Getting Started/Build/Windows/MS Visual Studio

Jump to: navigation, search
Note: This page is about KDE 4. It isn't applicable for KDE 3 development.
This section needs improvements: Please help us to

cleanup confusing sections and fix sections which contain a todo

This page has been moved out of wiki page.



Install following, no compiling is required.

The Compiler

You can use either:

Express Edition users: If you want to generate project files for Visual C++ then you must add the Platform SDK include and library directory to the default directories of the IDE:

Open Visual C++, go to Tool->Options
in "Projects and Solutions" go to "VC++ Directories"

On the right add the paths to your Platform SDK files:
for "Library Files": YOUR_PLATFORM_SDK_PATH\lib
for "Include Files": YOUR_PLATFORM_SDK_PATH\include


CMake is the make tool used by KDE.

  • use the most recent binaries from here (the filename should be like cmake-2.4.?; you can also pick an .exe file instead of .zip). Make sure you use at least cmake 2.4.5
  • or get CMake from CVS and compile it yourself

Install cmake in a path without spaces to avoid troubles (at least under win2k).


Perl is a script language used to generate files. Install a Perl for Windows, e.g. ActivePerl from


win32libs contains a collection of libraries not available by default on Windows. See 3rd-party libraries required for KDElibs 4.

Compile and Install

These libraries you must compile and install by your own.

D-Bus for Windows

Be sure you've installed win32libs!

Download the latest winDBus sources (which are already patched) and extract them into "C:\svn\windbus" or get the latest svn sources.

cd c:\svn\windbus
patch -p0 < DBus-win32.patch
cd ..
mkdir windbus-build
cd windbus-build
cmake -G "Visual Studio 8 2005" ..\windbus\cmake\

(use -G "Visual Studio 7 .NET 2003" for the older compiler)

dbus.sln solution file will be created. Build and install the Debug and Release builds with the IDE. You can switch between the Debug and Release configuration in the Build -> Configuration Manager menu.

Tip: to perform compilation and installation from the command line, type:

devenv /build Debug /project INSTALL dbus.sln
devenv /build Release /project INSTALL dbus.sln

Default target for the installation is %PROGRAMFILES%\dbus.

Qt 4

Currently you need qt-copy from kde svn to successful compile kdelibs! Maybe a current snapshot from 4.3 also works fine.

  1. Get the Qt4 source code
    • Trolltech customers: get it from Trolltech. After running the exe file, the sources will be unpacked into a selected directory.
    • Open Source developers: check out qt-copy from with your favorite svn client. Then patch the source code with KDE's own patches first: cd qt-copy; bash apply_patches.
  2. Compile Qt4
    • Trolltech customers: just start configure.exe and perform the installation.
    • Open Source developers: Get from unofficial (but legal) Qt4 patches for MSVC>=7.x from Make sure to use the once for qt-copy! Note that Trolltech does not provide support for these compilers, so do not post any question about this patch to the Trolltech's mailing list. The files are stored in the Sourceforge SVN repository.
      • Unpack the file in the main Qt4 directory and apply the patches to Qt4: call installpatch4x.bat in the DOS window, or just run this batch file.
      • Configure Qt4: You will need openssl support - so make sure it's enabled!

Also make sure that configure.exe find openssl headers and libs:

qconfigure {PLATFORM} -openssl -I "<path to openssl headers>" \
-L "<path to openssl libs>" -qdbus -I "<path to windbus headers>" \
-L "<path to windbus libs>"

{PLATFORM} can be for msvc .NET (2003) or msvc2005 for msvc 2005. This is needed to simplify path names in the future if you did not use the commercial configure.exe GUI installer:

set QTDIR={your qt installation directory}

Note: this (QTDIR) and the subsequent environment variables described below on this page could be set globally in the "System" applet, Advanced->Environment Variables. Optionally, if you want to have multiple configurations (e.g. Qt3 and Qt4) on the same machine and account, you can enter appropriate set commands into a single .bat file, e.g. environment.bat which you can then execute once in a new cmd shell.

See also alternative instructions at


kdewin32 is a support library required specifically for Windows in order to be able to build KDElibs.

We will refer to {KDE_SOURCE_DIR} as to a directory of your choice where you want to keep KDE source code and its "build" directories. You need enough of disk space for this. Do not use paths with spaces to avoid potential problems.

svn co -N svn://

Note: if you want to use your KDE SVN account with write access type this instead: svn --username={yourname} co -N Use the --username and https address for every command mentioned below too.

cd trunk
svn up -N kdesupport
cd kdesupport
svn up kdewin32
mkdir kdewin32-build
cd kdewin32-build
 -G"Visual Studio 8 2005" ..\kdewin32

(use -G"Visual Studio 7 .NET 2003" for the older compiler, and replace Debug by Release for release build)

kdewin32.sln solution file will be created. Build and install' the Debug and Release builds with the IDE. Tip: to do this from command line, type:

devenv /build Debug /project INSTALL kdewin32.sln
devenv /build Release /project INSTALL kdewin32.sln

Note: Whenever you update your checkout don't forget to rebuild and reinstall kdewin32.

Other kdesupport libs

You'll need some more libs which are located in They're all compilable with cmake (if not, let us know)


strigi is required by kdelibs:

cd kdesupport
svn up strigi
mkdir strigi-build
cd strigi-build
 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\strigi
nmake install

Soprano is also needed, it depends on 'redland' library which is available through the kdewin installer. Development versions of KDElibs now require soprano both in release and debug versions, so we're using two build directories: soprano-build and soprano-build-rel.

cd kdesupport
svn up soprano
mkdir soprano-build
cd soprano-build
 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\soprano
nmake install
cd ..
mkdir soprano-build-rel
cd soprano-build-rel
 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\soprano
nmake install

qca2 is needed to compile some apps (e.g. Kopete)

cd qca2
svn up qca2
mkdir qca2-build
cd qca2-build
 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\qca2
nmake install


The shared-mime-info package, is the freedesktop MIME standard used now by KDE. Download update-mime-database-*.*-* from and unpack the archive to kde4/ directory to get share/mime/ directory and bin/update-mime-database.exe program.

Build KDElibs

Check out the sources and make another build directory at the same level as kdelibs:

cd {KDE_SOURCE_DIR}\trunk
svn up -N KDE
cd KDE
svn up kdelibs
mkdir kdelibs-build
cd kdelibs-build

Now you have to add some paths to your PATH environment variable simliar to this:

set PATH=%QTDIR%\bin;%PATH%;%PROGRAMFILES%\win32libs\lib;
         {location of your kdewin32 libs}\kdewin32\lib

Build KDE libraries with:

 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\kdelibs
nmake install

or use the IDE:

 -G "Visual Studio 8 2005" ..\kdelibs

(use -G "Visual Studio 7 .NET 2003" for the older compiler)

In the latter case kdelibs.sln solution file will be created. Build and install the Debug and Release builds with the IDE. Tip: to do this from command line, type:

devenv /build Debug /project INSTALL kdelibs.sln
devenv /build Release /project INSTALL kdelibs.sln

To also build the test programs add the option -DKDE4_BUILD_TESTS=1 to the cmake command.


  • to enable the release build add -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release to the cmake command
  • when kdewin32 is not found, try adding the cmake parameter (with YOUR path)-DGNUWIN32_DIR=c:/gnuwin32
  • don't use a cygwin or mingw shell, you will get errors because these shells use UNIX path names
  • you could restart the configure process by deleting CMakeCache.txt
  • you could test for only one library by deleting the assignment in CMakeCache.txt
  • ask for more help on mailing list
  • whenever you update your checkout DON'T forget to rebuild AND reinstall kdewin32.lib

Going further: kdepimlibs

kdepimlibs are needed by kdebase or other modules like koffice.


kdepimlibs require:

  • boost libraries. Download the tarball. As boost is consisted of headers only, unpack the tarball and copy boost subdirectory to %KDEDIR%\include. Then add use set BOOST_ROOT=%KDEDIR%\include (you may want to add it to your environment.bat file as well).
  • (really optional for now) OpenLDAP: LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) libraries Needed to provide LDAP functionality in KDE
  • (really optional for now) cyrus-sasl: Cyrus SASL API needed to support authentication of logins


Check out the sources, make another build directory and build:

svn up kdepimlibs
mkdir kdepimlibs-build
cd kdelibs-build
 -G"NMake Makefiles" ..\kdepimlibs
nmake install

Going further: kofficelibs

(work in progress, to be moved to KOffice wiki)

kofficelibs are needed for apps like KWord or Kexi.


kofficelibs require:

  • Little cms library. Download the newest lcms-1.??.zip from [1] and uncompress. To build it with msvc, go to Projects subdir and choose a subdir for your compiler (i.e. Vc7 or Vc2005).
    1. Then you will see lcms.sln solution file - you can click it to open in the msvc IDE. But first, you need to fix some paths in the project files. You probably have %KDEDIR%\lib\jpeg.lib, not libjpeg.lib, so edit tifficc.vcproj, tiffdiff.vcproj and jpegicc.vcproj and change libjpeg.lib to jpeg.lib in AdditionalDependencies variable. Then add full path to your %KDEDIR%\include directory (where tiffio.h resides) in AdditionalIncludeDirectories variable, (note: do it by expanding KDEDIR environment variable, i.e the result should be like:
      Then add AdditionalLibraryDirectories="c:\your\path\to\kde\lib" line just after every two occurences of AdditionalIncludeDirectories=. All the changes are presented in this pseudo-patch (change f:\ paths to your KDEDIR location!).
    2. You probbaly want to skip building Python wrapper, so click on Build->Configuration Manager menu command and check off "Build" in "Python" line.
    3. Select "Build Solution" menu command. After successful build, you should notice:Build: 9 succeeded, 0 failed, 1 skipped
    4. To also build Release versions of the binaries, in the Configuration Manager, change active configuration to Release and repeat steps 1-3.
    5. Copy the compiled binaries. From your lcms-1.??\Lib\Ms copy *.lib files to %KDEDIR%\lib. From lcms-1.??\bin copy *.dll and *.exe files to %KDEDIR%\bin.
    6. Copy lcms headers: from lcms-1.??\include copy *.h to %KDEDIR%\include.
    7. Later when you will run cmake for kofficelibs, you get message like -- Found lcms version 1.16, F:/kde4/lib/lcms.lib.

KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V.Legal