DIRAC on Windows

We offer native support for Microsoft Windows 7/8 and for Cygwin.


  1. The CMake system (http://www.cmake.org). Add path to CMake executables into your PATH environment variable. Example of path to add: “C:\cmake-3.0.2-win32-x86\bin”

  2. Fortran, C and C++ compilers. We recommend to use compilers from http://mingw-w64.sourceforge.net/ for both 32/64 bit Windows. You can download 32-bit version from this URL And 64-bit version from this page In both cases we recommend to download archive file instead of installer and then just unpack it somewhere. Add path to compilers into your PATH environment variable. Example of path to add: “C:\mingw64\bin”

  3. The Python interpreter of version at least 2.7 (http://www.python.org). Install 32-bit version of Python on 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Python on 64-bit Windows. Into PATH variable add paths to both Python and its scripts. Example of paths to add: “C:\Python27;C:\Python27\Scripts”

  4. Zlib library (http://www.zlib.net/)

    For 32-bit Windows (if you place zlib libraries at the same place as we do then CMake should find them automatically):

    [a] download zlib in archive from http://zlib.net/zlib128-dll.zip

    [b] unpack downloaded archive (Extract all)

    [c] rename unpacked folder to “zlib” (note: that folder must contain folders: “include”, “lib”, “test”, file “zlib1.dll” and some other files)

    [d] move it to “C:\Program Files”

    [e] run in command line these commands:

    cd C:\Program Files\zlib
    dlltool -D zlib1.dll -d lib/zlib.def -l lib/libzdll.a

    [f] add “C:\Program Files\zlib” into PATH

    [g] if CMake will have problems to find zlib libraries you can use this (available since CMake 2.8.7):

    python setup -DZLIB_ROOT=[path to zlib folder]

    For 64-bit Windows (if you place zlib libraries at the same place as we do then CMake should find them automatically):

    [a] download zlib in archive from here

    [b] unpack downloaded archive (Extract all)

    [c] in unpacked folder find folder named “zlib” and move it to “C:\Program Files” (note: that folder must contain folders: “bin”, “include” and “lib”)

    [d] add “C:\Program Files\zlib” into PATH

    [e] if CMake will have problems to find zlib libraries you can use this (available since CMake 2.8.7):

    python setup -DZLIB_ROOT=[path to zlib folder]
  5. Boost (http://www.boost.org/). Download Boost in archive file from http://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/ Then follow this instructions (if you place Boost libraries at the same place as we do then CMake should find them automatically):

    [a] unpack downloaded archive (Extract all)

    [b] in unpacked folder (for example: “C:\boost_1_56_0\boost_1_56_0”) run this command in command line:

    bootstrap.bat mingw

    [c] in the same directory run:

    b2 --with-system --with-filesystem --with-test --with-chrono --with-timer toolset=gcc install

    [d] in “C:\Boost” you will find “include” and “lib” directories

    [e] if CMake will have problems to find your Boost libraries yo can use:

    python setup -DBOOST_INCLUDEDIR=[path]\include -DBOOST_LIBRARYDIR=[path]\lib
  6. To speed-up your calculations you can download OpenBLAS (it includes BLAS and LAPACK implementation) library from http://www.openblas.net/. There are available prebuilt binaries for 32/64 bit Windows for Intel NEHALEM architecture with threading capability. You can specify number of threads with “OPENBLAS_NUM_THREADS” environment variable. On 64-bit Windows you can choose from “Win64-int32” and “Win64-int64” versions. Use “Win64-int32” version when building without “–int64” setup option and “Win64-int64” version when building with “–int64” setup option. Add path to “libopenblas.dll” file into PATH. Example of path to add: “C:\libraries\OpenBLAS\OpenBLAS-v0.2.14-Win64-int64\bin”.


To use OpenBLAS libraries you have to set them explicitly with “–blas” and “–lapack” setup options. See Build examples below.


For detailed info about how to use threads and for detailed install guide go to https://github.com/xianyi/OpenBLAS/wiki.


If you need you can compile your own OpenBLAS binaries, for example for different CPU architecture. See https://github.com/xianyi/OpenBLAS/wiki/How-to-use-OpenBLAS-in-Microsoft-Visual-Studio - do not be afraid it is built by MinGW in MSYS!

  1. How to install software needed to create documentation see DIRAC on Windows - developers section

Important notes

  1. You can modify or create PATH environment variable in “Control Panel” –> “User Accounts” and click “Change my environment variables”. Please add or change variables only in the part for User variables not in the part for System variables. When you want to add several paths into PATH environment variable then you can use ”;” as a separator.
  2. Please avoid to have spaces in your paths (also in name of your user’s home directory). The zlib library in “C:\Program Files\zlib” is an exception from this rule.
  3. Avoid to have path to program “sh.exe” in your PATH. See also http://www.cmake.org/Wiki/CMake_MinGW_Compiler_Issues. Examples of not good paths: “C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\bin”, “C:\Git\bin” or “C:\cygwin\bin”. These paths are causing conflict with CMake programs!
  4. Upon installing Python for all users on the Windows computing server it happens that registers are not under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. One has to export the “Python” section under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, modify the exported file and import it again. See this post.
  5. To check which dynamic libraries are used by your program you can use “Process Explorer” utility from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx. This utility can also be used to show number of threads used by your program, its I/O operations and so on. Yo should care about your program is loading correct “dll” libraries during execution. For example: you want to build Dirac with “–int64” option and you specify to use “Win64-int64” version of OpenBLAS with “–blas” option - this is correct. But in your PATH “Win64-int32” version of OpenBLAS is found before “Win64-int64” version and “Win64-int32” version is used - this is not correct and Dirac program fails.

Windows PowerShell

If you are using Windows PowerShell instead of command line (“cmd.exe”) you should realise that commands look little bit different:

bootstrap.bat mingw

looks in PowerShell like:

.\bootstrap.bat mingw

If you have problems to build Dirac in PowerShell try to use command line (type “cmd.exe” in PowerShell).

Installation and running

Configuration, installation and own execution of DIRAC is possible from the Windows (DOS) command line or Windows PowerShell. Windows operating systems are generating executables with the ”.exe” suffix, like dirac.x.exe.

To execute Python scripts please type “python” command before script name as Windows can not determine scripting language.

Finally, instead of “make” type its MinGW64 version, what is “mingw32-make”.

Build examples

For specifying one or more parameters for Python scripts (either in the ”.diracrc” configuration file, or directly by typing in the command line), you should envelope them into inverted commas, ”...”. In ”.diracrc” you can use backlash in Windows paths. For example:



If you want to use ”.diracrc” configuration file it must be placed in your user’s home directory, for example: “C:\Users\User\.diracrc”.

If you want to specify “setup” options (“–fc”, “–cc”, “–cxx”, “–blas”, “–lapack” and others) you have to use slash sign in paths like in Linux, if you want to specify -D options you have to use backslash sign in paths. See example below.


If your compilers are in PATH you do not need to specify full path to “–fc”, “–cc”, “–cxx”.


To show all setup options run in command line: python setup –help.

Configure DIRAC:

C:\Dirac\my-dirac> python setup --generator="MinGW Makefiles" --int64 --blas="C:/libraries/OpenBLAS/OpenBLAS-v0.2.14-Win64-int64/bin/libopenblas.dll" --lapack="C:/libraries/OpenBLAS/OpenBLAS-v0.2.14-Win64-int64/bin/libopenblas.dll" -D ZLIB_ROOT="C:\libraries\zlib" -D BOOST_INCLUDEDIR="C:\libraries\Boost\include" -D BOOST_LIBRARYDIR="C:\libraries\Boost\lib"

Compile the executable (in the default build directory):

cd build
C:\Dirac\my-dirac\build> mingw32-make -j 4

Run your selected test set together with uploading results onto the CDash web:

C:\Dirac\my-dirac\build> ctest -D ExperimentalTest -L short -D ExperimentalSubmit -j 4

Intel (not available yet)

We tried to test Dirac with Intel Parallel Studio XE 2015 Update 3 Cluster Edition (https://software.intel.com/en-us/intel-parallel-studio-xe) which contains Intel C/C++ and Fortran compilers, Intel MKL and Intel MPI libraries in virtual machine with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 running on AMD Athlon II 64-bit processor.

Our installation steps:

  1. Install Visual Studio Professional 2013 with Update 3 (https://www.visualstudio.com/)
  2. Install Intel Parallel Studio XE 2015 Update 3 Cluster Edition
  3. Initialize the Cluster edition tools:
cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Parallel Studio XE 2015
psxevars.bat intel64
  1. Add “C:\Intel\Composer XE 2015\bin\intel64_mic;C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Composer XE\bin\intel64” into PATH environment variable.
  2. Make own cmd.exe shortcut, open its properties and put into “Target” field (then you can use Intel compilers from this custom command line):
%comspec% /k ""C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat" amd64 && "C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\Composer XE 2015\bin\compilervars.bat" intel64 vs2013"

Intel compiler names:

C/C++ compiler: icl Fortran compiler: ifort CMake Generator: NMake Makefiles MPI compilers for C/C++ and Fortran (.bat wrappers): mpicc, mpicxx, mpif90 MPI execution program: mpiexec (when first time run after Windows start/user login it asks for user password)

We have used this setup command:

python setup --cc=icl --cxx=icl --fc=ifort --type=debug --int64 --generator="NMake Makefiles" -D ENABLE_PCMSOLVER=OFF

and then this command for building:

cd build


Regarding the Microsoft Windows platform, DIRAC is able to run under the Cygwin (https://cygwin.com/) intermediating environment, which has almost all necessary Linux substitutes. Thus it is considered as the Windows non-native installation, because the Cygwin layer ensures full Linux workplace on the top of the ground Windows operating system.

In order to build Dirac on Cygwin you have to install these packages:

  1. compilers: gcc-core, gcc-fortran, gcc-g++ (also these we need to get all header files: gcc-ada, gcc-objc, gcc-objc++)
  2. make and cmake (it includes ctest..)
  3. python interpreter
  4. zlib0, zlib-devel
  5. git version control system
  6. optionally you can install OpenBLAS (libopenblas) - recommended for 32 and 64 integer builds or BLAS and LAPACK (together in liblapack0 package) - but these are only 32-bit versions


OpenBLAS library is placed in “/usr/bin/cygblas-0.dll”.


You have to explicitly specify to use OpenBLAS library with “–blas” setup option.


With 64 bit integers enabled use builtin LAPACK with OpenBLAS (OpenBLAS on Cygwin does not contain LAPACK).


To run OpenBLAS in parallel export OPENBLAS_NUM_THREADS environment variable.


BLAS and LAPACK libraries from liblapack0 package are placed in “/usr/lib/lapack” (“cygblas-0.dll” and “cyglapack-0.dll”).

  1. optionally you can install Open MPI


If you want to use Open MPI you have to run Cygserver as an administrator, see https://cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/using-cygserver.html.

  1. to be able to build documentation (make html, make doxygen - problematic, make slides) install also: pkg-config, ghostscript, libfreetype-devel, libpng-devel, python-gtk2.0, libgtk2.0-devel, doxygen (why so many see http://blogs.bu.edu/mhirsch/2014/06/matplotlib-in-cygwin-64-bit/) and get and install pip from https://pip.pypa.io/en/latest/installing.html and in Cygwin terminal run:
pip install sphinx python-dateutil pyparsing sphinxcontrib-bibtex sphinx_rtd_theme numpy matplotlib hieroglyph


Previous pip install command usually does not work if you have installed libopenblas. You should remove it, install liblapack0 and try again.

Always check if you are using Cygwin programs and libraries (placed in for example: “/usr/bin”, “/usr/include”, “usr/lib”, “/usr/share”) instead of programs/libraries from Windows (those are placed in “/cygdrive/..”) for example by this commands:

which gcc g++ gfortran make cmake ctest ar ranlib python git doxygen
whereis zlib cygblas-0.dll

Installation of packages can be done by running Cygwin installer (there is nothing like sudo apt-get). You can use Cygwin installer also to update installed packages. Sometimes new version of installer is released and then you must install and update your packages with its new version but there is no need to completely reinstall your Cygwin installation.


Ask your administrator to install Cygwin packages, “pip” and other software into Cygwin environment.


You can have also your own Cygwin installation and then you do not need to ask anybody.

Cygwin Troubleshooting

When using Cygwin programs and environment variables from Windows are also available in Cygwin. There can be problems for example with Boost and zlib libraries from Windows which can be detected by CMake when run from Cygwin. Those libraries can make configuration or build fail. In order to avoid this temporarily move folders with those libraries to some another place which is not investigated by CMake or change their names (then if you want to build from Windows you can return everything back or see DIRAC on Windows how to learn setup where to look for zlib and Boost). Also you should check environment variables.

Example how to point to correct Boost and zlib libraries:

python setup -DBOOST_INCLUDEDIR=[install_prefix]/include -DBOOST_LIBRARYDIR=[install_prefix]/lib -DZLIB_ROOT=/usr/lib


Boost libraries which can be installed from Cygwin installation are not recognized by Dirac setup.

You can try to compile your own (download from http://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/):

bootstrap.sh gcc --prefix=[install_prefix]
b2 --with-system --with-filesystem --with-test --with-chrono --with-timer toolset=gcc install

To more clearly see (in case when problems occur) what happens it is possible to run Dirac configuration directly by CMake when you create a build directory in Dirac top directory then move into it and run:

cmake ..

If there is need to remove Cygwin in an environment with multiple users then all users must delete their own home directories and then administrator can delete whole Cygwin installation/folder.

Sometimes you can get errors like os.fork() is not available. In that case try to rebase Cygwin: http://cygwin.wikia.com/wiki/Rebaseall.