Installing TeX Live on Windows 7, potential problems

Beuthe, Thomas thomas.beuthe at
Tue May 25 17:29:25 CEST 2021

I see some discussion on Windows install for TeX Live, so I thought I would add something for discussion.

I recently installed TeX Live on a several laptops running Window 7 (Professional).
In both cases, the laptops had lots of ram (max installable on the machine) and included a main drive that was an SSD.
The install was done from an unpacked ISO, so no network was needed (or used) during install.
In fact I shut down internet connection, and completely disabled both firewall and virus checker to make sure they don't interfere.

On the newer, faster system (about 5 years old) the install ran smoothly, although I would like to note that it took many hours to complete (as in more than 2-3).
So a slow, but successful install. No big deal, it runs in the background and the machine can still be used for other purposes while it happens.

On the older, slower system, the install ran for about 3 hours, got perhaps 10-20% complete, and failed.
Tried again and again, but no luck. This same trend also happened with the previous several versions of TeX Live (2019, 2020).
I note that on earlier versions like 2015 the install was definitely faster and successful.
It just seems to be a very very slow install (projected 12+ hours) that ends up stumbling over its own feet saying it can't find or successfully unpack a package.
I even tried the (newer?) "continuation" option on the install and that did not work either.

I really wanted the install on both systems, so I ended up doing the install "manually" on the older machine using the following procedure:

1) Copy the entire C:\texlive area from the successfully installed machine to older machine.
2) Copy the C:\users\...\.texlive2021 area from the newer to the older machine
3) Add C:\texlive\2021\bin\win32 to the path
4) Add shortcut to C:\texlive\2021\bin\win32\texworks.exe to the desktop for convenience.
5) Add dictionaries to the C:\Users\...\.texlive2019\texmf-config\texworks\dictionaries folder by copying across the entire dictionaries folder. (is not there by default, and TexWorks looks for it here).
6) Establish file associations (this would really be the only registry thing for LaTeX other than perhaps some "history" things that happen automatically). For starters, associating .tex with TexWorks seemed to be enough.
7) Establish desired default custom settings in TexWorks like screen font, default dictionary etc. Again more of a convenience thing.

Somewhat unorthodox, but it seems to work just fine.

Anyone else have a similar experience with slower older machines?
Comments on the odd installation method? Did I miss anything?
Any thoughts on why this is necessary?

In any case, I just wanted to document my experience and possible solution if anyone else is having problems.


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