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See also: CORE-9080

IME stands for "Input Method Editor".

There are two systems for IME under Windows.

Input Method Manager (IMM)

IMM is a thing since Windows 95. Not sure about Windows 3.1, but who cares? :P For 95, 98, NT 4 and ME, it is only available in East Asian versions, but since 2000 it is available for all versions (but only when "East Asian language support" is installed via intl.cpl.)

Throughout 95 and XP (and probably 2003 too), a tool called "通用輸入法編輯工具" (uimetool.exe) (there are differences between versions, but I will mainly focus on the one on XP) is available for generating custom IMEs from text files containing input mappings.

These input methods are mainly DLL files renamed with file extension .ime.

TODO: More

Text Services Frammework (TSF)

TSF (also called "Cicero") is the newer service for text input since XP (a redistributable seems to be available for 2000.) It is more than IMEs since it also support voice recognition and ink recognition input.

In XP input.cpl there are two options related to "advanced text services":

  • Extend support of advanced text services to all programs - Appears to enable system-wide TSF support instead of IMM. There appears to be a compatibility layer which allows IMM to be used via TSF. TODO: Vertify?
  • Turn off advanced text services - Seems to disable TSF completely, but for unknown reasons the language bar is also disabled (as stated in the description) and there isn't any icons on the system tray which indicates the current keyboard layout (which is available in 2000). Though if you switch the layouts using keyboard shortcuts (Alt + Shift and Ctrl + Shift), you can still use different keyboard layouts and IMEs.

Since Vista, TSF is enabled system-wide. IMM IMEs can still be used though (probably via a compatibility layer similar to above.)

See Also