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Michael JohnFlag for United States of America

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Notepad Encoding Issue: Notepad files from Windows 10 to Windows 11

I am experiencing an issue with notepad encoding on Windows 11 and require assistance in resolving it. The problem pertains to encoding settings that affect the display of text files in notepad, and I am encountering difficulties with proper character encoding, which is resulting in garbled or incorrect text rendering.

I have tried to resolve this issue on my own ,Including try copying the text to a new file and saving it with a different encoding before reopening it in Notepad. However, the problem persists, and I am unable to accurately view and edit text files with the correct encoding in notepad.

Please let me know the best way to address this encoding issue with notepad on Windows 11. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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Lee W, MVP
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Where are these text files from?  Are you using the Windows 10 Built-in Notepad?  Windows 10's notepad has no ability to handle different encoding than basic Windows.  If you're getting these files from Linux systems or Macs, you would probably be better off using a more advanced notepad like program.  I personally recommend Notepad++ (free, open source, and handles a LOT of different file types with MANY, MANY more features than the built-in notepad).

can you post a small example?

Hi Michael,

The built-in Notepad for Windows 10 only supports ANSI, UTF-8, and UTF-16. Those options are USUALLY enough for 99% of the cases out there, but if you are reading any files that have an encoding that falls outside of those options, then you might encounter garbled text. (I believe those 3 options are the same for Windows 11 Notepad as well.)

Since many encodings overlap slightly when it comes to their handling of basic characters like digits and "English" alphabet, you might only see garbled text when it comes to special characters.

Usually Notepad does a pretty good job at auto-detecting the right encoding if the file is one of those big 3. So if you're seeing garbled text when opening the file, then it's usually either:

(A) the file uses an encoding that notepad doesn't support.


(B) Notepad isn't detecting the encoding correctly.


(C) the file itself has gotten corrupted from a bad save (e.g. it was opened in the wrong encoding and then saved, which overwrote legitimate byte sequences with the incorrect interpretation's characters).

You would need to provide a sample of the original file for further help. I also recommend notepad++ if you're looking for something free. I use UltraEdit myself but that's a paid product (but worth it).

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Hi everyone,

After several attempts, I found the correct encoding for the file. It's encoding Windows 1256.
For everyone's benefit, this was done by using the famous VS Code editor.

Now, how do I force Notepad to open files in encoding Windows 1256 instead of ANSI?
Avatar of gr8gonzo
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Hi gr8gonzo,

VS Code appears to perform the same function. I can open the garbled text  file and change its encoding before saving it.

Your response is very helpful. However, I would like to note that the encoding may be related to the font type. Please pay close attention to the following information, Mr. gr8gonzo: I transferred a Notepad file to a Windows 10 computer, (which is the computer that the Notepad file was originally created on, and it worked correctly it was running Windows 8 before upgrading to Windows 10). However, when I tried opening the same file on another computer running Windows 11, it did not work.
It's possible that the font or system obsolescence could be a contributing factor.

I will wait for further instructions on how to open the file in Notepad and handle the Windows 1256 encoding directly, rather than transferring it to another text editor like VS Code and changing its encoding. Otherwise, your response is the most comprehensive."