23.4.4 String construction on Windows systems

When LispWorks for Windows starts up on a OS with a non-Latin-1 code page, it calls

(set-default-character-element-type 'simple-char)

so that by default, newly constructed strings can contain the data likely to be returned from the OS or user input.

If you know your string only needs to contain 8-bit data, then you can create it explicitly with element type base-char .

Conversely if you know that a string may need to contain 16-bit data even on a Latin-1 code page system, then you should create it explicitly with element-type simple-char .

LispWorks User Guide - 11 Mar 2008