstall Office. Unbelievably, my Office suddenly speaks English!!! It might take me a while to get used to that again :wink:

Anyway, Sir Donald, this might lead in the direction that you were looking for: I have a Chinese Office XP (Pro) with an additional English Language Pack and can now switch the menu languages in my Office between English and Chinese. My brother says the same thing should exist for WIN OS, as well, but you would probably have to order it through Windows (or find somebody who owns one). This might be easier than installing two partitions (one for English and one for Chinese). I certainly agree with the poster who said that it makes more sense to get a Chinese OS because it’s easier to treat English files on a Chinese application than treat Chinese files on an English application.

I use IME for typing, both Simplified and Traditional, and it has worked fine for me, as has Chinese Office XP on a Chinese WIN 2K OS.


It’s just for use if I have a program or website that needs chinese windows running. Also my chinese reading ability was kinda limited so I didn’t want to get stuck with having a machine that I couldn’t fix because I can’t read what it was saying. Granted most problems could be fixed by rebooting the machine but I tend to tinker with the settings and that requires an advanced chinese vocabulary. Winxp and win2k are slightly different in its menus that I can’t just go off what I remember of win2k. It’s also a good idea for me to have winxp because it’s more consumer oriented. Since I like to play with the newest toys, winxp tends to support them first before win2k. Bluetooth is more accepted in winxp than win2k. I have a bluetooth dongle that I use to transfer data to my t68i. Device drivers for Bluetooth is further along officially on winxp than win2k. I tend to use my win2k more anyways.