I'm on a new Linux (installed yesterday). When I access files from old partitions their file names have incorrect encoding (ä instead of ä, same for other umlauts) inside KDE apps like dolphin and konsole.

All characters look correct when I display them in tty and GTK apps. (And they obviously also did so on the old system.)

How can I make KDE4 show the file names correctly?

  • You probably needed LANG=*.UTF-8 in the environment such as export LANG=en_US.UTF-8. Now can you tell me why StackExchange is giving me a four year old question (which I just noticed).
    – msw
    Feb 3, 2016 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


You need to figure out the file encoding of the partitions in question, and set that encoding in fstab for the partition. I am assuming that the partitions in question are NTFS or FAT from a Windows setup. What language was Windows in? German?


(Moved answer from May 2012 from question to here)

So now I «fixed» this by re-installing the system. No idea what the problem was.

To get the keyboard right everywhere (tty, KDM login screen, KDE) I had to run

dpkg-reconfigure locales       # Kept only (de_CH|en_US|ru_RU).UTF-8
                               # Selected de_CH.UTF-8 as default
dpkg-reconfigure console-data  # Selected German (Switzerland) 
dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration 
                               # Selected my 105-key Cherry CyMotion Xpert 
                               # AltGr on right Alt, no Compose key

Running keyboard-configuration first does not work since those settings are specific to the default keyboard selected in locales; for en_* e.g. there is no AltGr and no compose key.

(Debian based system.)

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