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Installing GNU Radio with MinGW and MSYS[edit]

NOTE: Many of the versions mentioned in this document are far outdated by now. Some required libraries are no longer required. These instructions are largely centered around old versions of GNU Radio and barely apply to versions newer than 3.3 (which is ancient by any means).

These instructions are for using MinGW and MSYS to install and build GNU Radio software, including USRP TX/RX support, under Windows XP.

NOTE: Do not use Windows folder names with spaces. This means that your default Windows home directory (typically C:/Documents and Settings/user-name/My Documents) should not be used. Your MSYS home directory is a better place to work (unless your user name contains spaces).

You can build and use GNU Radio under MinGW/MSYS and Cygwin on the same system, but you will need separate build directories. It is easiest to have separate home directories and not try to share source code between the two systems.

Installation with MinGW/MSYS requires the following main steps:

  • install Python and Python packages
  • install MinGW and MSYS
  • install prerequisites for GNU Radio
  • install GNU Radio from tarball


  • install GNU Radio from git repository

Install Python and Python Packages[edit]

The recommended version of Python for GNU Radio under MinGW/MSYS is Python 2.6.5. Versions 2.5 and 2.4 can be used if you already have them intalled. Later versions have not been tested. The instructions that follow assume you are using version 2.6.5.

Download Python 2.6.5 Windows installer (from http://www.python.org/download). Double-click python-2.6.5.msi to install. Edit the installation directory if needed; otherwise, the default options can be used.

Download numpy-1.4.1-win32-superpack-python2.6.exe (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/numpy/files). Double-click numpy-1.4.1-win32-superpack-python2.6.exe to install, using default options.

wxPython is not required to build GNU Radio, but many applications use it. To install it, download wxPython2.8-win32-ansi- (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/wxpython/files). Double-click wxPython2.8-win32-ansi- to install. You may need administrator privileges for this step.

Install MinGW and MSYS[edit]

To install MinGW and MSYS you will need to install the base systems then add the latest packages needed for GNU Radio. The following instructions assume that you install MinGW in C:/MinGW and MSYS in C:/msys/1.0.

Note: You can simply use the MinGW GUI installer mingw-get-inst-yyyymmdd.exe available from http://mingw.org/wiki/Getting_Started and choose the following options to install: C++ compiler, Fortran compiler, MSys basic system, MinGW developer tookit. If you do it this way, you have all the packages installed and can jump to "Install Prerequisites for GNU Radio" directly. The installer will install msys under MinGW directory, so you will have something like 'C:/MinGW/msys/1.0/local'. Please adjust the relevant path accordingly in the following.

Install base MinGW and MSYS[edit]

Download MinGW-5.1.6.exe (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files). Double-click on MinGW-5.1.6.exe to run the installer. Select the "Candidate" and "g++ compiler" options.

Download MSYS-1.0.11.exe (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files). Double-click on MSYS-1.0.11.exe to run the installer; use the default settings. Type "y" to continue with post install, "y" when asked if MinGW is installed, and "C:/MinGW" when prompted for the MinGW install directory.

More recent versions of MSYS are available, but automated installers are not yet available for them, and they don't seem to be needed for building GNU Radio.

The MSYS instllation should produce an MSYS icon on your desktop. Double-clicking this icon will start an MSYS shell. All commands given in the following instructions should be entered in an MSYS shell.

MinGW packages[edit]

Download the following packages to C:/MinGW. These can be found at http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files, but the direct links below are faster:

Install each file above with the following commands:

cd /mingw
tar --lzma -xf file

MSYS packages[edit]

Download the following packages to C:/msys/1.0. These can be found at http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw/files, but the direct links below are faster:

Install each file above with the following commands:

cd /
tar --lzma -xf file

Create source directories with the commands:

cd /usr
mkdir src
mkdir local

In Windows, the source directory will be found at C:/msys/1.0/src and the local directory at C:/msys/1.0/local.

@ @

Install Prerequisites for GNU Radio[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, the following packages are required for building GNU Radio:


Download the following files from http://www.gtk.org/download-windows.html "to C:/msys/1.0/local:

and unpack them (into C:/msys/1.0/local) using Windows "Extract All..." or your favorite unzip utility.


swigwin-1.3.40.zip (from http://www.swig.org/download.html) to C:/msys/1.0/local. Extract swigwin-1.3.40.zip to create the folder swigwin-1.3.40. You can move this folder to another location, but the instructions below assume it is in /usr/local (C:/msys/1.0/local).


Follow the instructions in installing FFTW.

Alternatively, you can install the prebuilt DLLs for Windows:
Download fftw-3.2.2.pl1-dll32.zip
Unpack it and create the import library as follows
dlltool -d libfftw3f-3.def -D libfftw3f-3.dll -l libfftw3f-3.a
Then copy the following files:
libfftw3f-3.dll --> C:\msys\1.0\local\bin
libfftw3f-3.a --> C:\msys\1.0\local\lib
fftw3.h --> C:\msys\1.0\local\include
Create the following pkgconfig file fftw3f.pc in C:\msys\1.0\local\lib\pkgconfig

Name: FFTW
Description: Fast Fourier Transform Library
Version: 3.2.2
Libs: -L${libdir} -lfftw3f-3 -lm
Cflags: -I${includedir}


Download cppunit-1.12.0.tar.gz (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/cppunit/files/cppunit/1.12.0) to C:\msys\1.0\src. From an MSYS shell, install it with:

cd /usr/src
tar -zxf cppunit-1.12.0.tar.gz
cd cppunit-1.12.0
./configure --disable-static
make check
make install

Note that attempts to build CppUnit 1.12.1 under MinGW/MSYS fail at the make check step.


Download boost_1_43_0.tar.bz2 (from http://www.boost.org/users/download) to /usr/src (C:/msys/1.0/src) and install it with the commands:

cd /usr/src
tar -jxf boost_1_43_0.tar.bz2
cd boost_1_43_0
./bootstrap.sh --with-toolset=mingw
./bootstrap.sh --with-libraries=thread,date_time,program_options --with-bjam=tools/jam/src/bin.ntx86/bjam
./bjam --prefix=/usr/local link=shared install
mv /usr/local/lib/*boost*.dll /usr/local/bin

Don't be alarmed at how long this takes---Boost is a large library.

  • boost_1_44 and boost_1_45 failed on tar jxf.

GNU Scientific Librry (GSL)[edit]

Download gsl-1.14.tar.gz (from http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl) to C:\msys\1.0\src. From an MSYS shell, install it with:

cd /usr/src
tar -zxf gsl-1.14.tar.gz
cd gsl-1.14
./configure --disable-static
make check
make install


This package is optional. It is needed to build gr-audio-portaudio, which currently works better than gr-audio-windows. See hints, tips, and known problems and solutions for Windows for more information.

To install PortAudio see installing PortAudio.

Small Device C Compiler (SDCC)[edit]

SDCC is not required to build GNU Radio but is needed to use the USRP.

Download sdcc-2.9.0-setup.exe (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/sdcc/files). Double-click on sdcc-2.9.0-setup.exe to install; the default prompts work fine, but only the base tools and the include files are needed. SDCC is installed in C:\Program Files\SDCC. You will be given the option of adding this location to your Windows PATH; you can either do this (once only!) or add /c/Progra~1/SDCC/bin to your MSYS PATH (see PATH environment variable below).

  • Note that sdcc-3.0 does not work.

USB Library for Windows (libusb-win32)[edit]

This is not required to build GNU Radio but is needed to use the USRP.

Download libusb-win32-device-bin- (from http://sourceforge.net/projects/libusb-win32/files) to C:\msys\1.0\src. From an MSYS shell, install it with:

cd /usr/src
tar -zxf libusb-win32-device-bin-
cd libusb-win32-device-bin-
cp include/* /usr/local/include
cp lib/gcc/* /usr/local/lib
cp bin/* /usr/local/bin

NOTE: You must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or at least have hotfix KB838989. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/838989 for more information.

Note: For Windows Vista / Windows 7, you might need the newer version of libusb
Download libusb-win32-bin-
Unpack it and copy the following files:
bin/x86 (you should choose amd64 for 64-bit OS): libusb0.sys libusb0_x86.dll (rename to libusb0.dll) testlibusb-win.exe testlibusb.exe --> /usr/local/bin
include: usb.h --> /usr/local/include
lib/gcc: libusb.a --> /usr/local/lib
Create the following pkgconfig file libusb.pc in /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig

Name: libusb
Description: C API for USB device access from Linux userspace
Libs: -L${libdir} -lusb
Cflags: -I${includedir}

Set PATH Environment Variable[edit]

You need to be sure that the GNU Radio build process can find Python and SWIG. One way to do this is to include them directly in your PATH variable. You can edit the file /etc/profile (i.e., C:\msys\1.0\etc\profile) to include a line like:

export PATH="$PATH:/c/Python26:/usr/local/swigwin-1.3.40:/c/Progra~1/SDCC/bin"

or you can adjust your PATH in ~/.bash_profile. You can also add lines to /etc/profile or ~/.bash_profile to define the path to USRP firmware files and the GNU Radio Python modules:

export USRP_PATH=/usr/local/share/usrp
export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/site-packages

These changes will take effect the next time you start a new MSYS shell.

Another way to make Python and SWIG available is to add scripts in the default PATH to point to the necessary programs. For example, the following script can be placed in /usr/local/bin/swig:

#! /bin/sh
exec /usr/local/swigwin-1.3.40/swig.exe "$@"

The script for python (in /usr/local/bin/python) is a little more complicated:

#! /bin/sh
if test $# -ne 0; then
  exec /c/Python26/python.exe "$@"
  exec /c/Python26/python.exe -i

Install Prerequisites for Gnuradio Companion (GRC) (Optional)[edit]

Download Cheetah-2.4.3.tar.gz to /usr/src

tar zxf Cheetah-2.4.3.tar.gz
cd Cheetah-2.4.3
python setup.py install

Download lxml-2.2.8.win32-py2.6.exe
Double click to install.

Install GTK+
Goto http://www.gtk.org/download/win32.php
Download all of the runtime pakcages (choose the latest version) there and unpack them to corresponding subdirectoies under /usr/local
(You have already done that for glib, pkg-config and gettext earlier.)

Download the following files and double click to install PyGtk, PyCairo and PyGObject

  • Note: In case gnuradio-companion failed to launch with message "Error: options... Failure", include the following in ~/.gnuradio/config.conf

Make sure you use Windows style path name here rather than unix style.

Install libSDL for gr-video-sdl (optional)[edit]

Download SDL-devel-1.2.14-mingw32.tar.gz
Unpack and copy files under directories bin/ include/ lib/ man/ share/ to corresponding directories under /usr/local

Install GNU Radio From Tarball[edit]

NOTE: The following instructions are written for GNU Radio release candidate 3.3.0-rc0. It is expected that they will apply to later candidate releases and to release 3.3.0 when they become available. To build a release other than 3.3.0-rc0, substitute the number of the release wherever 3.3.0-rc0 appears in the following instructions.

Download ["|gnuradio-3.3.0-rc0.tar.gz] (from http://gnuradio.org/releases/gnuradio or ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuradio) to a convenient directory. Note that this directory must not contain spaces in its name. From an MSYS shell, unpack the downloaded file and begin the installation with the commands:

tar -zxf gnuradio-3.3.0-rc0.tar.gz
cd gnuradio-3.3.0-rc0
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/pkgconfig
export CXX="g++ -mthreads"
export CPPFLAGS="-DWINVER=0x0501 -I/usr/local/include"
export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib -lws2_32"
./configure --prefix=C:/msys/1.0/local

With luck, the ./bootstrap command won't be necessary in future releases; don't be surprised if it gives a bunch of warning messages.

The ./configure command should produce a lot of output, ending with a list of components that have been successfully configured and a list of components that were skipped. Check the list of skipped components to see if any that you need are listed; if they are, you will need to examine the output listing and the file config.log to figure out why they were skipped. After correcting the problem, you will need to repeat the ./configure command.

Next, in an MSYS shell, build the GNU Radio software with the command:


Check that everything built properly with:

make check

Install the GNU Radio software with the command:

make install

To run GNU Radio applications you need to have the directories containing Python and for the various DLLs used by GNU Radio in your PATH. You also need to set PYTHONPATH to the directory containing the GNU Radio Python modules.
@ @
In an MSYS shell, your path should already include most or all of the necessary directories. If you do not have a link to Python in /usr/local/bin you will need to have C:/Python26 in your PATH. You can add it with:

export PATH="${PATH}:/c/Python26"

in /etc/profile or ~/.bash_profile or anytime prior to using Python (or you can add it to your Windows PATH). You will also need to specify the path to the GNU Radio Python modules:

export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/site-packages

This can also be done in /etc/profile or ~/.bash_profile.
@ @
In a Windows CMD shell, you need to add several directories to your PATH:

set PATH=%PATH%;C:\Python26;C:\msys\1.0\local\bin;C:\mingw\bin
set PYTHONPATH=C:\msys\1.0\local\lib\site-packages

USRP Driver Installation[edit]

If you have a USRP, you will need to install the driver for it. Refer to [http://gnuradio.org/trac/wiki/USRPWindowsDriverInstall Installing the USRP Driver for
Windows]. However, note that 2 of the 3 files you need are in different
locations than shown in those instructions. Instead, you should use the following copy commands (substituting your top-level GNU Radio directory for gnuradio):

cp /usr/bin/libusb0.* gnuradio/usrp

Then, follow the remaining instructions on the USRP driver install Wiki page.

Your USRP should be ready to go!

Note: If you are on Windows Vista/7, you make sure you use the libusb-win32-bin- version of drivers. (see section libusb-win32 above)

Install GNU Radio From Git Repository[edit]

Install git for windows from http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/
Clone the repository

git clone git://gnuradio.org/gnuradio
cd gnuradio

At the present, the following two changes are necessary:

(1) gruel/src/lib/test_gruel.cc: add the following 3 lines at the beginning of the file


(2) usrp/host/lib/fusb_win32.cc: add #include<cstdio> at the beginning of the file.

Then follow exactly the same procedure as Install GNU Radio From Tarball.

Build Gnuradio with UHD[edit]

With UHD we can use all USRPs on windows, which is a nice feature we have been waiting for long.
First we need to build UHD from source.

Build UHD[edit]

  • Note that the binary package UHD-xxx-win32.exe does not work with MinGW. MinGW will not be able to use the uhd.dll prebuilt with MSVC.

Therefore, we need to build UHD from source.


CMake: download the binary windows zip file http://www.cmake.org/files/v2.8/cmake-2.8.5-win32-x86.zip
Unzip and copy bin/ and share/ to under /usr/local/
Boost: UHD needs 7 libraries: thread,date_time,program_options,filesystem,system,test,regex. Build similarly as before, but with additional libraries

./bootstrap.sh --with-toolset=mingw
./bootstrap.sh --with-libraries=thread,date_time,program_options,filesystem,system,test,regex --with-bjam=tools/jam/src/bin.ntx86/bjam
./bjam --prefix=/usr/local link=shared install
mv /usr/local/lib/*boost*.dll /usr/local/bin

LibUSB: for USRP1, we need libusb-1.0. Download binary from http://libusb-winusb-wip.googlecode.com/files/libusb_2011.07.20.7z
unzip and copy include/ to /usr/local/include/, MinGW32/dll/libusb-1.0.dll to /usr/local/bin/, MinGW32/dll/libusb-1.0.dll.a to /usr/local/lib/
create libusb-1.0.pc in /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig/


Name: libusb-1.0
Description: C API for USB device access from Linux userspace
Libs: -L${libdir} -lusb-1.0
Cflags: -I${includedir}/libusb-1.0

Cheetah: please refer to building GRC section if you have not done it.

Build UHD[edit]

git clone git@github.com:EttusResearch/uhd.git
cd uhd

At time of writing, you need to modify host/lib/transport/CMakeLists.txt as follows:
Locate the Setup UDP section, change





cd host
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -G "MSYS Makefiles" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ../
make install

Now UHD should be installed under /usr/local/
Download image files from http://www.ettus.com/downloads/uhd_releases/master_images/
Unzip and put all images under /usr/local/share/uhd/images/
[You could try to set environment variable UHD_IMAGE_PATH=/usr/local/share/uhd/images in case UHD cannot find the images]
For USRP1, download erllc_uhd_winusb_driver.zip from http://www.ettus.com/downloads/uhd_drivers/ and unzip.
Plug in usrp1 and install the driver 'Ettus Research LLC USRP1'
Now you can run uhd_find_devices and uhd_usrp_probe to verify the installation. Make sure the Device Manager shows correct driver for the USRP before and after firmware loading. Particularly, if you installed other usrp drivers before, you need to update the driver twice, before and after firmware loading.

Build Gnuradio with UHD support[edit]

Follow the exact same steps to rebuild Gnuradio. The configure script should recognize you have UHD installed, so it will enable gr-uhd. Then you are ready to go!