CloudWindows 10

How to create a multi language Windows 10 image

Within the business world, every IT department always build their own Windows image according to its own business needs and requirements. With every new release of Windows, we as an IT department build a new specific Windows image for the company.
Within some companies, this process can take months before the first version is ready for deployment. The purpose of building your own image is to ensure that the Windows image you are deploying has the right settings and configurations for your environment. In this way you can guarantee that a well-functioning and predictable environment that the company can rely on and if this is the case you have done your job.

With the arrival of Windows 10 and it’s semi-annual update cycle the above process is becoming difficult to maintain for many companies. Within the companies that have migrated to Windows 10 you see that the process of building a new image each time a new version of Windows is released is now being replaced with a constant upgrading process – and with the new Windows 10 out-of-box experience (OOBE) in combination with the new Windows autopilot capabilities you can almost immediately start rolling out your hardware that you have ordered directly from the vendor.

Does this mean that building a new image and re-imaging your hardware is becoming more and more obsolete. Yes and No, if you ask me – all companies still want a predictable and reliable environment.
So does the standard preinstalled Windows 10 from the vendor meet company standards? In most of the cases it it doesn’t because each vendor pre-installs Windows 10 differently and they still include a lot of their own software.
This means we still have to build our own company standard Windows 10 image. I do belief that a vanilla image of  Windows 10 will now a days be sufficient for a lot of companies. With Windows 10 Autopilot and a MDM solution like e.g.  Intune you can achieve a similar or even better deployment solution then the commonly used on-premises deployment mechanism like MDT or SCCM.
The conclusion is that companies still require a customized vanilla image which they can deploy to their hardware. This customized vanilla image can be preinstalled by the vendor for an additional service fee or the company can do it themselves.

The only problem with the standard Windows 10 vanilla image is that you cannot download a multilingual Windows 10 image from Microsoft. So if your company needs a multilingual image, you still have to build it yourself. You can use an MDT or SCCM task sequence to build a multilingual Windows 10 image, but if you want to switch to a full cloud environment, this is not the most obvious choice.

In the following steps I will show you how to create a multilingual Windows 10 vanilla image. Building a new Windows 10 vanilla image must be done each time Microsoft releases their semi-annual Windows 10 update. This is also the reason why I wanted to document this process clearly so that it could be repeated easily.

Step 1: Download software

Before we begin we have to download all the required software first. Download the following ISO files from the Volume Licensing site. I always use an English (en-US) version as my base image and add additional languages to this image.

  • (Latest) Windows 10 ISO (en-US)
  • Multi Language Pack ISO
  • Feature on Demand ISO

Find the Available language packs for Windows here.

Create a source folder structure for all files e.g. C:\WindowsSources and move the files into correct subfolder.

  • Mount the Windows 10 ISO and copy all data into a working folder e.g. C\WindowsMedia.
  • Mount the Multi Language ISO and only copy the language packs which you require. In my case I will be adding the Dutch (nl-NL) and French (fr-FR) Language packs. I use the following Localization packages for Windows, delivered as a .cab file.
  • Microsoft-Windows-Client-Language-Pack_x64_nl-nl.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-Client-Language-Pack_x64_fr-FR.cab

Copy these files into C:\WindowsSources\10\1909\LP\<Language Folder>

  • Mount the Feature on Demand ISO and only copy the Feature on Demand packages which you require. In my case I will be adding the Dutch (nl-NL) and French (fr-FR) Feature on Demand packs.

Features include language basics (like spell checking), fonts, optical character recognition, handwriting, text-to-speech, and speech recognition.

  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-nl-nl-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Handwriting-nl-nl-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-OCR-nl-nl-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-TextToSpeech-nl-nl-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-fr-fr-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Handwriting-fr-fr-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-OCR-fr-fr-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Speech-fr-fr-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab
  • Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-TextToSpeech-fr-fr-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab

Copy these files to C:\WindowsSources\10\1909\FoD\<Language Folder>

Step 2: Install Windows ADK

Download and install the latest Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Download link: Windows Assessment Deployment Kit

Install the following features from the Windows ADK.

  • Deployment Tools
  • Imaging And Configuration Designer (ICD)
  • Configuration Designer
  • User State Migration Tool (USMT)

Step 3: Mount Windows install.wim

Start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment with “Run as Administrator” rights.

  • The following command will display all Windows 10 images include in the install.wim file:

In my case I only want to apply the Language packs to the Windows 10 Pro image.

Index : 5

  • Create a mount folder e.g. C:\Mount\Windows and mount the Windows 10 Pro image with the following command:

 

It is also possible to export the Windows 10 Pro image with the following command, replace the original install.wim and mount the exported Windows 10 Pro image:

Copy the exported install.wim to the working directory:

Mount the Windows 10 Pro image:

 

Additional images that are not needed can be removed from the WIM file by index number.

Step 4: Add language packs to Windows

I am building the multi language Window 10 image offline, which means all DISM commands in this article will refer to the offline method. It is also possible to add language packs to an online image. You can find more information on how to Add languages to Windows images here.

  • Add the language packs to the mounted image:

nl-NL:

fr-FR:

Step 5: Add language and region Features on Demand

It is recommended to include the Basic, Fonts, OCR, Text-to-speech, and Speech recognition FODs if they’re available for the languages you’re preinstalling. These language and region Features on Demand are downloaded separately and can be add in the same way as the language packs.

  • Add language and region features on demand:

nl-NL:

fr-FR:

Step 6: Generate a new language file

  • See which languages are installed with the following command:

Both languages have been installed correctly .

  • Generate a new language lang.ini file:

The lang.ini file is located in the sources folder of the working directory “C:\WindowsMedia\sources”. Open the lang.ini file with notepad and verify if the additional languages have been added.

Step 7: Add languages to the recovery environment (Windows RE)

Copy the WinPE_OCs language folders from the Language ISO to the “C:\WindowsSources\10\1909\WinPE_OCs”.

  • Mount the recovery image:
  • Add the language packages to the recovery environment

nl-NL:

fr-FR:

Step 8: Capture the changes

  • Unmount the recovery image and commit the changes
  • Unmount the windows image and commit the changes

Step 9: Add languages to the Windows Setup boot image

When you have added languages to a Windows image (install.wim) and you want to select one of these languages other than the default language of the Windows image you also have to add the same languages to the Windows Setup boot image. In this way the technician or the user can select which language is installed as the default language.

  • Mount the Windows Setup boot image (index:2)
  • Add languages to the default Windows Setup boot image (index:2):

nl-NL:

fr-FR:

  • Copy the lang.ini file from the Windows working folder to the mounted boot folder

Step 10: Copy language-specific Setup resources

In this step you copy the language-specific Setup resources from each language-specific Windows distribution to the Sources folder in your Windows working folder.

  • Copy the language-specific Setup resources files from the mounted Boot image to the working directory

nl-NL:

fr-FR:

  • Unmount the boot image and commit the changes

Step 11: Create and deploy the media

The Windows 10 media is now ready to be used. There are multiple ways of using this new media. The fastest way is copying the media to a bootable USB key. An USB key represents a manual way of deploying Windows 10, a more centralized deployment mechanism like a Windows deployment server can also be used to deploy the new Windows 10 image.

It is also possible to have your image pre-loaded by your hardware vendor, most hardware vendors provide an imaging service for pre-loading your image on your hardware. If you want to use one of these services you have to be able to send your Windows 10 media. In this case it is recommend to create an ISO from the Windows 10 media so you are able to send it anywhere.

So there are multiple options available depending on your deployment strategie after you have created your multi language Window 10 media. In this post I will not describe the different deployment strategies. I will give you the links to the tools I use to create a bootable usb key, build a WDS server or how to create an ISO file from your Windows 10 media.

  • Create a bootable USB key with Rufus

https://rufus.ie/

  • Build a Microsoft Windows Deployment Server

Windows Deployment Services Getting Started Guide for Windows Server 2012

  • Create an ISO file with OSCdimg Command-Line Options

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/oscdimg-command-line-options

Oscdimg Tool

Create a Windows 10 ISO without any 3rd party tools. With Windows 10 ADK kit and WinPE addon it is easy to create a Windows ISO.

You can use the Oscdimg tool to create a bootable CD or DVD for different scenarios:

  • Create a bootable CD or DVD for a UEFI-based computer by using a single-boot entry.

  • Create a bootable CD or DVD for a UEFI-based or BIOS-based computer by using a multi-boot entry.

  • Specify the boot file order on a disk.

Example commands:

Start the Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment with “Run as Administrator” rights.

Single-boot entry
Multi-boot entry:
Boot order file entry:

For images larger than 4.5 GB, you must create a boot order file to make sure that boot files are located at the beginning of the image.

Where BootOrder.txt contains the following list of files:

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