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17.1. Building with Visual C++ or the Microsoft Windows SDK

PostgreSQL can be built using the Visual C++ compiler suite from Microsoft. These compilers can be either from Visual Studio, Visual Studio Express or some versions of the Microsoft Windows SDK. If you do not already have a Visual Studio environment set up, the easiest ways are to use the compilers from Visual Studio Express 2015 for Windows Desktop or those in the Windows SDK 7.1, which are both free downloads from Microsoft.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are possible with the Microsoft Compiler suite. 32-bit PostgreSQL builds are possible with Visual Studio 2005 to Visual Studio 2015 (including Express editions), as well as standalone Windows SDK releases 6.0 to 7.1. 64-bit PostgreSQL builds are supported with Microsoft Windows SDK version 6.0a to 7.1 or Visual Studio 2008 and above. Compilation is supported down to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 when building with Visual Studio 2005 to Visual Studio 2013. Building with Visual Studio 2015 is supported down to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

The tools for building using Visual C++ or Platform SDK are in the src/tools/msvc directory. When building, make sure there are no tools from MinGW or Cygwin present in your system PATH. Also, make sure you have all the required Visual C++ tools available in the PATH. In Visual Studio, start the Visual Studio Command Prompt. If you wish to build a 64-bit version, you must use the 64-bit version of the command, and vice versa. In the Microsoft Windows SDK, start the CMD shell listed under the SDK on the Start Menu. In recent SDK versions you can change the targeted CPU architecture, build type, and target OS by using the setenv command, e.g. setenv /x86 /release /xp to target Windows XP or later with a 32-bit release build. See /? for other options to setenv. All commands should be run from the src\tools\msvc directory.

Before you build, you may need to edit the file to reflect any configuration options you want to change, or the paths to any third party libraries to use. The complete configuration is determined by first reading and parsing the file, and then apply any changes from For example, to specify the location of your Python installation, put the following in

$config->{python} = 'c:\python26';

You only need to specify those parameters that are different from what's in

If you need to set any other environment variables, create a file called and put the required commands there. For example, to add the path for bison when it's not in the PATH, create a file containing:

$ENV{PATH}=$ENV{PATH} . ';c:\some\where\bison\bin';

To pass additional command line arguments to the Visual Studio build command (msbuild or vcbuild):


17.1.1. Requirements

The following additional products are required to build PostgreSQL. Use the file to specify which directories the libraries are available in.

Microsoft Windows SDK

If your build environment doesn't ship with a supported version of the Microsoft Windows SDK it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version (currently version 7.1), available for download from

You must always include the Windows Headers and Libraries part of the SDK. If you install a Windows SDK including the Visual C++ Compilers, you don't need Visual Studio to build. Note that as of Version 8.0a the Windows SDK no longer ships with a complete command-line build environment.

ActiveState Perl

ActiveState Perl is required to run the build generation scripts. MinGW or Cygwin Perl will not work. It must also be present in the PATH. Binaries can be downloaded from (Note: version 5.8 or later is required, the free Standard Distribution is sufficient).

The following additional products are not required to get started, but are required to build the complete package. Use the file to specify which directories the libraries are available in.

ActiveState TCL

Required for building PL/Tcl (Note: version 8.4 is required, the free Standard Distribution is sufficient).

Bison and Flex

Bison and Flex are required to build from Git, but not required when building from a release file. Only Bison 1.875 or versions 2.2 and later will work. Flex must be version 2.5.31 or later.

Both Bison and Flex are included in the msys tool suite, available from as part of the MinGW compiler suite.

You will need to add the directory containing flex.exe and bison.exe to the PATH environment variable in unless they are already in PATH. In the case of MinGW, the directory is the \msys\1.0\bin subdirectory of your MinGW installation directory.


The Bison distribution from GnuWin32 appears to have a bug that causes Bison to malfunction when installed in a directory with spaces in the name, such as the default location on English installations C:\Program Files\GnuWin32. Consider installing into C:\GnuWin32 or use the NTFS short name path to GnuWin32 in your PATH environment setting (e.g. C:\PROGRA~1\GnuWin32).


The obsolete winflex binaries distributed on the PostgreSQL FTP site and referenced in older documentation will fail with flex: fatal internal error, exec failed on 64-bit Windows hosts. Use Flex from MSYS instead.


Diff is required to run the regression tests, and can be downloaded from


Gettext is required to build with NLS support, and can be downloaded from Note that binaries, dependencies and developer files are all needed.

MIT Kerberos

Required for GSSAPI authentication support. MIT Kerberos can be downloaded from

libxml2 and libxslt

Required for XML support. Binaries can be downloaded from or source from Note that libxml2 requires iconv, which is available from the same download location.


Required for SSL support. Binaries can be downloaded from or source from


Required for UUID-OSSP support (contrib only). Source can be downloaded from


Required for building PL/Python. Binaries can be downloaded from


Required for compression support in pg_dump and pg_restore. Binaries can be downloaded from

17.1.2. Special Considerations for 64-bit Windows

PostgreSQL will only build for the x64 architecture on 64-bit Windows, there is no support for Itanium processors.

Mixing 32- and 64-bit versions in the same build tree is not supported. The build system will automatically detect if it's running in a 32- or 64-bit environment, and build PostgreSQL accordingly. For this reason, it is important to start the correct command prompt before building.

To use a server-side third party library such as python or openssl, this library must also be 64-bit. There is no support for loading a 32-bit library in a 64-bit server. Several of the third party libraries that PostgreSQL supports may only be available in 32-bit versions, in which case they cannot be used with 64-bit PostgreSQL.

17.1.3. Building

To build all of PostgreSQL in release configuration (the default), run the command:


To build all of PostgreSQL in debug configuration, run the command:

build DEBUG

To build just a single project, for example psql, run the commands:

build psql
build DEBUG psql

To change the default build configuration to debug, put the following in the file:


It is also possible to build from inside the Visual Studio GUI. In this case, you need to run:


from the command prompt, and then open the generated pgsql.sln (in the root directory of the source tree) in Visual Studio.

17.1.4. Cleaning and Installing

Most of the time, the automatic dependency tracking in Visual Studio will handle changed files. But if there have been large changes, you may need to clean the installation. To do this, simply run the clean.bat command, which will automatically clean out all generated files. You can also run it with the dist parameter, in which case it will behave like make distclean and remove the flex/bison output files as well.

By default, all files are written into a subdirectory of the debug or release directories. To install these files using the standard layout, and also generate the files required to initialize and use the database, run the command:

install c:\destination\directory

If you want to install only the client applications and interface libraries, then you can use these commands:

install c:\destination\directory client

17.1.5. Running the Regression Tests

To run the regression tests, make sure you have completed the build of all required parts first. Also, make sure that the DLLs required to load all parts of the system (such as the Perl and Python DLLs for the procedural languages) are present in the system path. If they are not, set it through the file. To run the tests, run one of the following commands from the src\tools\msvc directory:

vcregress check
vcregress installcheck
vcregress plcheck
vcregress contribcheck
vcregress modulescheck
vcregress ecpgcheck
vcregress isolationcheck
vcregress bincheck
vcregress recoverycheck
vcregress upgradecheck

To change the schedule used (default is parallel), append it to the command line like:

vcregress check serial

For more information about the regression tests, see Chapter 32.

Running the regression tests on client programs, with vcregress bincheck, or on recovery tests, with vcregress recoverycheck, requires an additional Perl module to be installed:


As of this writing, IPC::Run is not included in the ActiveState Perl installation, nor in the ActiveState Perl Package Manager (PPM) library. To install, download the IPC-Run-<version>.tar.gz source archive from CPAN, at, and uncompress. Edit the file, and add a PERL5LIB variable to point to the lib subdirectory from the extracted archive. For example:

$ENV{PERL5LIB}=$ENV{PERL5LIB} . ';c:\IPC-Run-0.94\lib';

17.1.6. Building the Documentation

Building the PostgreSQL documentation in HTML format requires several tools and files. Create a root directory for all these files, and store them in the subdirectories in the list below.

OpenJade 1.3.1-2

Download from and uncompress in the subdirectory openjade-1.3.1.

DocBook DTD 4.2

Download from and uncompress in the subdirectory docbook.

ISO character entities

Download from and uncompress in the subdirectory docbook.

Edit the file, and add a variable for the location of the root directory, for example:


To build the documentation, run the command builddoc.bat. Note that this will actually run the build twice, in order to generate the indexes. The generated HTML files will be in doc\src\sgml.

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