18.1. Building with Visual C++ or the Microsoft Windows SDK

PostgreSQL can be built using the Visual C++ compiler suite from Microsoft. These compilers can be either from Visual Studio, Visual Studio Express or some versions of the Microsoft Windows SDK. If you do not already have a Visual Studio environment set up, the easiest ways are to use the compilers from Visual Studio 2022 or those in the Windows SDK 10, which are both free downloads from Microsoft.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are possible with the Microsoft Compiler suite. 32-bit PostgreSQL builds are possible with Visual Studio 2013 to Visual Studio 2022, as well as standalone Windows SDK releases 8.1a to 10. 64-bit PostgreSQL builds are supported with Microsoft Windows SDK version 8.1a to 10 or Visual Studio 2013 and above. Compilation is supported down to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 when building with Visual Studio 2013 to Visual Studio 2022.

The tools for building using Visual C++ or Platform SDK are in the src\tools\msvc directory. When building, make sure there are no tools from MinGW or Cygwin present in your system PATH. Also, make sure you have all the required Visual C++ tools available in the PATH. In Visual Studio, start the Visual Studio Command Prompt. If you wish to build a 64-bit version, you must use the 64-bit version of the command, and vice versa. Starting with Visual Studio 2017 this can be done from the command line using VsDevCmd.bat, see -help for the available options and their default values. vsvars32.bat is available in Visual Studio 2015 and earlier versions for the same purpose. From the Visual Studio Command Prompt, you can change the targeted CPU architecture, build type, and target OS by using the vcvarsall.bat command, e.g., vcvarsall.bat x64 10.0.10240.0 to target Windows 10 with a 64-bit release build. See -help for the other options of vcvarsall.bat. All commands should be run from the src\tools\msvc directory.

Before you build, you can create the file config.pl to reflect any configuration options you want to change, or the paths to any third party libraries to use. The complete configuration is determined by first reading and parsing the file config_default.pl, and then apply any changes from config.pl. For example, to specify the location of your Python installation, put the following in config.pl:

$config->{python} = 'c:\python310';

You only need to specify those parameters that are different from what's in config_default.pl.

If you need to set any other environment variables, create a file called buildenv.pl and put the required commands there. For example, to add the path for bison when it's not in the PATH, create a file containing:

$ENV{PATH}=$ENV{PATH} . ';c:\some\where\bison\bin';

To pass additional command line arguments to the Visual Studio build command (msbuild or vcbuild):


18.1.1. Requirements

The following additional products are required to build PostgreSQL. Use the config.pl file to specify which directories the libraries are available in.

Microsoft Windows SDK

If your build environment doesn't ship with a supported version of the Microsoft Windows SDK it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version (currently version 10), available for download from https://www.microsoft.com/download.

You must always include the Windows Headers and Libraries part of the SDK. If you install a Windows SDK including the Visual C++ Compilers, you don't need Visual Studio to build. Note that as of Version 8.0a the Windows SDK no longer ships with a complete command-line build environment.

ActiveState Perl

ActiveState Perl is required to run the build generation scripts. MinGW or Cygwin Perl will not work. It must also be present in the PATH. Binaries can be downloaded from https://www.activestate.com (Note: version 5.8.3 or later is required, the free Standard Distribution is sufficient).

The following additional products are not required to get started, but are required to build the complete package. Use the config.pl file to specify which directories the libraries are available in.

ActiveState TCL

Required for building PL/Tcl (Note: version 8.4 is required, the free Standard Distribution is sufficient).

Bison and Flex

Bison and Flex are required to build from Git, but not required when building from a release file. Only Bison 1.875 or versions 2.2 and later will work. Flex must be version 2.5.31 or later.

Both Bison and Flex are included in the msys tool suite, available from http://www.mingw.org/wiki/MSYS as part of the MinGW compiler suite.

You will need to add the directory containing flex.exe and bison.exe to the PATH environment variable in buildenv.pl unless they are already in PATH. In the case of MinGW, the directory is the \msys\1.0\bin subdirectory of your MinGW installation directory.


The Bison distribution from GnuWin32 appears to have a bug that causes Bison to malfunction when installed in a directory with spaces in the name, such as the default location on English installations C:\Program Files\GnuWin32. Consider installing into C:\GnuWin32 or use the NTFS short name path to GnuWin32 in your PATH environment setting (e.g., C:\PROGRA~1\GnuWin32).


Diff is required to run the regression tests, and can be downloaded from http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net.


Gettext is required to build with NLS support, and can be downloaded from http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net. Note that binaries, dependencies and developer files are all needed.

MIT Kerberos

Required for GSSAPI authentication support. MIT Kerberos can be downloaded from https://web.mit.edu/Kerberos/dist/index.html.

libxml2 and libxslt

Required for XML support. Binaries can be downloaded from https://zlatkovic.com/pub/libxml or source from http://xmlsoft.org. Note that libxml2 requires iconv, which is available from the same download location.


Required for supporting LZ4 compression. Binaries and source can be downloaded from https://github.com/lz4/lz4/releases.


Required for supporting Zstandard compression. Binaries and source can be downloaded from https://github.com/facebook/zstd/releases.


Required for SSL support. Binaries can be downloaded from https://slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html or source from https://www.openssl.org.


Required for UUID-OSSP support (contrib only). Source can be downloaded from http://www.ossp.org/pkg/lib/uuid/.


Required for building PL/Python. Binaries can be downloaded from https://www.python.org.


Required for compression support in pg_dump and pg_restore. Binaries can be downloaded from https://www.zlib.net.

18.1.2. Special Considerations for 64-Bit Windows

PostgreSQL will only build for the x64 architecture on 64-bit Windows, there is no support for Itanium processors.

Mixing 32- and 64-bit versions in the same build tree is not supported. The build system will automatically detect if it's running in a 32- or 64-bit environment, and build PostgreSQL accordingly. For this reason, it is important to start the correct command prompt before building.

To use a server-side third party library such as Python or OpenSSL, this library must also be 64-bit. There is no support for loading a 32-bit library in a 64-bit server. Several of the third party libraries that PostgreSQL supports may only be available in 32-bit versions, in which case they cannot be used with 64-bit PostgreSQL.

18.1.3. Building

To build all of PostgreSQL in release configuration (the default), run the command:


To build all of PostgreSQL in debug configuration, run the command:

build DEBUG

To build just a single project, for example psql, run the commands:

build psql
build DEBUG psql

To change the default build configuration to debug, put the following in the buildenv.pl file:


It is also possible to build from inside the Visual Studio GUI. In this case, you need to run:

perl mkvcbuild.pl

from the command prompt, and then open the generated pgsql.sln (in the root directory of the source tree) in Visual Studio.

18.1.4. Cleaning and Installing

Most of the time, the automatic dependency tracking in Visual Studio will handle changed files. But if there have been large changes, you may need to clean the installation. To do this, simply run the clean.bat command, which will automatically clean out all generated files. You can also run it with the dist parameter, in which case it will behave like make distclean and remove the flex/bison output files as well.

By default, all files are written into a subdirectory of the debug or release directories. To install these files using the standard layout, and also generate the files required to initialize and use the database, run the command:

install c:\destination\directory

If you want to install only the client applications and interface libraries, then you can use these commands:

install c:\destination\directory client

18.1.5. Running the Regression Tests

To run the regression tests, make sure you have completed the build of all required parts first. Also, make sure that the DLLs required to load all parts of the system (such as the Perl and Python DLLs for the procedural languages) are present in the system path. If they are not, set it through the buildenv.pl file. To run the tests, run one of the following commands from the src\tools\msvc directory:

vcregress check
vcregress installcheck
vcregress plcheck
vcregress contribcheck
vcregress modulescheck
vcregress ecpgcheck
vcregress isolationcheck
vcregress bincheck
vcregress recoverycheck

To change the schedule used (default is parallel), append it to the command line like:

vcregress check serial

For more information about the regression tests, see Chapter 33.

Running the regression tests on client programs, with vcregress bincheck, or on recovery tests, with vcregress recoverycheck, requires an additional Perl module to be installed:


As of this writing, IPC::Run is not included in the ActiveState Perl installation, nor in the ActiveState Perl Package Manager (PPM) library. To install, download the IPC-Run-<version>.tar.gz source archive from CPAN, at https://metacpan.org/release/IPC-Run, and uncompress. Edit the buildenv.pl file, and add a PERL5LIB variable to point to the lib subdirectory from the extracted archive. For example:

$ENV{PERL5LIB}=$ENV{PERL5LIB} . ';c:\IPC-Run-0.94\lib';

The TAP tests run with vcregress support the environment variables PROVE_TESTS, that is expanded automatically using the name patterns given, and PROVE_FLAGS. These can be set on a Windows terminal, before running vcregress:

set PROVE_FLAGS=--timer --jobs 2
set PROVE_TESTS=t/020*.pl t/010*.pl

It is also possible to set up those parameters in buildenv.pl:

$ENV{PROVE_FLAGS}='--timer --jobs 2'
$ENV{PROVE_TESTS}='t/020*.pl t/010*.pl'

Some of the TAP tests depend on a set of external commands that would optionally trigger tests related to them. Each one of those variables can be set or unset in buildenv.pl:


Path to a gzip command. The default is gzip, which will search for a command by that name in the configured PATH.


Path to a lz4 command. The default is lz4, which will search for a command by that name in the configured PATH.


Path to a tar command. The default is tar, which will search for a command by that name in the configured PATH.


Path to a zstd command. The default is zstd, which will search for a command by that name in the configured PATH.