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Preparing Windows build environment

To start developing PyWavelets code on Windows you will have to install a C compiler and prepare the build environment.

Installing Windows SDK C/C++ compiler

Depending on your Python version, a different version of the Microsoft Visual C++ compiler will be required to build extensions. The same compiler that was used to build Python itself should be used.

For official binary builds of Python 2.6 to 3.2, this will be VS 2008. Python 3.3 and 3.4 were compiled with VS 2010, and for Python 3.5 it will be MSVC 2015.

The MSVC version should be printed when starting a Python REPL, and can be checked against the note below:


For reference:

  • the MSC v.1500 in the Python version string is Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 (Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0 with msvcr90.dll runtime)
  • MSC v.1600 is MSVC 2010 (10.0 with msvcr100.dll runtime)
  • MSC v.1700 is MSVC 2012 (11.0)
  • MSC v.1800 is MSVC 2013 (12.0)
  • MSC v.1900 is MSVC 2015 (14.0)
Python 2.7.3 (default, Apr 10 2012, 23:31:26) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win32
Python 3.2 (r32:88445, Feb 20 2011, 21:30:00) [MSC v.1500 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32

To get started first download, extract and install Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 from

There are several ISO images on the site, so just grab the one that is suitable for your platform:

  • GRMSDK_EN_DVD.iso for 32-bit x86 platform
  • GRMSDKX_EN_DVD.iso for 64-bit AMD64 platform (AMD64 is the codename for 64-bit CPU architecture, not the processor manufacturer)

After installing the SDK and before compiling the extension you have to configure some environment variables.

For 32-bit build execute the util/setenv_build32.bat script in the cmd window:

rem Configure the environment for 32-bit builds.
rem Use "vcvars32.bat" for a 32-bit build.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin\vcvars32.bat"
rem Convince to use the SDK tools.
set MSSdk=1
setenv /x86 /release

For 64-bit use util/setenv_build64.bat:

rem Configure the environment for 64-bit builds.
rem Use "vcvars32.bat" for a 32-bit build.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin\vcvars64.bat"
rem Convince to use the SDK tools.
set MSSdk=1
setenv /x64 /release

See also

MinGW C/C++ compiler

MinGW distribution can be downloaded from

In order to change the settings and use MinGW as the default compiler, edit or create a Distutils configuration file c:\Python2*\Lib\distutils\distutils.cfg and place the following entry in it:

compiler = mingw32

You can also take a look at Cython’s “Installing MinGW on Windows” page at for more info.


Python 2.7/3.2 distutils package is incompatible with the current version (4.7+) of MinGW (MinGW dropped the -mno-cygwin flag, which is still passed by distutils).

To use MinGW to compile Python extensions you have to patch the distutils/ library module and remove every occurrence of -mno-cygwin.

See bug report for more information on the issue.

Next steps

After completing these steps continue with Installing build dependencies.