Windows psql and utf8 client_encoding issues

Prior to pg 9.1, you could connect to any database with psql regardless of encoding and you’d get the server encoding as your client encoding unless you set it:

C:\>chcp 1252
Active code page: 1252

C:\>"C:\Program Files\PostgreSQL\9.0\bin\psql" -U glyn -d TEST -h pgtest
psql (9.0.22, server 9.4.4)
WARNING: psql version 9.0, server version 9.4.
         Some psql features might not work.
SSL connection (cipher: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, bits: 256)
Type "help" for help.

TEST=> show client_encoding;
 client_encoding
-----------------
 LATIN1
(1 row)

That wasn’t quite right; the client_encoding is a lie. On a modern psql version that’s quite rightly prevented:

C:\>"C:\Program Files (x86)\pgAdmin III\1.20\psql" -U glyn -d TEST -h pgtest
psql: FATAL:  conversion between WIN1252 and LATIN1 is not supported

This is not an issue if you want to connect to a utf8 database, but the issue I had this morning was connecting to a latin1 database with psql from a Windows client (something I do rarely). If I set the codepage to utf8 to match client encoding, I got a “Not enough memory.” error:

C:\>chcp 65001
Active code page: 65001

C:\>set PGCLIENTENCODING=UTF8

C:\>"C:\Program Files (x86)\pgAdmin III\1.20\psql" -U glyn -d TEST -h pgtest
psql (9.4.0, server 9.4.4)
WARNING: Console code page (65001) differs from Windows code page (1252)
         8-bit characters might not work correctly. See psql reference
         page "Notes for Windows users" for details.
SSL connection (protocol: TLSv1.2, cipher: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, bits: 25
6, compression: off)
Type "help" for help.

TEST=> show client_encoding;
Not enough memory.

I could set the codepage to 1252, but that would mean my setting for client_encoding would be a lie, and if I were to then revert to set client_encoding=’WIN1252′ I’d have come full circle and be back at the “FATAL: conversion between WIN1252 and LATIN1 is not supported” error message.

A quick google revealed these bug reports with no solutions. Another dig at the docs revealed the following passage:

pager

Controls use of a pager program for query and psql help output. If the environment variable PAGER is set, the output is piped to the specified program. Otherwise a platform-dependent default (such as more) is used.

So how does more behave?

C:\>chcp 65001
Active code page: 65001

C:\>more
Not enough memory.

Bingo! So if I turn the pager off the error should go:

C:\>chcp 65001
Active code page: 65001

C:\>set PGCLIENTENCODING=UTF8
C:\>"C:\Program Files (x86)\pgAdmin III\1.20\psql" -U glyn -d TEST -h pgtest
WARNING: Console code page (65001) differs from Windows code page (1252)
         8-bit characters might not work correctly. See psql reference
         page "Notes for Windows users" for details.
SSL connection (protocol: TLSv1.2, cipher: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, bits: 25
6, compression: off)
Type "help" for help.

TEST=> \pset pager off
Pager usage is off.
TEST=> show client_encoding;
 client_encoding
-----------------
 UTF8
(1 row)

Cluprit found; quite embarrassing that the source of such a verbose error as “Not enough memory.” being Microsoft didn’t occour sooner. So lets try a different pager (sourced from)

C:\>chcp 65001
Active code page: 65001

C:\>set PGCLIENTENCODING=UTF8
C:\>set PAGER="C:\Program Files (x86)\gnuwin32\bin\less"
C:\>set LESS=--quit-at-eof

C:\>"C:\Program Files (x86)\pgAdmin III\1.20\psql" -U glyn -d TEST -h pgtest
psql (9.4.0, server 9.4.4)
WARNING: Console code page (65001) differs from Windows code page (1252)
         8-bit characters might not work correctly. See psql reference
         page "Notes for Windows users" for details.
SSL connection (protocol: TLSv1.2, cipher: ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, bits: 25
6, compression: off)
Type "help" for help.

TEST=> show client_encoding;

 client_encoding
-----------------
 UTF8
(1 row)

(END)

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