Guidelines and HOWTOs/Build from source/Windows

Craft is a tool to build the sources and its third-party requirements. It is the easy way to build software.

Setting up craft

Installing python

While Craft is capable of installing an embedded Python version sufficient for most packages, we recommend a full installation of Python. The current version is 3.7. Download Python 3.6+

Note that some packages may still depend on Python2.7, so if you see following error make sure to install it and update CraftSettings.ini file:

   DEBUG Craft was unable to locate: python2.7, in None
   CRITICAL Please have a look on C:\CraftRoot\etc\CraftSettings.ini and make sure that
   Points to a valid Python installation.

Setting up a powershell

Powershell is required to be at least version 5.0. If you're running Windows 10 you most probably won't need to update Powershell.

You can check the version by invocating $PSVersionTable.PSVersion in a Powershell terminal.

In case you need a newer one, we recommend Powershell Core.

The latest version of the standard powershell can be found here.

Setting up a compiler

Currently, Craft supports both the MinGW and Microsoft Visual Studio (msvc) compiler. While MinGW can be installed by Craft, Visual Studio must be installed independently by the user.

Please note that in case you or the package you are a trying to build needs QtWebEngine, you'll have to use Visual Studio(!). MinGW is not supported.

For Visual Studio, make sure the following components are selected at the minimum:

  • Desktop Development with C++
  • C++ ATL
  • Windows SDK

(Optional) Direct X SDK (only for MinGW setups)

(You can skip this step if you plan to use the binary cache which is enable by default, Direct X SDK is only needed during building)

If you are using the MinGW compiler, in order to compile the Qt5 qtbase package you will also need to install the Microsoft DirectX SDK. Make sure to open a new command line window after the installation for the environment variables to be set.

(Optional, Recommended) Enable development mode

Windows 10 supports the creation of symbolic links, but only if the development mode is activated. Allowing symbolic links allows faster (much faster) extraction of archives. Enable development mode

Installing Craft

  1. Start a PowerShell environment (Do not use PowerShell ISE, it doesn't work very well with python). It might be required to run it as administrator.
  2. Allow execution of powershell scripts by executing the following command:
    Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope CurrentUser RemoteSigned
  3. Install Craft and follow the instructions by executing the following command:
    iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(''))
  4. Consider adding exception for the entire craft root directory to your antivirus' exceptions, otherwise build of some packages can fail (example: build of kde/frameworks/tier2/kdoctools when AVG is used).

Note: For Microsoft Visual Studio compiler, it's necessary to have VCTOOLSREDISTDIR environment variable pointing to: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Professional\VC\Redist\MSVC\xx.xx.xxxxx" for MSVS 2017 and VCINSTALLDIR environment pointing to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2015\Community\VC\" for MSVS 2015.

Using Craft

To use Craft you need to start a Powershell window, point that to KDEROOT\craft and run the initalization script. For example:


This tells Craft about your environment settings (e.g. paths). It will load your configuration from CraftRoot\etc\CraftSettings.ini. If there are any error messages Craft will not work as expected. The output should look similar to this one (of course with your paths):

PS C:\CraftRoot\craft>.\craftenv.ps1
Craft               : C:\CraftRoot
Version             : master
ABI                 : windows-msvc2017_64-cl
Download directory  : C:\CraftRoot\download

Then start crafting


If craft seems stalled for prolonged period of time, you may want need hit Enter in the Powershell terminal to give it a nudge.

Virtual Machines

If you don't have windows - not to worry! Grab one of Microsoft's VM for development.

  • Get a VM
  • Import into VM software + install guest addons if necessary and applicable
  • In windows search the start menu for 'Visual Studio Installer' and start it
  • Modify VS and select the components mentioned on the Craft page. For particularly easy access you can simply pick the 'desktop development with c++' and 'linux development with c++' workloads instead of the individual components
  • Setup Craft as described above


Setup Visual Studio with Chocolatey

  • choco install -y visualstudio2019buildtools --package-parameters "--add  Microsoft.VisualStudio.Component.VC.ATL"
  • choco install -y visualstudio2019-workload-vctools visualstudio2019-workload-nativedesktop visualstudio2019-workload-manageddesktopbuildtools
  • choco install -y windows-sdk-10

This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 07:27. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.