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2.4 Obtaining good output in a Windows console

On Windows, consoles such as the one started by the cmd.exe program do input and output in an encoding, called “OEM code page”, that is different from the encoding that text-mode programs usually use, called “ANSI code page”. (Note: This problem does not exist for Cygwin consoles; these consoles do input and output in the UTF-8 encoding.) As a workaround, you may request that the programs produce output in this “OEM” encoding. To do so, set the environment variable OUTPUT_CHARSET to the “OEM” encoding, through a command such as


Note: This has an effect only on strings looked up in message catalogs; other categories of text are usually not affected by this setting. Note also that this environment variable also affects output sent to a file or to a pipe; output to a file is most often expected to be in the “ANSI” or in the UTF-8 encoding.

Here are examples of the “ANSI” and “OEM” code pages:

Territories    ANSI encoding    OEM encoding
Western Europe    CP1252    CP850
Slavic countries (Latin 2)    CP1250    CP852
Baltic countries    CP1257    CP775
Russia    CP1251    CP866