TeX Live on Windows


Easy install

When installing from the internet, we recommend downloading and running install-tl-windows.exe.

This installer first unpacks itself and then starts the installer proper, which is the same as for other platforms. An ‘Advanced’ button gives you many additional customization options.

When successful, the installer tries to do the post-install things that are considered appropriate on Windows:

The TeX Live Manager GUI mentioned above can be used to add or remove packages, and to keep the installation up to date.

Note. For Cygwin installations, see the Unix/Linux page.

Other options

Command-line options: There are many installer options which can be invoked by using the command-line instead of double-clicking the installer, such as automated installation with pre-selected options, or specifying a specific repository, or specifying text mode. See the full documentation.

Other ways to obtain TeX Live: You may have obtained a TeX Live DVD. In this case, the file to run is D:\texlive\install-tl-windows.bat, if D: is your DVD-drive. If you downloaded the ISO, you'll find the installer file ‘install-tl-windows.bat’ in the root of the virtual DVD.

With the DVD or the ISO you can install TeX Live without access to the internet.

64- and 32-bit binaries

As of TeX Live 2023, the Windows binaries are 64-bit. 32-bit binaries are not included, since we cannot easily support both together.

If you still are on a 32-bit system, you have to resort to the 2022 release, which is available from ftp://tug.org/tex/texlive/historic/2022. (See the historic page for access via https and rsync mirrors.) There you can download an iso of TeX Live 2022. Alternatively, to get the final rather than the initial release, download ftp://tug.org/tex/texlive/historic/2022/tlnet-final/install-tl-windows.exe and invoke this file from a command line with

install-tl-windows -repository ftp://tug.org/tex/texlive/historic/2022/tlnet-final

From Windows 11 onward, Windows on ARM supports emulation of 64-bit AMD/Intel and can use the current TeX Live. However, Windows 10 on ARM cannot emulate Intel/AMD 64-bit, and will therefore also need a 32-bit TeX Live.

For users of Windows XP, the 2017 edition is the last one which they still can use.

Perl and Tcl/Tk on Windows

On Windows, TeX Live includes a minimal Perl setup. It is sufficient for running the TeX Live infrastructure programs written in Perl, such as the installer and tlmgr, but it is not sufficient to run every Perl script, not even all Perl scripts from TeX Live packages. It is not feasible to satisfy all those dependencies.

Therefore, if you need to run other Perl scripts and the included Perl does not have all the modules, you need to install a full Perl distribution.

On Windows, TeX Live also contains a basic Tcl/Tk distribution, for running the default installer GUI and the tlshell front end of tlmgr.

Neither the included Perl nor the included Tcl/Tk announce their presence to the operating system: they are not added to the searchpath and no file associations are created for them. Therefore, they should not get in the way of a full install of Perl or Tcl/Tk.

Multiple TeX distributions

Only one TeX distribution can be active at a time, because all the TeX distributions use the search path to find their programs. This means that to switch from one TeX to another, e.g., between TeX Live and MiKTeX if you have both installed, you must (at least) change the search path.

However, the individual shortcuts – including a command prompt – have a modified searchpath with TeX Live in front, so as long as you use TeX Live via the menu, you should be fine.


It is especially important to be careful when processing untrusted documents on Windows, because in general Windows finds programs in the current directory before anything else, regardless of the search path. This opens up a wide variety of possible attacks.

Thus, we recommend checking for suspicious files in the current directory, especially executables (binaries or scripts). Ordinarily they should not be present, and definitely should not normally be created by merely processing a document.

Although the core TeX programs are robust, to the best of our knowledge, third-party programs may not reach the same level. For maximum safety, we recommend using a new subdirectory for processing.

Administrator privileges

Administrator privileges are not automatic even when you run as administrator. If you really want to install for all users, then:

Similarly, for TeX Live manager and a multi-user install, take care to start tlmgr, the command-line version of TeX Live Manager, from an administrative command-prompt. But the TeX Live Manager GUI tlshell will automatically pop up a UAC prompt to acquire administrator privileges if it needs them.

Network installations and the TeX Live launcher

TeX Live is designed for shared use: you can install TeX Live on a network for use on client workstations. All it takes is adding TeX Live to the searchpath.

However, this is not enough to conform to Windows conventions: double-clicking a file should open it in the right program, there should be menu shortcuts, and the user does not want to worry about modifying the searchpath.

The TeX Live Launcher takes care of the Windows-specific items in case TeX Live is already present, e.g. on a network share. Configuration takes place when a user runs the launcher for the first time, and Start menu shortcuts are replaced with controls within the launcher itself. The launcher uses an ini file for its configuration.

The launcher is present since the 2016 release of TeX Live. The 2017 release added the option to make the installation launcher-based, and the included tlaunchmode script can convert a local installation between classic mode and launcher mode.

Full documentation is available on CTAN.

Fixing permission problems, especially with texmf-local

In a multi-user installation with a pre-existing texmf-local, the files in this folder may have become unreachable after installing TeX Live 2020. The problem in the installer has been fixed and is no longer present in the 2021 installer. But if you are bitten by this, you can solve the problem as follows:

Non-ascii characters in TEXDIR

Do not install TeX Live in a directory with non-ascii characters on its path. Note that you do not normally need admin privileges to create a new directory in the root of the C:-drive.

Windows 11 may create a problem for people who must or prefer to install TeX Live somewhere under their user profile, i.e. Windows-speak for home. On installation of Windows, users are forced to create a Microsoft account. Their user profile will be derived from their account name, and may inherit any non-ascii characters in it.

You may prevent this from happening by creating your installation stick with Rufus, which lets you bypass the creation of a Microsoft account. Or you can afterwards create a new account with a user profile name of your own choosing, and abandon the original account.

An alternative is to create an ascii-only symlink for your user profile, as proposed by Akira Kakuto in https://tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/2023-November/049634.html:

  1. open a command prompt window as administrator
  2. go to c:\Users:
    cd /d c:\Users
  3. create a symbolic link of username:
    mklink /D newname username
    Here, newname is a name with only 7bit ascii characters and no spaces.
  4. Run the TeX Live installer, creating a TEXDIR under the symbolic link rather than under the user profile. Run the installer in text mode (option -gui text), since the GUI directory browser may replace the symbolic link with the original directory name.
  5. Occasionally, your personal TeX Live directories may come into play. You can handle these with the following environment variables:

Troubleshooting other problems

Here are some things you can try:

$Date: 2024/02/29 09:36:59 $; TeX Live;
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