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D. The Windows toolset

If you want to build R or add-on packages from source in Windows, you will need to collect, install and test an extensive set of tools. See http://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/Rtools/ for the current locations and other updates to these instructions. (Most Windows users will not need to build add-on packages from source; see Add-on packages for details.)

We have found that the build process for R is quite sensitive to the choice of tools: please follow our instructions exactly, even to the choice of particular versions of the tools.(44) The build process for add-on packages is somewhat more forgiving, but we recommend using the exact toolset at first, and only substituting other tools once you are familiar with the process.

This appendix contains a lot of prescriptive comments. They are here as a result of bitter experience. Please do not report problems to the R mailing lists unless you have followed all the prescriptions.

We have collected most of the necessary tools (unfortunately not all, due to license or size limitations) into an executable installer named(45) `Rtools215.exe', available from http://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/Rtools/. You should download and run it, choosing the default "Package authoring installation" to build add-on packages, or the "full installation" if you intend to build R.

You will need the following items to build R and packages. See the subsections below for detailed descriptions.

For installing simple source packages containing data or R source but no compiled code, none of these are needed. Perl is no longer needed to build R nor to install nor develop source packages.

A complete build of R including PDF manuals, and producing the installer will also need the following:

It is important to set your PATH properly. The installer `Rtools*.exe' optionally sets the path to components that it installs.

Your PATH may include `.' first, then the `bin' directories of the tools, the compiler toolchain and LaTeX. Do not use filepaths containing spaces: you can always use the short forms (found by dir /x at the Windows command line). Network shares (with paths starting \\) are not supported.

For example for a 32-bit build, all on one line,


It is essential that the directory containing the command line tools comes first or second in the path: there are typically like-named tools(46) in other directories, and they will not work. The ordering of the other directories is less important, but if in doubt, use the order above.

Our toolset contains copies of Cygwin DLLs that may conflict with other ones on your system if both are in the path at once. The normal recommendation is to delete the older ones; however, at one time we found our tools did not work with a newer version of the Cygwin DLLs, so it may be safest not to have any other version of the Cygwin DLLs in your path.

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