Getting Started/Build/Historic/KDE4 Windows

Perhaps actual developers should summarize status of KDE4 on Windows here, while we encourage users to describe their experiences on the Talk page?

KDE Installer for Windows

You can use this installer to download and install the various binary packages that you need to run KDE applications on MS Windows. KDE is free and open source so you can build all the applications "from scratch" from their source code; but as a convenience for others, volunteers create these precompiled packages and make them available on the Internet.

Disclaimer These are early days for KDE4 on Windows, some programs work better than others and some fail to run altogether.

If you experience any problems please have a look into our mailing list.

You can also use the KDE Installer for Windows to install source code and the packages that you need to build KDE4 on Windows (although if you are building KDE4 on Windows you may prefer to use the emerge system to build KDE and its requirements from latest source); see Getting Started/Build/KDE4/Windows.

Summary of Steps

  • Visit
  • Download and save the latest version to a directory, e.g. C:\KDE4
  • Run the installer, download what you need (see #Download needed packages below).
  • Add your lib directory, e.g. C:\KDE4\lib to your Windows %PATH%. (Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables, double-click the Path System Variable and add this to your path separated by semicolon.)
  • Add a KDEDIRS environment variable (Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables, click [New] User variable and create Variable name KDEDIRS with Variable value the directory where you installed KDE4, e.g. C:\KDE4).
  • [TEMPORARILY] Follow the instructions at #post-install
  • Try running a Qt application in the bin directory, such as linguist.exe
  • If that works, try running a KDE application such as kruler.exe.

Download needed packages

A single program in the The K Desktop Environment depends on many other libraries and packages; that is why each .exe is comparatively small. The KDE Installer for Windows has some awareness of dependencies, but not complete. So, the first few times you try to run an application you may see alerts about missing DLLs.

If you do not intend to build from source, do not click "all" and do not click "src", as you do not need to download the source for each package. Unclear whether you need lib for each.

There are two development systems for KDE on Windows, Microsoft's Visual C and MinGW. Even if you are only running binaries and do not intend to build KDE4 yourself, you need to choose between these because of the provided runtime environments. You're free to decide which to take.

The KDE programs themselves are organized into several groups: kdeedu, kdegames, and kdegraphics.

Here are some of the minimal packages you need to run a KDE application:

dbus-msvc, kdebase-msvc, kdewin32-msvc, qt-msvc, vcredist, ??

The Dependencies tab for a particular package lists some of the additional packages it needs. However, the dependency checking currently only works for first-level dependencies Other dependencies are not easy to determine in advance. For example, if you install kdegames only with its dependencies, you will not be able to start it because you also need libstreamanalyze (for which you have to install the strigi package).

Getting_Started/Build/KDE4/Windows/3rd-party_libraries is a more complete list of libraries that a full installation needs.

Issues with KDE Installer for Windows

Currently no issues known. If you found an issue, please report to [1].


Be sure that you have no KDE-related applications running: Go into the task-manager and kill all occurences of dbus-daemon.exe, kded4.exe, kioslave.exe and klauncher.exe (and all other KDE apps). Open a Windows cmd.exe and navigate to the directory where you installed KDE to: Say you installed KDE to C:\KDE4, then run from the cmd.exe window:

C:\KDE4> update-mime-database C:\KDE4\share\mime

This will give you a lot of warning message. Most of them you can easily ignore; Even if you should set XDG_DATA_HOME or XDG_DATA_DIRS it worked perfectly. If it says you should rerun update-mime-database as root you're not within your installation directory.

Then run

kbuildsycoca4 --noincremental

If this tells you that your disk is full (which is most probably not the case) you have still some executables from KDE running. Please close them and try again. Excuse us for the inconvenience - these problems will hopefully find another solution for the next release.

Testing your installation

Navigate to the bin directory.

See if you can run the Qt program assistant.exe. Qt programs have fewer dependencies than a full-blown KDE application.

If that works, try running a simple KDE application, such as kruler.exe from the kdegraphics package.

The first KDE application you run will start a console window in order to run the D-Bus daemon.


Using kdewin-installer-gui-0.8.4-4.exe to install 3.97 2007-12-31 packages:

  • starting a KDE program correctly starts dbus-daemon.exe
  • many games run
  • choosing File > Open correctly starts klauncher.exe, kioslave.exe and kded4.exe, and runs kbuildsycoca4.exe as needed.
  • Help > Program Handbook (often mapped to the [F1] key) does not work because the KDE Help Center is not available on Windows. This is due to its use of the K3Process interface and external dependencies not ported such as perl scripts, htdig, and other libraries.
  • Problems with mime types in save dialogs.
  • Currently no kdegraphics package in the installer, thus no okular, kolorpaint, etc.

General notes:

  • There are many other KDE programs that are not part of KDE 4.0.0 and are not currently packaged for Windows, such as KOffice 2 and Amarok.
  • By design, KDE-windows does not provide the full-blown KDE desktop, thus no KWin composite manager, KDE-specific "start" menus, Plasma desktop, etc.

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