TeX on Windows?

Robert Jantzen robert.jantzen at villanova.edu
Tue May 25 01:23:43 CEST 2021

Dear TUG,

I have been an individual sustaining member of TUG for over 30 years. In my early days at Villanova University in the 80s and early 90s, I ran a local "Delaware Valley TUG" with monthly meetings during semesters and Anita Schwartz used to attend occasionally when she was active with the national TUG leadership. Barbara Beeton saved me with crucial help on a table of contents macro that I created last century for a triennial general relativity meeting whose monster proceedings I edited since then
http://www34.homepage.villanova.edu/robert.jantzen/mg/procs/index.htm (thanks Barbara!)
We even had a local Tex Wizzard workshop with Stephan Bechtolsheim (ancient history, but Barbara will remember him). Last century of course. Time marches on.

I have been happily using PCTeX all these years, and will continue to do so but it seems like PCTeX has left us in the past two years since I communicated with someone there at the company. Does anyone know what happened to them?
https://www.pctex.com/ website seems abandoned

Is there any other for pay product to replace it?

On my previous work laptop at Villanova University (which for many years was an institutional member) I had managed to install both MikTex and TexnicCenter, the latter interface advised by my TeXpert friend at the university of Rome, but when I tried to put them on my new laptop 2 years ago, I ran into a problem and gave up.

Yesterday a friend emailed me about his friend and collaborator working on publishing unpublished work by a famous physicist, having trouble with MikTex not finding the right folder... but I am NOT a software guy, just a simple user. Nevertheless I downloaded and installed from scratch MikTeX then TexnicCenter and opened the latter to configure it, but it derailed when I had to put in the folder address of the MikTex latex files.

I searched for the MikTex "bin" folder  but found no trace of these new files I downloaded and installed yesterday, and only MikTex 2.9 from 2019, but no "bin" folder. I tried to delete both programs (MikTex appeared in the list from my installation yesterday), but MikTex 2.9 won't be deleted. It reports an error. My university Help Desk also could not delete it, so currently an open Help Desk ticket has been opened for this. TeXworks still will typeset a simple file. Hmm.

My friend in Rome told me exactly the folder address I needed for TeXnicCenter to configure itself


(e.g. "C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin\x64\")

Unfortunately such a folder I could not find! He told me TexnicCenter is frozen for 6-7 years already but he still uses it because he prefers the interface. There is also TexWorks for me to try within MikTeX yet but not with the latest MikTex distribution until I can get my help desk to blow away that older distribution. Or maybe it is the latest distribution since my help desk person first upgraded MikTex and then updated it, but the filenames are all dated 2019 two years ago when I failed to successfully configure TeXnicCenter.

Why am I writing this email?

I have been blissfully unaware of how frustrating it can be for a nonexpert to install a free TeX distribution with present resources available. How can TeX expect to survive with such obstacles? What is it that I am missing?

Every year I get a TUG DVD, but my laptop does not have a DVD/CD reader of course...I am guessing that is more for group administrators or computer savvy people?

Why isn't there a self-installing complete setup for Windows LaTeX? Does TeX Live also suffer from these installation procedures which require user input, input that is not clearly specified anywhere?

I don't expect resolution of my local problems, but I would like assurance that ordinary people can install easily a working LaTeX system. I would love to try it myself. I would even pay a reasonable fee.

Thanks for all your years of dedicated work, whoever reads this.

[A picture containing text, linedrawing  Description automatically generated]
bob jantzen

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