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The PHP mbstring functions provide support for languages represented by multi-byte character sets, e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and more. See the PHP manual section on mbstring for more information on how this might affect you.

phpMyAdmin sometimes requires these functions to properly display database information, though no database corruption should result if it is not installed [1].

For Windows users having particular difficulty installing the extension, this forum link suggests the following:

  • Place php_mbstring.dll (included only in the .zip distribution of php) in the ext subdirectory of your PHP install (for example, in to C:\php5\ext\)
  • Edit php.ini and verify or add the following:
  • Correct extension_dir:
; Directory in which the loadable extensions (modules) reside.
extension_dir = C:\PHP\ext
  • Dynamic Extensions (near other lines of "extension=..."):
  • In the Windows Extension section, un-comment (by removing the semi-colon):
  • Now save php.ini; a web-server restart may be needed for the changes to take effect.

Non windows installations need --enable-mbstring in the configure options, see PHP manual section and http://php.net/manual/en/install.unix.php

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