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16.1. Building with Visual C++ or the Platform 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 Platform SDK. If you do not already have a Visual Studio environment set up, the easiest way us to use the compilers in the Platform SDK, which is a free download from Microsoft.

PostgreSQL supports the compilers from Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008. When using the Platform SDK only, or when building for 64-bit Windows, only Visual Studio 2008 is supported. Visual Studio 2010 is not yet supported.

When building using the Platform SDK, versions 6.0 to 7.0 of the SDK are supported. Older or newer versions will not work. In particular, versions from 7.0a and later will not work, since they include compilers from Visual Studio 2010.

The tools for building using Visual C++, 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. In the Platform SDK, start the CMD shell listed under the SDK on the Start Menu. If you wish to build a 64-bit version, you must use the 64-bit version of the command, and vice versa. 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';

16.1.1. Requirements

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

Microsoft Platform SDK

It is recommended that you upgrade to the latest available version of the Microsoft Platform SDK, available for download from

You must always include the Windows Headers and Libraries part of the SDK. If you install the Platform SDK including the Visual C++ Compilers, you don't need Visual Studio to build.

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. Note that only Bison 1.875 or versions 2.2 and later will work. Also, Flex version 2.5.31 or later is required. Bison can be downloaded from Flex can be downloaded from

Note: 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 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 Kerberos 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

16.1.2. 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.

16.1.3. 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.

16.1.4. 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

16.1.5. 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

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 30.

16.1.6. 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.

DocBook DSSSL 1.79

Download from and uncompress in the subdirectory docbook-dsssl-1.79.

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.