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 pre-compiled 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 and your bin directory to your Windows %PATH%. (Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables, double-click the Path System Variable and add "%KDEDIRS%\lib;%KDEDIRS%\bin" 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

When you run KDE-installer for the first time, you'll see the welcome screen. Since it's your first launch leave the checkbox below unchecked. Proceed to the next screen, where you choose the KDE4 installation directory. It can be anything you prefer, e.g. C:\KDE4.

On the next screen, define who you are: End User or Developer. The End User installation installs only binary packages and libraries needed to run KDE application. Developer mode provides you with the source code for all packages needed to build KDE from scratch. If you have chosen to be a Developer, then you need to decide what compiler to use - MinGW or MSVC. In End User mode only MSVC packages are currently available.

Proceed to the next screen and there choose the directory where all the downloaded packages will be stored. Let it be something like C:\KDE4-tmp or C:\KDE4-packages.

The next screen will ask you to choose your internet connection type, particularly whether or not you're using a proxy. If you don't use a proxy server, just click 'Next'. If you are unsure of whether you're using proxy or if you have web browser configured to work with it properly, choose the second or the third option, according to your favourite web-browser. If you'd like to set all the settings manually - choose the last option and go ahead.

When you click the 'Next' button the (currently, rather short) list of available servers will be loaded and you could choose the one closest to you.

When you click 'Next' again, the list of all available packages will be loaded and processed, providing you with the list of package groups you can select for further installation. The short description next to each group of packages should make your choice easier. Select the packages you need. Proceed to the next screen.

Here you can see all the required dependencies, or software necessary to support the choices you've made. Click 'Next' to download them all.

After all the packages are downloaded they'll be unpacked and processed by the installer. The final window will tell that your KDE installation for Windows is complete.

Issues with KDE Installer for Windows

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.
If that didn't help and you think it's a bug, please report to [2]

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.

Startup, shutdown, and diagnosing problems

The first KDE program you run should automatically invoke kdeinit4.exe, the KDE initialization app, which starts background KDE applications and services like dbus-daemon, klauncher and kded4.

The first time you save or open, another background application, kioslave, will start.

These background KDE applications and services remain running after you close KDE applications. If you want you can shut them down by running kdeinit4 --terminate from a command prompt.

You can run kdeinit4 --list from a command prompt to see what processes are running. kdeinit4 has other useful options documented elsewhere.


Common step: editing the kdeglobals file

Unless otherwise stated you make all the setting changes below by editing the kdeglobals file in the directory %APPDATA%\.kde\share\config\ with any text editor (such as kwrite). (Note that for versions older than 4.0.85 the file is in %USERPROFILE%\.kde\share\config\kdeglobals.) %APPDATA% (and %USERPROFILE%) is different for different Windows users/versions/locales; in a command prompt, entering the command cd %APPDATA% will switch to it, effectively telling you what it is.

Set Oxygen style for widgets

The default KDE widget style on Windows is the native one. The Oxygen style installs with basic KDE installation (as 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 kdeglobals
  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 the Oxygen style now.

Set Tahoma (Windows default font) for widgets

To set it for a single user:

  1. edit kdeglobals
  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]), add these two lines:


Newly started applications should use this font now. Note: this works for any font you have installed.

Change the mouse to Double Click

To change the mouse to use double click:

  1. Add a new section with a line:


Newly started applications (Dolphin and Konqueror) should use double click now.

Change locale and country settings

To change locale setting:

  1. Add a new section with the line:


Replace ** with your lowercase alpha-2 country code, e.g. pl for Poland; of course, you need to install your language localization package.

Change native/KDE file dialogs

To chose native or KDE file dialog:

  1. Add a new section with the lines:

[KFileDialog Settings]

Either set Native to true or false.


Using kdewin-installer-gui-0.9.3.exe to install 4.1.3 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.
  • Multimedia support should work, although video support might be missing (from the backend)

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, a preview on the plasma shell replacement will be available in 4.1.2 - Nevertheless this does not rely on kwin/X11 which means that desktop effects are not available
  • Some KDE programs use UNIX-specific features, such as konsole's use of pseudo-terminals, and thus are difficult (read: currently impossible) to port to MS Windows.

Package status and contents

package status contains applications
amarok packaged Amarok music player
Digikam packaged Photo management
kdebase-apps packaged Konqueror, Dolphin, KWrite, folderview etc.
kdebase-workspace packaged Plasma, Wallpapers, Solid, etc.
kdeedu packaged Marble, Parley, KStars, KHangman, etc.
kdegames packaged Kgoldrunner, Kpat, KMahjongg, etc.
kdegraphics packaged Okular, kolourpaint, gwenview, etc.
kdemultimedia packaged JuK, etc.
kdenetwork packaged Kopete, KGet, etc.
kdepim not packaged KMail, AKregator, etc.
kdesdk packaged Kate, Umbrello, etc.
kdetoys packaged KTeatime, etc.
kdeutils packaged KGpg, KWallet, Okteta, etc.
koffice packaged KWord, Krita, Karbon, etc. (Beta 3)
ktorrent packaged the KTorrent utility
konversation packaged the KDE IRC client (alpha 3)

This page was last edited on 7 September 2016, at 09:46. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.