TeX Live on Windows

Contents

Easy install

When installing from the internet, we recommend downloading and running install-tl-windows.exe.

This installer first unpacks itself and then starts the installer proper, which is the same as for other platforms. An ‘Advanced’ button gives you many additional customization options.

When successful, the installer tries to do the post-install things that are considered appropriate on Windows:

The TeX Live Manager GUI mentioned above can be used to add or remove packages, and to keep the installation up to date.

Note. For Cygwin installations, see the Unix/Linux page.

Other options

Command-line options: There are many installer options which can be invoked by using the command-line instead of double-clicking the installer, such as automated installation with pre-selected options, or specifying a specific repository, or specifying text mode. See the full documentation.

Other ways to obtain TeX Live: You may have obtained a TeX Live DVD. In this case, the file to run is D:\texlive\install-tl-windows.bat, if D: is your DVD-drive. If you downloaded the ISO, you'll find the installer file ‘install-tl-windows.bat’ in the root of the virtual DVD.

With the DVD or the ISO you can install TeX Live without access to the internet.

64-bit binaries

TeX Live for Windows will eventually move to 64-bit, but there are still TeX users with 32-bit systems, and a 32-bit TeX Live works just fine on a 64-bit Windows. Simultaneous support for both 64-bit and 32-bit Windows would require too many infrastructure changes. The move to 64-bit will probably take place with the 2023 release.

For those people for whom the performance benefits of a 64-bit TeX Live are important, we offer in the meantime a makeshift solution: on 64-bit Windows, tlshell, a GUI for TeX Live Manager, has an additional submenu ‘64-bit Windows’, to download, install and manage 64-bit binaries side-by-side with the 32-bit ones. It also tries to create an appropriate additional command-line shortcut under Windows' Start Menu.

But if you prefer, you can instead download and run the batchfile. See also the accompanying README.

Alternatively, you can download either natively-compiled or cross-compiled binaries and install them as a custom binary set.

Perl and Tcl/Tk on Windows

On Windows, TeX Live includes a minimal Perl setup. It is sufficient for running the TeX Live infrastructure programs written in Perl, such as the installer and tlmgr, but it is not sufficient to run every Perl script, not even all Perl scripts from TeX Live packages. It is not feasible to satisfy all those dependencies.

Therefore, if you need to run other Perl scripts and the included Perl does not have all the modules, you need to install a full Perl distribution.

On Windows, TeX Live also contains a basic Tcl/Tk distribution, for running the default installer GUI and the tlshell front end of tlmgr.

Neither the included Perl nor the included Tcl/Tk announce their presence to the operating system: they are not added to the searchpath and no file associations are created for them. Therefore, they should not get in the way of a full install of Perl or Tcl/Tk.

Multiple TeX distributions

Only one TeX distribution can be active at a time, because all the TeX distributions use the search path to find their programs. This means that to switch from one TeX to another, e.g., between TeX Live and MiKTeX if you have both installed, you must (at least) change the search path.

However, the individual shortcuts – including a command prompt – have a modified searchpath with TeX Live in front, so as long as you use TeX Live via the menu, you should be fine.

Security

It is especially important to be careful when processing untrusted documents on Windows, because in general Windows finds programs in the current directory before anything else, regardless of the search path. This opens up a wide variety of possible attacks.

Thus, we recommend checking for suspicious files in the current directory, especially executables (binaries or scripts). Ordinarily they should not be present, and definitely should not normally be created by merely processing a document.

Although the core TeX programs are robust, to the best of our knowledge, third-party programs may not reach the same level. For maximum safety, we recommend using a new subdirectory for processing.

Administrator privileges

Administrator privileges are not automatic even when you run as administrator. If you really want to install for all users, then:

Similarly, for TeX Live manager and a multi-user install, take care to start tlmgr, the command-line version of TeX Live Manager, from an administrative command-prompt. But the TeX Live Manager GUI tlshell will automatically pop up a UAC prompt to acquire administrator privileges if it needs them.

Network installations and the TeX Live launcher

TeX Live is designed for shared use: you can install TeX Live on a network for use on client workstations. All it takes is adding TeX Live to the searchpath.

However, this is not enough to conform to Windows conventions: double-clicking a file should open it in the right program, there should be menu shortcuts, and the user does not want to worry about modifying the searchpath.

The TeX Live Launcher takes care of the Windows-specific items in case TeX Live is already present, e.g. on a network share. Configuration takes place when a user runs the launcher for the first time, and Start menu shortcuts are replaced with controls within the launcher itself. The launcher uses an ini file for its configuration.

The launcher is present since the 2016 release of TeX Live. The 2017 release added the option to make the installation launcher-based, and the included tlaunchmode script can convert a local installation between classic mode and launcher mode.

Full documentation is available on CTAN.

Fixing permission problems, especially with texmf-local

In a multi-user installation with a pre-existing texmf-local, the files in this folder may have become unreachable after installing TeX Live 2020. The problem in the installer has been fixed and is no longer present in the 2021 installer. But if you are bitten by this, you can solve the problem as follows:

Troubleshooting other problems

Here are some things you can try:


$Date: 2022/02/25 20:16:43 $; TeX Live;
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