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1 Copyright (C) 2001-2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
2 See the end of the file for license conditions.
4 Emacs version 25.3 for MS-Windows
6 This README file describes how to set up and run a precompiled
7 distribution of the latest version of GNU Emacs for MS-Windows. You
8 can find the precompiled distribution on the ftp.gnu.org server and
9 its mirrors:
13 This server contains other distributions, including the full Emacs
14 source distribution, as well as older releases of Emacs for Windows.
16 Information on how to compile Emacs from sources on Windows is in
17 the files README and INSTALL in the nt/ sub-directory of the
18 top-level Emacs directory in the source distribution, as is this
19 file under the name README.W32. If you received this file as part
20 of the Emacs source distribution, and are looking for information on
21 how to build Emacs on MS-Windows, please read those 2 files and not
22 this one.
24 * Preliminaries
26 There are two binary distributions named
27 emacs-VER-x86_64-w64-mingw32.zip and emacs-VER-i686-w64-mingw32.zip,
28 where VER is the Emacs version. These are 64-bit and 32-bit builds,
29 respectively. If you are running a 32-bit version of MS-Windows,
30 you need to install the 32-bit build; users of 64-bit Windows can
31 use either build, but we recommend to install the 64-bit one, as it
32 will be able to edit larger buffers and will generally run faster.
34 The binary distribution has these top-level directories:
36 + bin
37 + libexec
38 + share
39 + var
41 * Setting up Emacs
43 To install Emacs, simply unpack the binary package into a directory
44 of your choice. If you use the Windows Explorer and its "Extract"
45 action, by default this will be in a top-level directory with the
46 same name as the zip file.
48 We also provide a set of optional dependencies, in
49 emacs-MVER-x86_64-deps.zip or emacs-MVER-i686-deps.zip respectively,
50 where MVER is the major Emacs version that should use these
51 libraries. These provide Emacs with a number of additional optional
52 capabilities, described in detail below. To use these, unpack them
53 directly over the emacs directory structure. Note that, if
54 extracting with the Windows Explorer, you will have to override the
55 directory where it wants to put the file with the same directory
56 where you extracted the Emacs binary package.
58 Finally, and also optionally, you can run the program addpm.exe in
59 the bin subdirectory which will place an icon for Emacs on the start
60 page. (This is no longer needed in latest versions of Emacs, so we
61 recommend you not do that, as running addpm.exe will insert entries
62 into the Registry which might get in the way if you upgrade to later
63 versions without updating those entries, or would like to uninstall
66 Emacs is completely portable. You can create your own shortcut to
67 runemacs.exe and place this wherever you find it convenient (the
68 desktop and/or the Taskbar), or run it from a USB or network drive
69 without copying or installing anything on the machine itself.
71 * Prerequisites for Windows 9X
73 The 32-bit build supports MS-Windows 9X (Windows 95/98/Me). To run
74 Emacs on these versions of Windows, you will need to have the
75 Microsoft Layer for Unicode (MSLU) installed. It can be downloaded
76 from the Microsoft site, and comes in a form of a single dynamic
77 library called UNICOWS.DLL. If this library is not accessible to
78 Emacs on Windows 9X, it will pop up a dialog saying that it cannot
79 find the UNICOWS library, and will refuse to start up.
81 * Starting Emacs
83 To run Emacs, simply select Emacs from the Start Menu, or invoke
84 runemacs.exe directly from Explorer or from a command prompt. This
85 will start Emacs in its default GUI mode, ready to use. If you have
86 never used Emacs before, you should follow the tutorial at this
87 point (select Emacs Tutorial from the Help menu), since Emacs is
88 quite different from ordinary Windows applications in many respects.
90 If you want to use Emacs in tty or character mode within a command
91 window, you can start it by typing "emacs -nw" at the command prompt.
92 (Obviously, you need to ensure that the Emacs bin subdirectory is in
93 your Path first, or specify the path to emacs.exe.) The -nw
94 (non-windowed) mode of operation is most useful if you have a telnet
95 server on your machine, allowing you to run Emacs remotely.
97 * EXE files included
99 Emacs comes with the following executable files in the bin directory.
101 + emacs.exe - The main Emacs executable. As this is designed to run
102 as both a text-mode application (emacs -nw) and as a GUI application,
103 it will pop up a command prompt window if run directly from Explorer.
105 + runemacs.exe - A wrapper for running Emacs as a GUI application
106 without popping up a command prompt window. If you create a
107 desktop shortcut for invoking Emacs, make it point to this
108 executable, not to emacs.exe. If you pin Emacs to the task bar,
109 edit the properties of the pinned shortcut (with Shift-right mouse
110 click) to point to this executable.
112 + emacsclient.exe - A command-line client program that can
113 communicate with a running Emacs process. See the `Emacs Server'
114 node of the Emacs manual.
116 + emacsclientw.exe - A version of emacsclient that does not open
117 a command-line window.
119 + addpm.exe - A basic installer that adds Emacs to "Start" menus and
120 adds Emacs-related entries to the Windows Registry.
122 + ctags.exe, etags.exe - Tools for generating tag files. See the
123 `Tags' node of the Emacs manual.
125 + ebrowse.exe - A tool for generating C++ browse information. See the
126 `Ebrowse' manual.
128 Several helper programs are in a version-specific subdirectory of
129 the libexec directory:
131 + cmdproxy.exe - Used internally by Emacs to work around problems with
132 the native shells in various versions of Windows.
134 + ddeclient.exe - A tool for interacting with DDE servers. To be
135 invoked as "ddeclient SERVER [TOPIC]", where SERVER is the DDE
136 server name, and sends each line of its standard input to the DDE
137 server using the DdeClientTransaction API. This program is
138 supposed to be invoked via the 'call-process-region' Emacs
141 + hexl.exe - A tool for producing hex dumps of binary files. See the
142 `Editing Binary Files' node of the Emacs manual.
144 + movemail.exe - A helper application for safely moving mail from
145 a mail spool or POP server to a local user mailbox. See the
146 `Movemail' node of the Emacs manual.
148 + profile.exe - A helper program that generates periodic events for
149 profiling Emacs Lisp code.
151 + update-game-score.exe - A utility for updating the score files of
152 Emacs games.
154 * Optional dependency libraries
156 Emacs has built in support for XBM and PPM/PGM/PBM images, and the
157 libXpm library is bundled, providing XPM support (required for color
158 toolbar icons and splash screen). Source for libXpm should be
159 available from the same place from which you got this binary
162 Emacs has a number of optional features which need additional
163 libraries. These are provided in a separate bundle of dependencies,
164 as described above, and enable support for the following:
166 - displaying inline images of many types (PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, SVG)
167 - SSL/TLS secure network communications (HTTPS, IMAPS, etc.)
168 - HTML and XML parsing (necessary for the built-in EWW browser)
169 - built-in decompression of compressed text
171 The optional dependency libraries are in emacs-MVER-x86_64-deps.zip
172 (64-bit) and emacs-MVER-i686-deps.zip (32-bit), and their sources
173 are in emacs-MVER-deps-mingw-w64-src.zip, where MVER is the major
174 version of Emacs that should use these dependencies. Note that a
175 64-bit Emacs will only work with the 64-bit dependencies, and the
176 32-bit Emacs only with the 32-bit dependencies.
178 Newer/updated builds for these optional libraries are available at
179 http://msys2.github.io/ and
180 http://sourceforge.net/projects/ezwinports/files/ (but you shouldn't
181 need these except in emergencies).
183 If you install the libraries in a directory different from where you
184 have the Emacs executable programs, we recommend to add the
185 directory with DLLs to your Path, so that Emacs will be able to find
186 those DLLs when needed.
188 * Installing Emacs with an existing MSYS2 installation
190 You may also use Emacs with an existing MSYS2 installation by simply
191 unpacking the Emacs distribution over MSYS2. You can then use the
192 'pacman' utility to install dependencies. You should not use the
193 optional dependencies bundle from this site, as this will overwrite
194 MSYS2 files (the dependency bundle derives from MSYS2, but may be a
195 different version).
197 Some of the optional libraries need to be of certain versions to
198 work with your Emacs binary. Make sure you install those versions
199 of dependencies, and no others. Emacs variables such as
200 libpng-version and libjpeg-version tell what versions of the
201 corresponding libraries are expected by Emacs. (We recommend that
202 you use the dependency bundle, where these issues are always
205 To install the optional libraries, start the MSYS2 Bash window and
206 type the following command:
208 pacman -S PACKAGES
210 where PACKAGES is the list of packages you want to install. The
211 full list is as follows:
222 You can type any subset of this list. When asked whether to proceed
223 with installation, answer Y.
225 Alternatively, you could install the packages manually from this
230 However, the packages there are not self-contained, so you will need
231 to manually download all their dependencies as well.
233 * Uninstalling Emacs
235 If you should need to uninstall Emacs, simply delete all the files
236 and subdirectories from the directory where it was unpacked (Emacs
237 does not install or update any files in system directories or
238 anywhere else).
240 If you ran the addpm.exe program to create the Start menu icon, this
241 can be removed by right-clicking and "Uninstall".
243 Finally, addpm.exe also creates a few registry entries; these can be
244 safely left, but if you really wish to remove them, all of the
245 settings are written under the Software\GNU\Emacs key in
246 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, or if you didn't have administrator privileges
247 when you installed, the same key in HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Just delete
248 the whole Software\GNU\Emacs key.
250 * Troubleshooting
252 Some known problems and their solutions can be found in the file
253 etc\PROBLEMS in the unpacked Emacs distribution.
255 Virus scanners
257 Some virus scanners interfere with Emacs' use of subprocesses. If you
258 are unable to use subprocesses and you use Dr. Solomon's WinGuard or
259 McAfee's Vshield, turn off "Scan all files" (WinGuard) or "boot sector
260 scanning" (McAfee exclusion properties).
262 Windows 9X
264 On Windows 9X, make sure you have the UNICOWS.DLL library either in
265 the same directory where you have emacs.exe or in the directory
266 where system-wide DLLs are kept.
268 * Further information
270 The Emacs User manual describes Windows-specific issues in the
271 appendix named "Emacs and Microsoft Windows/MS-DOS". You can read
272 it in Emacs by typing
274 C-h r g Microsoft Windows RET
276 This appendix is also available (as part of the entire manual) at
280 In addition to the manual, there is a mailing list for help with
281 Emacs here:
285 To ask questions on this mailing list, send email to
288 A mailing list for issues specifically related to the MS-Windows port
289 of Emacs is here:
293 To ask questions on this mailing list, send email to
296 * Reporting bugs
298 If you encounter a bug in this port of Emacs, we would like to hear
299 about it. First check the FAQ on the web page above to see if the bug
300 is already known and if there are any workarounds. Then check whether
301 the bug has something to do with code in your `.emacs' file, e.g. by
302 invoking Emacs with the "-Q" option.
304 If you decide that it is a bug in Emacs, use the built in bug
305 reporting facility to report it (from the menu: Help -> Send Bug Report).
306 If you have not yet configured Emacs for mail, then when you press
307 C-c C-c to send the report, it will ask you to paste the text of the
308 report into your mail client. If the bug is related to subprocesses,
309 also specify which shell you are using (e.g., include the values of
310 `shell-file-name' and `explicit-shell-file-name' in your message).
315 This file is part of GNU Emacs.
317 GNU Emacs is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
318 it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
319 the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
320 (at your option) any later version.
322 GNU Emacs is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
323 but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
324 MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
325 GNU General Public License for more details.
327 You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
328 along with GNU Emacs. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.