Windows (MSYS2)

Building using MSYS2

MSYS2 is the legacy build system for Windows due to KiCad’s historical roots. KiCad has switched to MSVC (Microsoft Visual Studio) from version 6.0 and onwards for development and releases. Building via MSYS2 is still possible but does not receive a high level of attention.


The MSYS2 project provides packages for all of the require dependencies to build KiCad. To setup the MSYS2 build environment, download and run the MSYS2 64-bit Installer available from the msys2 home page. After the installer is finished, update to the latest package versions by running the msys2_shell.cmd file located in the MSYS2 install path and running the command pacman -Syu. If the msys2-runtime package is updated, close the shell and run msys2_shell.cmd.


The following commands assume you are building for 64-bit Windows, and that you already have the KiCad source code in a folder called kicad-source in your home directory. See below for changes if you need to build for 32-bit instead. Run mingw64.exe from the MSYS2 install path. At the command prompt run the the following commands:

pacman -S base-devel \
          git \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-doxygen \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-python2 \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-pkg-config \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-swig \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-boost \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-cairo \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-glew \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-curl \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-wxPython \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-wxmsw3.2 \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-glm \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-opencascade \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-ngspice \
          mingw-w64-x86_64-zlib \
cd kicad-source
mkdir -p build/release
mkdir build/debug               # Optional for debug build.
cd build/release
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
      -G "MSYS Makefiles" \
      -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/mingw64 \
      -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/mingw64 \
      -DDEFAULT_INSTALL_PATH=/mingw64 \
      -DOCC_INCLUDE_DIR=/mingw64/include/opencascade \
make -j N install   # Where N is the number of concurrent threads that your system can handle.

For 32-bit builds, run mingw32.exe and change x86_64 to i686 in the package names and change the paths in the cmake configuration from /mingw64 to /mingw32.

msys2 has deprecated 32-bit support due to cygwin, it’s upstream dependency eliminating 32-bit support.

For debug builds, run the cmake command with -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug from the build/debug folder.

MSYS2 with CLion

KiCad in combiation with MSYS2 can be configured to be used with CLion to provide a nice IDE experience.

Toolchain Setup

First you must register MSYS2 as a toolchain, or namely, the compiler.

File > Preferences to open the Settings window.

Navigate to Build, Execution, Development and then the Toolchains page.

Add a new toolchain, and configure it as such

  • Name: MSYS2-MinGW64

  • Environment Path: <your msys2 install folder>\mingw64\

  • CMake: <your msys2 install folder>\mingw64\bin\cmake.exe

All other fields will become automatically populated.

Project Setup

File > Open and select the folder containing the kicad source. CLion may attempt to start CMake generation and fail, this is ok.

Open the Settings window again. Navigate to Build, Execution, Development and then the CMake page. These settings are saved to the project.

You want to create a Debug configuration as such

  • Name: Debug-MSYS2

  • Build-Type: Debug

  • Toolchain: MSYS2-MinGW64

  • CMake options:

-G "MinGW Makefiles"
  • Build-directory: build/debug-msys2

You may now trigger the "Reload CMake Cache" option in CLion to generate the cmake project You should delete the "junk" build folder (usually name cmake-build-debug-xxxx) it may have created in the source before it was changed above. We change the build folder because we have a gitignore for /build

Warning: Receiving warning messages about Boost versions is normal.

Known MSYS2 Build Issues

There are some known issues that are specific to MSYS2. This section provides a list of the currently known issues when building KiCad using MSYS2.

wxwidgets 3.1

You get an error that wxwidgets 3.1 is not found

pacman -R mingw-w64-x86_64-wxwidgets
rm -rf build/release    # change to your cmake cache folder
pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-wxmsw3.1