GnuCash on Microsoft Windows
This page collects various notes about running GnuCash on Microsoft Windows.
Q: Which Windows versions are supported?
A: All versions starting with Windows XP are supported. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are supported as well. If you encounter any errors on Windows, please report them through Bugzilla. Not supported is Windows 98 and Windows 2000 (anymore, since 2.3.10). Sorry for that.
Q: Where is the binary installer?
A: The latest versions can be downloaded from the download page on the GnuCash website. Anyone who cares about their data should use the stable version found there. People looking to test new features - at the risk of running into extra bugs - could try the unstable version.
- As it is not so easy to build GnuCash under Windows, a weekly build of the stable branch at http://code.gnucash.org/builds/win32/2.4/ is made available as well to test bugfixes.
- To closely follow development on the unstable branch, which contains new features - and bugs - there are the nightly builds. Expect data loss if you try these though !
Q: Can I change the appearance of GnuCash?
A: Yes. The setup program installs a small tool called "Select Theme", which can be found under the GnuCash group in the Windows Start menu. You can use this to choose a different theme for GnuCash.
Q: What if I need to change another visual aspect, not covered by "Select Theme"?
A: GnuCash depends on the Gtk toolkit for its graphical user interface. There is a file called ".gtkrc-2.0" in your user's home directory which you can adapt to your needs. Your home directory is typically Documentents and Settings\Username or Users\Username depending on your version of Windows.
If this file doesn't exist, the easiest way to create it is to use the "Select Theme" tool as mentioned above. You will have to research on the web for more details though as this is an advanced customization. Just one example though: the toolbar in GnuCash can display its objects as icon-only, text-only or both. To change the default behaviour, you can add this line to the .gtkrc-2.0 file:
gtk-toolbar-style = GTK_TOOLBAR_ICONS
The three possible values are:
Q: Is it possible to compile GnuCash on Windows?
A: Yes. It's cumbersome, but possible. See the instructions on this page.
Q: Are there nightly builds?
A: Most of the time, yes, for the unstable development branch which contains new features (and potentially new bugs) there is an installer from nightly builds at http://code.gnucash.org/builds/win32/master/. Use these builds for testing only, the development branch is not suitable for production use.
There are also weekly builds of the stable maintenance branch at http://code.gnucash.org/builds/win32/maint/ . These builds should be safe to use on production data, though it's wise to ensure that you have a good backup in place just in case of problems.
Q: Anything else?
To avoid making the installer file even bigger, some functionality is not available without further downloads and installations of software.
GnuCash 2.5 and more recent
Everything is done for you by running the "Install Online Price Retrieval" command. You can find this in the Windows start menu under the GnuCash group. This will install Strawberry perl and all the perl modules required to run Finance::Quote.
GnuCash 2.4 and before
These GnuCash releases only work with ActivePerl, which you first have to install manually.
- If you are upgrading from an earlier version of ActivePerl, uninstall the old version and delete its directory before installing the new one.
- Download and install it from ActiveState. ActivePerl versions before 5.16.3 may not deliver the latest version of F::Q (1.18 as of this writing). The 32-bit version is recommended, even on 64-bit Windows, but success has also been achieved running the 64 bit version under Windows XP Pro x64 SP2 with both GC 2.4.11 and 2.4.12(YMMV). If prompted, you don't have to provide contact details, just choose the MSI installer for your system. It is strongly recommended to use the default installation directory.
- Once perl is installed, use the start menu item "Install Online Price Retrieval" from the GnuCash group to install the necessary Perl modules for F::Q and verify the setup.
Because ActivePerl uses their own precompiled perl package manager (PPM) you should - in the case you need to update F::Q - not use the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN). Instead you can use the PPM Index: Finance-Quote to see the state and download the latest ppmx they compiled successful.
GnuCash 2.2.6 and before
Installation is similar to the installation for GnuCash 2.4, except that these releases only work with ActivePerl 5.8 and the menu item is called "Install Finance-Quote".
You are advised to upgrade to a more recent version of GnuCash though, because it's unlikely you can get Finance::Quote to work still on these old releases. You will have a hard time finding a version of ActivePerl 5.8 (unless you pay ActiveState for it), and the version of Finance::Quote that comes with this perl version is outdated.
Error messages, Trace file
In the GnuCash application, all error messages are redirected to a trace file. There will be one trace file for each time GnuCash is run. For a user named "myname" these files are located in the folder
- c:\Documents and Settings\myname\Local Settings\Temp (Windows XP) or
- C:\Users\myname\AppData\Local\Temp (Windows Vista/7).
They are named
- gnucash.trace.ABCDEF (GnuCash 2.2.9 and older) or
- gnucash.trace.ABCDEF.log (GnuCash 2.4.0 and newer)
where the ABCDEF part is changed randomly on each start of gnucash. See also Tracefile.
If you experience crashes or unexpected behavior, check the latest of these files (or the one created when the problem started) and add all interesting-looking lines of that file to your error reports, at least the lines with the keywords WARNing and CRITical warning.
Determining the locale
When asked for the locale, take a look at the Regional Settings in your Control Panel and report the values found for "Standard and Formats", "Location" and "Language for non-Unicode programs".
Problems, issues, comments
For any problem that occurs now, you should add a new section below.
Issues with older versions of GnuCash
In an effort to keep the information somewhat manageable this page will only gather issues with the current stable version of GnuCash. For historical reference, the older issues will be moved to a separate page.
If you experience issues with an older version of GnuCash, the first advice is normally to try again with the current stable version. There may however be situations where you need to revive an older version and in that case the information kept on the older issues page may be useful.
Here is a list of the most often mentioned Windows issues. If you experience this problem, please check the respective bugzilla reports for potential workarounds.
- http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=466512 Win32: Wrong permissions for .gnucash directory (was: Win32 GnuCash 2.2.1 Fails to Start/Install)
- http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=645273#c40 Reports features do not work
Windows 7 64-bit - GnuCash fails to run
This is with GnuCash 2.4.3:
Starting GnuCash shows the splash screen and the tip of the day for a brief instant and then it disappears. To fix the problem, I did:
- Right-click on the GnuCash icon and select 'Run as Administrator'
- GnuCash starts up as expected
- Close GnuCash
After doing the above once, I can start GnuCash normally and it starts up properly.
Hopefully this helps someone. --Sketch 05:05, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
After upgrading to 2.2.1, people have reported font-related issues:
- The tick/check mark in the Reconcile window may look like a "nondescript squiggle"
- Register windows may open with all transactions scrolled out of sight (upwards)
- Languages other than English show characters as a box of four zeros "0 0 0 0".
The reason appears to be that GnuCash is now referring to Windows to determine what fonts to use, and in both these cases is using the one specified for "Message Box", which defaults to Tahoma 8.
Changing to Tahoma 10 fixed both of these for me.
The procedure on WinXP is:
- Start -> Control panel or My Computer -> Control panel
- Appearance and Themes -> Display (or, if using the "Classic View", Display)
- Select "Message Box" from the drop-down
- Change as required (e.g. set to Tacoma 10 point)
Fred 10:30, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
- Is this still necessary when using GnuCash 2.2.2? andi5
I (piyo) confirmed that the above procedure is necessary for viewing Japanese on Windows XP with GnuCash 2.2.3 (2008-01-08):
- Confirmed that working fonts are Arial UI Unicode, FixSys, System, Tahoma (including 8!), Terminal. Also for Japanese, MS P Gothic, MS P Mincho, MS UI Gothic, MS Gothic, MS Mincho fonts are working.
- Confirmed that non-working fonts are Lucida Sans Unicode and Microsoft Sans Serif.
--Piyo 23:23, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Program hangs constantly
According to this bug report GnuCash can become unstable with some themes. The original reporter didn't remember which themes caused issues, but had no problems when using the "Unity" theme.
--GJanssens 18 October 2013
Gnucash fails to start with Failed to contact configuration server
Copied from this bug report:
I installed GnuCash on Windows 7 and at one point I received the following error message
Failed to contact configuration server; some possible causes are that you need to enable TCP/IP networking for ORBit, or you have stale NFS locks due to a system crash. See http://www.gnome.org/projects/gconf/ for information. (Details - 1: IOR file 'C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\gconfd-Username/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: No such file or directory 2: IOR file 'C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\gconfd-Username/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: No such file or directory)
I do not know what caused this error message.
Uninstalling GnuCash, removing an empty gnucash folder in C:\Program Files (x86)\, and reinstalling Gnucash does not restore GnuCash. I.e., same error message was produced.
Cleaning up the windows registry did not help either.
What did work was to remove the folder C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\gconfd-Username/ which did not contain the subdirectory + file lock/ior that is mentioned in the error message.
The folder AppData is hidden (for Windows 7) and needs to be explicitly typed in the folder browser.
And also note that 'Username' should be replaced with your real username in the path (it's in there two times).
--GJanssens 18 October 2013