Installing a Japanese game

This is a Japanese game and is not meant to run on non-Japanese Windows. To get it to work you have to do some tricks. Read on to learn them.

Essential knowledge

The following are the bare minimal knowledge you need to have to be able to run this game. Skip reading these and you will probably run into trouble later on!

  1. You have to install the game with Japanese regional settings (use AppLocale).
  2. You must never-ever install a Japanese game to the default location! You have to change the location to something like C:\Games\MyGame during the setup. If you don't, you will not be able to run and/or patch the game!
    Note: Avoid using non-English characters in the game location! You should only use a-z, A-Z, 0-9, ' ', '-' and '_'. For example, a guy installed the game to a folder with the letter 'Ä', but the game interprets this as 'A', and it will not run.
  3. Avoid installing the game to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86). The reason for this is that Windows protects the C:\Program Files location and you may have trouble saving the game and/or game settings.

Additional useful information:

  • To view all files in a folder, CD or DVD you may have to enable view of known file types and system files (Google this if you are in doubt how).
  • Some actions may require you to right-click and click 'run as administrator' to be successful.

Installing using Japanese regional settings

You can either set Windows to Japanese or you can use Microsoft AppLocale instead (preferred and recommended).

Read this section to learn how to install and run the game.

To install the game do the following steps:
  1. If your Windows is not set to Japanese, you should install Microsoft AppLocale[1] (as described below) and then right-click StartUp.exe on the (virtual) dvd and select Locale Japanese to start the setup (just answer OK to the warning about AppLocale[1] being a temporary solution).
  2. IMPORTANT: Change the install location during the setup of the game (second screen in the setup, see screenshot)
  3. Click the (N) button a few times and let the setup finish.

When the game setup is complete you can play the game with Japanese regional settings. Or, if you use AppLocale, by right-clicking and selecting Locale Japanese.

Microsoft AppLocale

AppLocale allows you to run an application with Japanese regional settings without having to reboot. It is preferable to to switching Windows regional settings to Japanese for many reasons.

Installing AppLocale

Note: Instead of installing the standard Microsoft AppLocale as outlined below, you can follow this guide and install pApploc, which is easier to use. The guide also describes how to install the right-click feature.

Download AppLocale[1] from Microsoft and install it. You have to install it with administrative rights on Vista/7: Run a command prompt as an administrator and drag apploc.msi to the command window and press Enter to run the setup.

Make sure you have Asian language support installed (in Control Panel->Regional Settings), or it will not work.

AppLocale right-click feature

When you have installed AppLocale, you should download this archive. The archive includes two .reg files. One will add a right-click context menu option (works on Vista as well), that will launch any application with Japanese regional settings with AppLocale. The other will remove the context menu again. So, after you have run the add .reg file, you just right-click an application (or shortcut) and select Locale Japanese, and the application will run with Japanese regional settings. Very useful!

AppLocale problems on Vista/7

Some people have problems with using AppLocale/pApploc on Vista or Windows 7. This is because of UAC. It seems like the dynamic elevation of rights somehow interferes with the way AppLocale works. To solve it you have to run with administrator privileges from the start or disable UAC.

There are several ways to do this:

  • Use a third party file manager like Total Commander and run it as administrator. You can then use AppLocale with right-click as normal from within the file manager.
  • Run a command prompt as an administrator and write: %WINDIR%\AppPatch\AppLoc.exe <your dvd drive>:\Startup.exe /L0411, then press Enter and you will run StartUp.exe with Japanese regional settings.
  • You could probably also run AppLocale as an administrator and then browse to the game and run it with Japanese regional settings.
  • You could probably also run AppLocale in XP SP3 compability mode and then browse to the game and run it with Japanese regional settings.

Changing regional settings

If you don't want to use AppLocale and instead want to change your regional settings to Japanese, you can follow this excellent detailed guide[2] for Schoolmate (but most of it applies to any Japanese game).

Why not change regional settings?

There are several downsides to using Japanese regional settings on your non-Japanese Windows, so please try the AppLocale solution. Some of the downsides are just a nuisance and others are much more serious.

Below is an (incomplete) list of known side-effects:

Minor issues
  • Backslash ('\') changes to a Yen ('¥') symbol, so C:\Windows becomes C:¥Windows.
Medium issues
  • Updates may show up in Japanese (nVidia being an example).
  • Applications may install in Japanese (Nero, iTunes, Chrome, nVidia being examples).
  • Some mainstream games, including but not limited to Harry Potter 6, will not work (gives you a black screen when you start the exe and that's it).
Serious issues
  • Characters outside a-z and A-Z (for instance é, á, ñ, ä, æ, ø, Ɵ, ӗ etc.) may be shown as Japanese or garbled characters. This can be a big problem if you for instance rip a cd with French music or update a German database. All the data will potentially have corrupted characters (the corruptions remain even after switching back to your native regional settings).
    Important: If you're from a country that uses characters other than a-z you should be extra careful when creating folders and files!!

Alternative ways to install the game

The following alternatives are not recommended. They may sound simpler, but they essentially involve extra work (instead of just doing it right once and for all) and installing this way can cause problems (like not being able to save) later on.

Running the .msi file

Not recommended. Run <your dvd drive>:\setup\ILLUSION すくぅ~るメイト2.msi file from the dvd. Make sure you change the install location as described above!!

Warning: Using the .msi file may lead to files with the wrong name, missing altogether or folders not being created during the setup. This simple alternative is not recommended unless you can't install the game the recommended way (which is described above).

Manual copy

This is another (not recommended) way of installing the game:

  1. Open the Game Iso. You should see some files and 3 folders: DirectX, Setup and intro.
  2. Open the folder setup.
  3. Now, open the folder WinRoot. Do the same with the following illusion folder.
  4. Now you can see a single folder with a japanese name (or a lot of question marks, if you have no japanese language support). This is the complete, ready-to-go game.
  5. Extract this folder to your desired direction.
  6. Rename the folder to a normal name, like School Mate 2
  7. Copy the modified launcher into the renamed folder.
  8. Use the Registry Fixer to setup game registration to match the location you copied the game to.
  9. More steps may be needed to get full functionality (like saving the game)...

Registry Fixer

If you installed the game to the default or an invalid location by mistake, you can fix it by using TheShadow's Registry Fixer.

The Registry Fixer will save you the trouble of uninstalling and installing again to a proper location (or alternatively manually renaming the folder and using Regedit and change HKCU\Software\illusion\SchoolMate2\INSTALLDIR accordingly).

When not to use it

There is no magic to the Registry Fixer and it doesn't magically fix things. If you installed the game correctly and the game doesn't work, using the Registry Fixer won't help. Instead you should update your video drivers and check the FAQ if it still doesn't work.

How to use it

  1. Download the Registry Fixer and extract it somewhere.
  2. Read the readme.txt.
  3. Run it and select the game in the dropdown list.
  4. Click on the English button.
  5. Choose the game path.
  6. You will be asked if you want to launch the launcher - click No.


If you use the Registry Fixer you will no longer be able to uninstall the game normally. If you try to remove it via Add/Remove Programs (Uninstall a program on win7) you will get an error.

Registry Fixer FAQ

  • Q: I get an error when I run the Registry Fixer: "Application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135)". What can I do?
    A: You must install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 to use the Registry Fixer.

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