Vista SP1 setup language pack error

Right after I finished my previous blog post I started to install Vista SP1 myself. Unfortunately right after executing the installer I got a nice little messagebox, saying Vista Service Pack 1 setup couldn’t continue, because my version of Vista was unsupported. Now I run the English language version of Vista Ultimate (32 bit), so at first I couldn’t figure out why I got this error.

Then I looked at the error message more closely (unfortunately I cannot remember the exact words anymore) and noticed it said something about unsupported language packs being installed on the system (Vista SP1 is currently only available for the English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish language versions of Vista). I did remember seeing several language pack updates appear during a Windows Update session way back when I first installed Vista on this machine. However I couldn’t remember installing any of them.

To be sure I checked the Vista installed Programs and Features list for any installed language packs, but couldn’t find any. Using Google I found this article about Vista Language Packs and at the bottom of this article there were some instructions on how to remove a Vista language pack. It turned out installed Vista language packs aren’t listed in the Programs and Features list, but at a different location.

To cut a long story short, it turned out I had once installed the Dutch Vista language pack and had forgotten all about it. Unfortunately the mere presence of this Dutch language pack blocked the whole Vista SP1 installation! So I quickly uninstalled the language pack, which solved my problem.

For those interested, here are the instructions for uninstalling a Vista language pack:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. In Control Panel, click Clock, Language, and Region, click Regional and Language Options, and then click Change display language.
  3. On the Keyboard and Languages tab, click Install/uninstall languages under Display language.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
  4. In Choose to install or remove languages, click Remove languages
    Under Select the languages that you want to remove, select the language that you want to remove, and then click Next.
  5. Click the language that you want to remove, and then click Remove.

Posted on February 15, 2008, in microsoft, vista and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I am having the same issue, but the langueage packs fail to uninstall. I have found a possible hotfix and am waiting on Microsoft to send it. I am hoping that will work..

  2. @Clyde: Please let me know if you manage to solve your problem using this hotfix. It might be valuable information for others.

  3. Clyde, yes, I am having the issue too, I removed all my languages but English and I am still getting the same error message saying the language I have is not supported. Even though I have removed it. So if you get the hotfix can you let us know the KB or number where I can get it too.


  4. Leonel Jansen

    Hi Leon,

    I was pleasantly surprised to see your article popup on top of Google’s search result for this issue 🙂

    Fixed my problem.


  5. Any update on the removal of the language packs?

    My vista will only remove 1 out of about 20.

    There must be a way of getting rid of them, the only reason I installed them was becuase windows update kept telling me there were updates.

  6. @dave: As far as I know the procedure I describe above can be used to remove all language packs. You say that doesn’t work for you?

    By the way: you didn’t have to install those extra language packs. When you right click on an entry in the Windows Update window you can choose to hide the update, so you won’t be bothered by it again.

  7. Hi Leon,

    No Vista will only allow me to remove one and then it fails on removing all the others.
    Really annoying as I’m a Microsoft reseller I now have instock the real SP1 update disks but they wont work on my own machine.
    And tying to talk with Microsoft support is like talking to a script.

  8. dave,

    I’m having the same issue – Vista’s only allowing me to remove one language per uninstall, then a reboot, then create another restore point, then remove another. I have about 6 more languages to remove… hopefully this will allow the SP1 install.

    Has anyone tried the hotfix posted by Leon with the SP1 release?

  9. The hotfix Leon posted did not resolve my issue with language packs.

  10. CSix – that’s exactly the process I was going through – had to remove one at a time and restart in-between – it took hours! After uninstalling all of them though, I’m still told I can’t install SP1.

    Then I remembered installing the language packs just to get them off of Windows Update – they failed repeatedly and it took several attempts and reboots before I got them all. Sounds like they probably installed corrupted, which explains the difficult uninstall, which explains why Vista still thinks they’re there.

    All that, plus any fixes aren’t written for 64-bit, apparently. Why did I pay EXTRA for Ultimate?!?

    • Did anyone ever find a fix for this? I have the same problem and now I cannot seem to uninstall some of them through the slow process.

  11. @drokkon: You’ve hyperlinked your username in your comment above to a topic on the TechNet Forums that might be interesting for others. So I’m posting it here more clearly:

  12. I have vista ultimate french on my computer in Montreal but I’m english speaking so I got the english language pack installed I was offered sp1 in english and declined it. Would it have installed ok?

  13. @BOB F: Both the English and French language were supported in the initial release of Vista SP1, so the problems I mentioned shouldn’t have applied to you. And since then Microsoft has also released the remaining language versions of Vista SP1, so now everybody should be able to install it.

    So yes, I think it would have installed OK and I advise you to update as soon as possible, preferably using Windows Update, which should ensure you get the right version.

  14. I have recently “inherited” a Vista laptop (I have been using XP so far on my own computer–because of all the bad press Vista received I decided not to risk it) and I was wondering if you can tell me how to check which SP has been installed on that laptop? How do I know if I still need to upgrade or if everything is fine? Thanks for your help.

  1. Pingback: Leon Zandman’s Blog » Blog Archive » Vista SP1 RTM now available for download!

  2. Pingback: Vista SP1 Setup Language Pack Error

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