Make Skype Launch in English Language

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I started using Skype years ago and it is still one of my favorite free software tools for online chatting and video conferencing. About a year ago, I became tired of all the installation procedures and I made a decision to go fully portable. And if not fully portable, then at least as portable as possible.

I replaced all my software programs with their portable versions, in case they offered such a version. And I replaced most of the remaining software with programs that came as portable packages. I am still stuck with a few very specific tools that I need and cannot replace — yet.

Skype Wouldn’t Use My Language of Choice

All these changes opened up new problem areas. One of them was that the portable version of Skype refused to start up in English. Whenever I launched Skype, I had to manually change the language of its interface. But it wouldn’t remember my language settings and next time it would start in my country’s local language again. And again. And again…

Even though in Skype’s Options > General Settings, the program language was always clearly set to English.

Skype's language is set to English (which it ignores)

Skype’s language is set to English (which it ignores)

Today, I reached my breaking point and I spent almost an hour trying to find out how to make Skype launch in English. Here is how it went.

Changing Settings Within the Skype Portable App

First, I looked into the portable Skype folder. In my case that was C:\Portable\Skype.

Therein, I identified two files with language relevant settings:

In appinfo.ini, I changed the language setting on line 12 from Multilingual to English.

Changed language to English in appinfo.ini

Changed language to English in appinfo.ini

In shared.xml, I changed language code on lines 108 and 112 to en.

Changed language code to en in shared.xml

Changed language code to en in shared.xml

Unfortunately, neither of these changes had any effect on the interface language of Skype.

Skype Profile

I then tried to find some more language related settings within the Skype app.

In my Skype profile, I found three relevant settings: Country/Region, Time, and Language.

Changed Skype profile settings

Changed Skype profile settings

Again, changing these settings made no difference. Skype stubbornly refused to start up with English as its default interface language.

Windows Registry

I even combed through the Registry in an attempt to find some setting that would shine some light onto this mystery. To no avail.

Control Panel

Since there was no way to influence Skype’s choice of language from within Skype, nor from Skype’s folder on my disk drive, nor from the registry, there was only one option left.

Skype was purchased by Microsoft back in 2011, so I thought that maybe Skype was relying on some setting in the Windows operating system to decide which language interface to use.

I went to Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Region and Language and looked around in the tabs of the popup window. Everything was set to English, but one item — the Current language for non-Unicode programs within the Administrative tab.

I clicked on the Change system locale button located in this tab and selected English (United States) from the drop-down menu.

Selected English (United States) as the system locale

Selected English (United States) as the system locale

This action prompts a Windows restart.

Restart Windows to activate new system locale

Restart Windows to activate new system locale

After the system restarted, I had all my language settings in Windows set to English.

Current language for non-Unicode programs set to English

Current language for non-Unicode programs set to English

Sure enough, this was the decision making setting for Skype. Once the system locale for non-Unicode programs was set to English, Skype immediately changed its mind and started up displaying its interface in English.

In my Skype profile, I even noticed this one slight change:

Skype profile language changed to English

Skype profile language changed to English

Previously, only some of these three words were showing up in English.

Fascinating stuff!

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