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What are LIPs and MUIs

With Microsoft Windows being used on the majority of the world's computers and in many regions which use languages other than English, it's more important than ever to have localized versions of the operating system and other software. Many of the world's major languages have their own localized editions of Windows which allow users to use their computers in their own language. However, since Windows Vista was released, it's now possible to install language packs on top of English-language and other editions of Windows instead of having to have a localized version of the operating system. Language packs for Windows Vista and Windows 7 come in two different forms - Language Interface Packs (LIPs) and Multilingual User Interfaces (MUIs).

Language Interface Packs are available for less common languages, specifically for languages for which there is no fully localized version of Windows. With an LIP installed, the most frequently used parts of the Windows operating system are translated. However, because only around 80-90% of the interface is translated, it's necessary to have a specific host language. For example, the Welsh Language Interface Pack can only be installed over the English edition of Windows. Language Interface Packs are available from the Microsoft Download Center for free. They can be installed on any edition of Windows.

Multilingual User Interfaces translate virtually every area of the Windows operating system, allowing you to have a completely localized version of Windows just like the standalone edition for that language. MUIs are, however, only available for installation on computers running the Enterprise or Ultimate editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you are using either of these editions, you'll find the MUIs available in the optional updates section in Windows Update.

LIPs and MUIs are particularly useful in situations where computers are used by people working in different languages. It's possible, for example, to have a different user interface for each user account on the computer. For example, when one user logs in, everything may be in English. Another user account can be in French and another in German etc. There are no restrictions on how many LIPs and/or MUIs you can install, and switching between them is simply a matter of changing a setting in the Clock, Language and Region section of the control panel and logging out and then back in again. You don't even need to restart the computer for the changes to take effect.


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