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How to install Windows 8.1 Preview in the UK

Want to download and install the brand new Windows 8.1 Preview in the UK? Well, you’re bang out of luck because in Microsoft’s infinite wisdom, the update supports US English, German, French and a bunch of other languages, but not UK English. Ho hum…

But, but… there is a way and we have it. In fact, we’ve tried it and it works. So here’s how it goes…

Step 1: Download and apply US English language pack
There’s more to it than this, but you can’t skip this step. Use your preferred method to reach the Control Panel – via search works for us – and head to the ‘Clock, Language and Region’ section and click on ‘Language’.

From here, click on ‘Add a language’. Search for ‘English’ and then double click to reveal the various types and select ‘English (United States)’ from the list to download the language pack.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Windows 10

We could, at this point, insist on writing the rest of this article in US English, but we won’t because… well, it’s just wrong, isn’t it?

Anyway, next you’ll need to remove UK English so that US English becomes the primary display laguage.

You’ll be asked to reboot your PC at this stage, but before you do…

Step 2: Fiddle about with the registry to make this work
Sigh. We hoped that would be it, but no. No luck.

Next you need to head to Registry Editor. At this point we feel duty bound to point out that anything you mess up at this stage is totally down to you and advanced users need only apply.

Disclaimer out of the way… search for ‘regedit’ to get there – as an advanced user you really ought to know this.

Once it’s loaded, you need to navigate the following menus from the dropdowns on the left:

  • HKey_Local_Machine >>
  • System >>
  • CurrentControlSet >>
  • Control >>
  • Nls >>
  • Language

Once on the Language page, scroll down to the bottom to the entry called ‘InstallLanguage’.

Righ-click on the entry and select ‘Modify’. Change the number value from 0809 to 0409, which is computer speak for EN-US.

Step 3: Make a cup of tea (and backup your stuff)
The tea is optional, but you do need to restart and then run the update file that you can download from Microsoft’s website. Before you do, however, remember to backup anything you don’t want to lose. It’s good practice when applying an update such as this.