When I started with Windows Live Writer, I had problems with installation (related post: problem while installing Windows Live Writer) which turned out to be a problem with the components installed on Windows, rather than a problem with Windows Live Writer itself. I use a combination of tools to blog, like I use ScribeFire – if I want to do a quick blog post, I use Windows Live Writer which gives me the flexibility to save the post as a draft either locally or post it as a draft to my blog when I go for long thoughtful posts which would take a while before it is completed.

Recently I encountered a new problem with Windows Live Writer and the issue was that when I typed a post in local language (Kannada), all the content would be turn into question marks ‘?????’ if I published the article. The case was same when I tried publishing articles in other languages like : Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and as a matter of fact the effect was same with Chinese characters.

UTF-8 is the standard encoding that is widely used, and this meant, the reason for the characters to be converted to question marks was that they were not being converted properly. The problem could have been either with WordPress (I’ll take this up in a separate post) or with Windows Live Writer. If you can successfully publish an article in local language using WordPress’s in built text editor, then the problem is with Windows Live Writer’s UTF-8 encoding.

It turns out that, the problem is with Non-ASCII characters being incorrectly on UTF-8 encoding and this can be fixed by a simple registry fix.

Caution: If you do not know how to handle registry editor, I suggest you take help from someone who has prior experience of handling registry editors. As if you end up messing your registry editor, your computer might start behaving erratic.

1> Click on Start menu –> Click Run –> and type “regedit” and hit Enter. This opens your computers ‘Registry Editor’.

2> Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Windows Live Writer\Weblogs\. Under weblogs, you’ll see a list of all blogs that you have registered with Windows Live Writer, and each blog will have sub-keys like Authors, Categories, Credentials and such listed under it. It looks something like this :

Chinese And Local Characters Become ????? Question Marks In WordPress When Published Via Windows Live Writer

3> You can find which blog each key belongs to by checking the value of HomePageUrl key.

4> Once you find the blog, click on ManifestOptions and in the right hand box you’ll see characterSet. Ensure this is UTF-8.

5> Now again in the left panel, right click on UserOptionOverrides, click on New –> create a String Value and name it as characterSet and leave the value part empty.

6> Close the registry editor and repoen your Windows Live Writer. If the problem was with Windows Live Writer, this should fix the problem.