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 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).
  • Add your lib directory, %KDEDIRS\lib, and your bin directory, %KDEDIRS\bin, 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.)
  • If you don't have Visual Studio 2005 installed, download and install the "Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86)" [1]
  • Try running a Qt application in the bin directory, such as linguist.exe
  • If that works, try running a KDE application such as kwrite.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 will fetch all those dependencies for you.

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.

The Dependencies tab for a particular package lists some of the additional packages it needs.

Issues with KDE Installer for Windows

If you find an issue, please report to [2].

Successful? completion

If something goes wrong during installation, for example a file can't be replaced because it is still in use, the installer may still report successful completion. If you see any alert or failure message from the installer, when it completes quit and re-run it.

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 lskat.exe from the kdegames package.

Look into your start menu: there will be a new entry KDE 4.XX.XX Release. Below that folder you can find all the apps you installed.


Set Oxygen style for widgets

The default KDE widget style on Windows is the native one. You already have Oxygen style installed (which is a plugin library %KDEROOT%\lib\kde4\plugins\styles\oxygen.dll), so it can be used as well. To set it for a single user:

  1. edit %UserPROFILE%\.kde\share\config\kdeglobals with any text editor (e.g. kwrite) Note: `cd %UserPROFILE%` will change to the right directory, effectively telling you what %UserPROFILE% expands to, such as "C:\Documents and Settings\mark"
  2. locate the General section (a line containing the text "[General]"). If there is no General section, create one.
  3. Within the General section ([General]), edit the line containing widgetStyle=.... so that it reads widgetStyle=oxygen. If there is no such widgetStyle=... line, create it.

Newly started applications should be displayed with Oxygen style now.


Using kdewin-installer-gui-0.9.2.exe to install 4.00.73 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.
  • Full-text search in khelpcenter does not work because Perl scripts are disabled.
  • Many applications have a generic icon in Windows Explorer.
  • Applications that try to play sounds might display an alert about "Multimedia Backend" problems. This requires the Windows backend for Phonon. There is currently no support for that backend because of missing man-power.

General notes:

  • There are many other KDE programs that are not part of KDE 4.0.0 and are not currently packaged for MS Windows.
  • By design, KDE-windows does not provide the full-blown KDE desktop, thus no KWin composite manager, KDE-specific "start" menus, Plasma desktop, etc.
  • Some KDE programs use UNIX-specific features, such as konsole's use of pseudo-terminals, and thus are difficult to port to MS Windows.

Package status and contents

package status contains applications
kdebase packaged Konqueror, Dolphin, KWrite, etc.
kdegames packaged Kgoldrunner, Kpat, KMahjongg, etc.
kdesdk packaged Kate, Umbrello, etc.
kdetoys packaged - Umbrello is missing currently KTeatime, etc.
kdeedu packaged Marble, Parley, KStars, KHangman, etc.
kdegraphics packaged Okular, kolourpaint, etc.
amarok not building Amarok music player
koffice packaged KWord, Krita, Karbon, etc.
kdepim not building KMail, AKregator, etc.
kdenetwork packaged Kopete, KGet, etc.
kdeutils not packaged KGpg, KWallet, etc.
ktorrent packaged the KTorrent utility

Deprecated: post-install steps

After manual installation of a package one has to run the included post-install.bat script (inside the manifest folder). This batch file includes at least the following steps.

Run update-mime-database

Be sure that you have no KDE-related applications running: run the Windows Task Manager (taskmgr.exe), switch to its Processes tab, and kill all occurences of dbus-daemon.exe, kded4.exe, kioslave.exe and klauncher.exe (and all other KDE apps).

Open a Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) and navigate to the directory where you installed KDE. Say you installed KDE to C:\KDE4, then run from the cmd.exe window:

 C:\KDE4> bin\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 then you're not within your installation directory.

Run kbuildsyscoca4

After finishing the previous step, run

 C:\KDE4> bin\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 — we hope for a better solution in the next release.

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