Building On Windows

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Revision as of 14:31, 27 May 2020 by James (talk | contribs) (typo.)
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ToDo-2 Add
  • Instructions for building modules
Peter 07Jul10 - ToDo-1 user Nick Gawronski [email protected] wrote on the devel email list re updating/correcting this page.
  • Hi, I went to the page and found several issues with the building process that should really be fixed on the wiki.
  • First, lots of URLS exist that have no links directly to them on the page. It would be a lot easier if these were normal html links so users could just select the link. *Second, no components are listed for Microsoft Visual C are mentioned it would be useful if such components that you need to select are listed. Third, when trying to build wxWidgets in the solution file when I tried to build the library no mention is made in the documentation that it requires the windows 8.1 SDK and no directions on how to fix this error on windows 10 pro 64 bits.
    • I even built the library using the command line directions but at the end of the build process no output location was given as to where the library compiled files were located.
  • Fourth the git clone command does not even point to the proper git location for the audacity sources so copying the command out of the page and pasting it into the command prompt gives me an error.
    • Also, Looking on that build page there are directions for mac components on there should those not be moved to their own section and not mixed with the windows components? *Fixing this build page on the wiki would be useful as well as stating if building the library wxWidgets from the command line as talked about in the project's documentation is supported by audacity.
  • Adding a command line building option for audacity for those of us who like to build using the command line and a makefile would also be useful or directions on how to generate one from the current files in the audacity sources.
  • Can someone please get back to me on this issue as I would like to test out the latest development sources and build the project from source to see if it works well with windows 10 pro 64 bits?
    • Including prebuilt binaries of the proper version of wxWidgets would also be useful as the links in that documentation do not work.
Henric wrote:
  • If you want to build from the command line, then I would suggest

putting the wxWdigets source in lib-src/wxWidgets. That way the environment variable is not necessary (although, it takes precedence if it exists). Then build wxWidgets with,

   msbuild /m lib-src\wxWidgets\build\msw\wx_vc15.sln "/p:Configuration=DLL Release;Platform=Win32;PlatformToolset=v141" /target:adv,base,core,html,net,qa,wxexpat,wxjpeg,wxpng,wxtiff,wxzlib,xml

and Audacity with:

  msbuild /m win/audacity.sln /p:Configuration=Release;Platform=Win32;PlatformToolset=v141

Replace v141 with v142 if you have VS2019 installed.

wxWidgets tries to pick a reasonable SDK, but falls back the (ancient) 8.1 SDK if it doesn't recognize the Visual Studio version (specifying "PlatformToolset=v141" should be enough). 17763 is used by the appveyor build and is the default installed with the latest version of Visual Studio 2017 (see "appveyor.yml" in the Audacity repo's root directory). The default is set in the root directory's, but can be overridden from the msbuild command line by setting it with,


It is probably a good idea to build both wxWidgets and Audacity with the same Windows SDK.

And yes, that build page should probably be updated.
These are instructions for building on Windows

The build family of pages:

Instructions in win/build.txt

These instructions for building on Windows are in win/build.txt in the Git repo.
Instructions for building on Windows.

Fuller instructions that include 
   * Portable Settings
   * Building an Installer
can be found on our wiki at

1. MSVC 2017: Download and install Microsoft Visual Studio 2017

2. Git: Download and install Git, for example by installing:

  Git for Windows:
  and optionally GitExtensions:

 download and run the .msi installer.  GitExtensions has a GUI interface, includes Git for
 Windows and has a Git bash command line in the bottom panel of the screen.

3. Python
  We currently depend on Python 2.7.18 during the build.  We are working on a switch to a Python 3.
  At the time of writing, Python 2.7.18 must be on your path.

4. wxWidgets:

 1) Clone wxWidgets and checkout 3.1.3 from the Audacity fork of the 
    wxWidgets project:

    for example, in the git-bash command line
      mkdir ./wxWidgets
      cd ./wxWidgets
      git clone --recurse-submodules
    IF you forgot the --recurse-submodules, you can correct that later by:
      git submodule update --init

  2) Follow instructions for building at

    We (currently) build the 32 bit DLL version, 
    and Audacity is built 32 bit too.

    Set WXWIN environment variable to the appropriate directory where you installed 
    wxWidgets. This will tell CMake where to find wxWidgets later.

    To set WXWIN, click on Settings (the cogwheel icon from the start menu)
    Then in the 'find settings' search box type 'env'.
    Choose 'Edit the system environment variables'
    Then the 'Environment Variables' button 
    Then in system variables, for variable and value,  add (for example)     
        WXWIN         C:\wxWidgets-3.1.3

    You will be building a dll version with MSVC2017 IDE, so...

    In MSVC 2017 open wx_vc15.sln, and select dll, release.
    Then build.

  3) Having got this far, it is well worth trying out building some wxWidgets
    examples to confirm that building has worked OK.

    If you do decide to do this, 

    $ copy  %WXWIN%\include\msvc\wx\setup.h %WXWIN%\include\wx\

    This means that the examples will see setup.h, which they need.

    To run the samples, if you don't put the dll libs on your path, you'll 
    need to copy the .exe file to the directory where the .dll files are 
    ( %WXWIN%\lib\vcc_dll\ ).

    Alternatively there is a 'working directory' setting in 
    and you can set that to the dll release or debug directory.

5. Audacity

 1) Clone Audacity from the Audacity GitHub project.

    for example, in the git-bash command line
      mkdir ./audacity
      cd ./audacity
      git clone

    Audacity itself does not use/need git submodules.

 2) Open the CMake GUI.
     Set the 'Where is the source code' location to where your copy of the git repo is.
     Set the 'Where to build the binaries' to where you want the results.

    Click on configure.
    (notice where it found / did not find wxWidgets if it did not find wxwidgets check 
    that you set WXWIN correctly )

 3) Click on Generate.

 4) Click on Open Project.

    From here on you should be able to use the project.

    Choose Release or Debug.
    Click compile.


These instructions for variations on building aren't in win/build.txt in the Git repo.

Defaulting to Portable Settings

 UH?  These instructions are for Mac.
 1. Within add the directories:
    Portable Settings
    Portable Settings/AutoSave

 2. Set permissions on these two directories to 777
    chmod 777 "Portable Settings"
    chmod 777 "Portable Settings/AutoSave"

Optional Features

Some functionality in Audacity is currently turned on in its default
configuration, but requires that extra libraries be downloaded
separately to use it. 

To change the libraries enabled in Audacity, edit  
"win\configwin.h" and comment or uncomment the entries.

You might also try modifying the features enabled in 

Supporting ASIO

ASIO (from Steinberg) is a sound card interface protocol that is faster
than standard WMME. Unlike WMME, not all soundcard drivers support it.

Because ASIO is a proprietary, closed standard, we (or any third party)
cannot distribute its SDK. That means we cannot distribute builds of
Audacity that support ASIO, because Audacity is licensed under the GPL 
(, which requires we
distribute all source code. 

So, although you can build your own copies of Audacity with 
ASIO support, for personal use, you cannot distribute them without 
violating the Audacity license and the ASIO license. 
If you build ASIO support into Audacity, do not distribute that build. 

For ASIO support, get the ASIO SDK from Steinberg 
install at C:\ASIOSDK, then define an environment variable called

The value should be the full path to the base directory of the
ASIO SDK, e.g.,


Official Full Releases

Official full releases:

  • Have a GitIdent, visible in the about box build information, that says what branch was used in building.
  • Come with translations
  • May be as a zip file
    • No manual provided
  • May be as a windows installer.
    • These come with help files in html format.
  • Are signed.

Updating GitIdent

 The Audacity "About" box can contain a link to the git commit at which 
 Audacity was built. To create this, run this batch script in /mac/scripts/
 using the git-bash command  line
 If you do this, you are responsible for making sure the ident is correct
 in future builds.  The script overwrites RevisionIdent.h in the src directory.
 If you make further changes to your local copy after this step, or merge a
 more recent version from git, this file, and hence the ident in the build, 
 stays the same, and so would be misleading.
 To reset RevisionIdent.h you could do:
   git reset --hard origin/master

Fetching The Manual

We have instructions for fetching the manual on another page.

Preparing Languages

In the MSVC project languages are not built by default, so be careful you are not using an out of date version of the translations for release.
  1.  In the MSVC project, click on 'locale' project and build.

It looks like this step is historic and no longer needs to be done.
 1. Open the "gl_ES", "ko_KR" and "pt" folders in turn and move the "" file 
    in each to the "gl", "ko" and pt_PT folders respectively.
 2. Delete the "gl_ES", ko_KR and "pt" folders.
 3. COPY (do not move) from "eu" into "eu_ES".

Building the Installer

The Inno setup installer requires certain files in certain places to be able to produce the installer.

 1. Copy msvcp140.dll and vcruntime140.dll from 
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Community\VC\Redist\MSVC\14.14.26405\x86\Microsoft.VC141.CRT
    to \win\release

    The 64 bit version will not work on 32 bit machines.

Now to actually make the installer...

  1. Install the latest Unicode Inno Setup ( 
  2. Open the Inno Setup script:
  3. Click 'Compile'.
Bulb icon  
  • If installing on Windows 8 or 10, you will need to set permissions on the C:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 5\Languages\dummy directory to allow .isl files to be written there.
  • You will also need to obtain the 'unofficial' .isl files yourself and place them in C:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 5\Languages\unofficial. They aren't installed by Inno setup, but you can obtain them from GitHub.

Making the Zip File

Do this step after making and testing the installer.

  Having installed from the installer

  1. Use 7-zip to create a new archive from the installed files excluding:
    - The manual
    - The unins* files
    - FirstTimeInit.txt

Note that the .exe in this zip file and dlls are not code signed. Audacity loads dlls dynamically at run time, possibly unsigned ones, so signing the exe itself is misleading for security. The integrity and security of the zip file is provided by its published checksukm. The situation is different for the installer where the code signature protects the entire bundle.

Signing the Installer

More detailed information on obtaining and verifying the cert is available at Codesigning On Windows

Codesigning uses a USB dongle (smart card reader) and a timestamp server at certum:

signtool sign /n "James Crook" /t /fd sha256 /v <path-to-audacity-git>\win\Output\audacity-win-2.3.0.exe

If you don;t have the path to signtool.exe pre set, you might find it here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\bin\x64\signtool.exe
Bulb icon To test the signing, upload the installer to dropbox and then download it again. Then double-click to open. When you launch Audacity, you now get a warning about having downloaded from the internet, with the identity of the signing key shown.