This has been posted about in our journals and elsewhere but probably deserves its own sticky.
IF you are running Non-English version of Windows 2000 then the Stardock Central GalCiv2.exe will NOT work.
Microsoft apparently stopped supporting Windows 2000 non-English in May with their DirectX SDK. Galactic Civilizations II uses the October 2005 edition.
Early betas of GalCiv II used the October 2004 SDK (Because I compiled them and I'm a loser for not having updated sooner).
So what we will be doing for those users running Windows 2000 in Europe is create a seperate download that you will need to get and put into your GalCiv 2 folder. We expect to have that available later today.
Update: there is another workaround mentioned below, but you should be able to go into your Control Panel / Language settings and change the first dropdown to US English. That should sort things as well.