How to read Windows-1252 encoded files with .NETCore and .NET5+

Another day, another lesson learned: modern .NET does not support the Windows-1252 encoding out of the box. Today my colleague was happily porting a legacy NET4+ app to NET6. As usual, the port was super-easy; it would compile and run just fine, so he was surprised when the app crashed reading a few specific XML files. That’s when I was called in. A closer inspection revealed a pattern: all those crashing files were Windows 1252-encoded (the rest, a vast majority, were UTF-8.)

It turns out that under NETCore/NET5+, to read Windows-1252 encoded files, we first need to take a dependency on System.Text.Encoding.CodePages:

dotnet add package System.Text.Encoding.CodePages

Then, we register a CodePagesEncodingProvider instance from the package:


Finally, on creating the XmlReader instance, we can set the encoding. To do that, we need to pass an XmlParserContext instance, which allows us to specify custom encoding:

# Create the parser context and set the encoding
var context = new XmlParserContext(null, null, null, XmlSpace.None)
context.Encoding = Encoding.GetEncoding(1252);

# Use the custom parser when reading the Xml
using (var r = XmlReader.Create(fileName, null, context))

And sure enough, all those troublesome XML files are no problem anymore. It works on all platforms: Linux, macOS, and Windows. That’s a lot of tinkering for a small task that required no effort in the past. However, it makes sense as .NET is now cross-platform, and we want to reduce the app’s footprint as much as possible.

Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow @nicolaiarocci on Twitter