Im not an expert in databases. I am using docker Oracle 12c database for local dev environment. Its an official image from Oracle but they dont give any option to change the NLS_CHARARACTERSET during database creation and it defaults to AL32UTF8. I need to match our test database which is using WE8MSWIN1252. I have tried modifying the charset after db startup but seems to cause lots of issues as WE8MSWIN1252 is not a superset of AL32UTF8. So I was thinking to set it correctly at the start. I found a way to modify the pfile on startup which I think is where it should be set but Im not sure what to put in there.

ORCLCDB.__oracle_base='/u01/app/oracle'#ORACLE_BASE set from environment

I thought maybe I could just add this at the bottom of the file but its not working and database fails to start:


results in

ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01078: failure in processing system parameters
ORA-32003: error occured processing parameter 'nls_characterset'
LRM-00101: unknown parameter name 'nls_characterset'

What do I need to update to get it to use this character set from the initial creation?

2 Answers 2


I'd have a look at the create database command, specifically the "national character set" .


Its worth to check this doc id as it looks similar to your context.

Changing the NLS_CHARACTERSET to AL32UTF8 / UTF8 (Unicode) in 8i, 9i , 10g and 11g (Doc ID 260192.1)

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