Windows installer

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These are the original instructions for installation on Windows of Gramps 3.4.x and earlier

They were written when a Windows user also had to (manually) install various other programs ("dependencies") in order to get Gramps to work.
A much easier way to install Gramps on Windows is to use the "all-in-one" installer, since it has all the needed programs ("bundled"). Download#MS_Windows


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Please update or expand this section.

Because Gramps has been designed and written in multi-platform resources (including Python and GTK), we have created a Windows installer that has been reported to work without any obvious issues.

We do suggest the following:

  • Work with a copy of your main database and keep regular backups in the Gramps XML format.
  • Join the Gramps Users mailing list to share your experiences, especially if you are a developer able to contribute to a Windows port.
  • See also Gramps and Windows for a collection of hints to run Gramps on MS Windows.
  • Report any issues you find to help make Gramps better.


These instructions are specific to the Gramps (minimal) installer, which requires you to independently install Gramps dependencies prior to installing Gramps. Please ignore these instructions if you are using either the Gramps AIO installer or Portable Gramps application.

(The Gramps AIO ("all-in-one") installer contains all the dependencies Gramps needs and many people find it much easier to install Gramps that way. See GrampsAIO for more information.)

When you need to install the dependencies for Gramps there is the easy way and the hard way. You would only use the hard way if you have specific requirements ( such as specific versions ) that are not covered by the easy way.

The essential dependencies that Gramps requires to run are:

  • Python 2.6.x or later (Gramps trunk has been ported to Python 3.x and has different dependancies)
  • GTK runtime
  • GTK python bindings (PyGTK, PyGObject, PyCairo)

Dependencies - The easy way

Select the correct version of Python dependent on your operating system.


The (2011-6-20) minimal installer only came as a 32 bit version, if you are running on a 64 bit operating system select a 32 bit Python installer

For Gramps 3.1.x to 3.4.x
Order Package Name Download Size From Comment
1 Python 2.6.6

or later

python-2.6.6.msi 11 MB Python 2.6 has performance issues for some people.
2 PyGTK-all-in-one PyGTK-all-in-one GTK 2.22 Approx 32M PyGTK Select the version that matches your version of python. Note: while pygtk-all-in-one-2.24.x.win32-py2.x has been released it is recommended to still use pygtk-all-in-one-2.22.6.win32-py2.x due to bugs in gtk version 2.24.

3. Install Gramps for Windows. You can download the most recent stable version from SourceForge.

Dependencies - The hard way

1. Close any gtk-based applications that are running, such as the GIMP or Pidgin. See Common Problems below.

2. Install the packages in the following order:

For Gramps 3.1.x to 3.4.x
Order Package Name Download Size From Comment
1 Python 2.6.6

or later

python-2.6.6.msi 11 MB Python 2.6 has performance issues for some people.
2 GTK+ 2.16.6 or later GTK+ 2.16.6 7MB gtk-win From Gramps 3.2.0 onwards, Glade is no longer a requirement for Gramps. The windows GTK runtime listed here is a viable alternative to the gtk-dev package. Note: If you receive a "libglib-2.0-0.dll not found" error in step 6, you will need to rerun the GTK installer and select "Compatibility DLLs" when installing.
3 pygtk 2.16.0

or later

pygtk-2.16.0.win32-py2.6.exe 1.9 MB See Common Problems and Note below. "Run as admin" on Vista & later.
4 pygobject 2.20.0

or later

pygobject-2.20.0.win32-py2.6.exe 163 KB "Run as admin" on Vista & later.
5 pycairo 1.4.12

or later

pycairo-1.4.12-2.win32-py2.6.exe 86 KB "Run as admin" on Vista & later.
6 Validate Install NA NA NA

The following recommendations are for the validation of the proper installation of the above listed Gramps software prerequisites.

After installing the items above on a VISTA 64 bit Ultimate System; Gramps could not locate any of the above software except for Python. This caused the installer to not install Gramps.

After some time researching the issue I found the solution to my problem in a post by "steve geo at".

NOTE: These steps should validate an installation on XP, Vista and Windows 7 with the caveat that the command window on Vista and Windows 7 should be opened using the "Run as Administrator" (Set your mouse pointer over the command prompt icon and right-click your mouse button to display the menu. Click on the "Run as Administrator" item.)

1. Open up command window (see note above)

2. If you installed the gtk-runtime software in

   row 2 above (SKIP to ahead to 3.)
   Type gtk-demo and press the enter key.
      a) If the gtk demo program does not load 
         then it is likely you do not have the
         gtk bin directory in your path correctly.
         (Add your installation directory to your
          path environment variable) 

3. Change to the directory where you installed the

   Python application.  By default it is likely 
   installed at C:\Python26.  Once in this folder type 
   python and press the enter key
      a) Your command window should show you information 
         about the version of Python installed on your 
         computer and your prompt should be different 
         and will likely look like ">>>"
      b) If you do not have a 
         "drive:\[your python install directory]" you 
         should run the python installation program.  
      c) If your prompt does not change.  Re-install 
         python and watch closely for errors or a 
         different drive and directory for the installation.  

4. At the Python prompt - likely ">>>"

    a) import pygtk
    b) import gtk
    c) import gobject
 The above items should complete without errors.

5. If you are updating from a prevous GTK version, make sure you have "Graphviz" folder path AFTER the "GTK2 runtime 2.16" folder. It should look like this (in this order) PATH=... C:\Program files\GTK2 Runtime\bin;C:\Program files\Graphviz2.26\bin;C:\Program files\GS\GS8.64\bin. If "Graphviz" is located before "GTK2 Runtime 2.16" in the PATH folder order Gramps will not start.

6. Reboot your computer. After reboot run Gramps install.

Optional Graphviz graphviz-2.26.msi 31 MB Needed to be able to generate relationship graphs (single page PDFs only)
Optional GhostScript gs864w32.exe 11.9 MB Needed to be able to generate PDFs through Ghostscript (multiple pages PDFs) Need to add manually gs\gs8.64\bin folder to system path!

Note: For Gramps 3.0.x and earlier use:

3. Re-boot the computer after installing the above dependencies, prior to installing Gramps.

4. Install Gramps for Windows. You can download the most recent stable version from SourceForge.

Common problems

Installer complains pygtk is missing

This is a very common error to see when all dependencies are not installed or installed correctly. Please make sure that each of the packages required have installed correctly, and re-boot the computer prior to running the Gramps installer. We often see users attempting to use other packages to satisfy these requirements that omit something necessary (e.g., glade) which produce this error.

In rare occasions, the installer will complain that pygtk is not installed even though everything is correct. Canceling and re-running the installer seems to fix this problem, although if it happens repeatedly, the error is the more severe situation discussed above. (Anyone know why? Please tell us on the gramps-windows email list.)

GTK+ installer error

If you already have GTK+ installed, perhaps because you have installed The GIMP, Pidgin, or Gnu Cash, the GTK+ installer will not be able to write to some files if one of those applications is running. If you see errors with the GTK+ installer, select Cancel, shut down the other GTK+ applications and run the installer again. (This issue has been reported as GTK+ Installer doesn't handle locked files well to the kind people who make the GTK+ installer for windows.)

ImportError: DLL load failed:

This error is becoming increasingly common on recent GTK+/Windows combinations. Gramps does not have DLL's itself, it is usually caused by one of Gramps dependencies (Most likely Gtk+ runtime, not finding a required dependency). As this issue is more complicated to diagnose we have another page ImportError: DLL load failed dedicated to discussing the issue.

Hang when started

In some environments Gramps may be unresponsive after displaying its window after being started, particularly after the first time. This can be worked around by running Gramps via a BAT file which first sets GRAMPSHOME to an accessible directory, as discussed on the Gramps and Windows page.

Additional plugins

There are some features of Gramps that need additional programs to work. There are several different kinds of reports, and the following features need extra configuration to work on Windows.

  • The Relationship Graph reports (both graph and code output formats) need an installation of Graphviz. There is a bug in the current stable release, see this example.
  • The Relationship Graph can not use PDF as output format unless there is an installation of Ghostscript. After installation, if gswin32.exe or gswin32c.exe is in the path, PDF should appear as one of the formats in the graphical Relationship Graph report.
  • Spell-checking:
    1. For spell-checking to work you first need Enchant library and python bindings PyEnchant. Enchant appears to be a generic spell checking library. You can request dictionaries from it, ask if a word is correctly spelled, get corrections for a misspelled word, etc... PyEnchant is a set of language bindings and some wrapper classes to make the excellent Enchant spellchecker available as a Python module. Both are available for windows as single setup file:
    2. Secondly you need PyGTKSpell from gnome-python-extras which is bindings allowing to run Python programs using the GtkSpell library, that extends GTK+'s GtkTextView widget with support for spell-checking. Depending of yours Python version download and install one of these:
    3. To install additional dictionaries read tutorial on PyEnchant site:
  • GeoView needs WebKit and python-WebKit.

Experimental versions are available for tests with python 2.6 under Windows.


When this minimal Windows installer was first written, there was no intent to package all the dependencies and the Gramps package into one installer. It is very complex to coordinate dependencies between Gramps and these other projects. It also means a single 30+ MB download every version change. However, later such a package was created and many people find it easier than personally installing all the dependencies; see GrampsAIO for more information.

There have been discussions about trying to install compiled distillations (dynamic link libraries) of these core dependencies to avoid having to install the entire Python and GTK environment, but this work never progressed beyond discussion. For more about this and other Windows issues, see the email list(List gone) archive.

On Windows Vista you will need to save the executable using "save as" and run it as administrator, otherwise the programs will not be able to write to the registry on installation. To do that right click the saved file and choose "run as administrator".

See also