A quick setup guide for Win32 and Win64 with recommended configuration.
Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you should strictly follow the recommendations below. They are known to work and if the build breaks, please re-read this guide carefully.
Known traps are:
PowerShell 2.0 or later is required for building Wireshark and the NSIS package. Windows 7 and later include compatible versions. It is also required by Chocolatey.
If you are running Windows Vista and have thus far managed to not install PowerShell 2.0, either directly or via anything that requires it, you must now install PowerShell 2.0. You can download it from https://www.microsoft.com/powershell
You need to install, in exactly this order:
Uncheck all the optional components (unless you want to use them for purposes other than Wireshark).
You can use Chocolatey to install Visual Studio:
PS$>choco install VisualStudioCommunity2013
You can use other Microsoft C compiler variants, but VS2013 is used to build the development releases and is the preferred option. It’s possible to compile Wireshark with a wide range of Microsoft C compiler variants. For details see Section 4.6, “Microsoft compiler toolchain (Windows native)”.
You may have to do this as Administrator.
Compiling with gcc or Clang is not recommended and will certainly not work (at least not without a lot of advanced tweaking). For further details on this topic, see Section 4.5, “GNU compiler toolchain (UNIX only)”. This may change in future as releases of Visual Studio add more cross-platform support.
Why is this recommended? While this is a huge download, Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition is the only free (as in beer) versions that includes the Visual Studio integrated debugger. Visual Studio 2013 is also used to create official Wireshark builds, so it will likely have fewer development-related problems.
For VS2010 You will need some extra items:
Windows SDK for Windows 7, if you want to build 64-bit binaries for Windows 7: Download and install "Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7."
In case the install of the SDK fails go to software management and remove the VC++ 2010 runtime and redist packages (don’t worry, they will be added back via the service pack later). If installation of the SDK still fails, there may be a permission problem. See here for a solution.
The main Wireshark application uses the Qt windowing toolkit. To install Qt download the Qt Online Installer for Windows from the Qt Project "Download Open Source" page and select a component that matches your target system and compiler. For example, the “msvc2013 64-bit” component is used to build the official 64-bit packages.
Note that separate installations (into different directories) of Qt
are required for 32 bit and 64 bit builds. The environment variable
QT5_BASE_DIR should be set as appropriate for your environment and
should point to the Qt directory that contains the bin directory, e.g.
At the "Select Packages" page, you’ll need to select some additional packages which are not installed by default. Navigate to the required Category/Package row and, if the package has a "Skip" item in the "New" column, click on the "Skip" item so it shows a version number for:
You might also have to install
if installing Devel/bison doesn’t provide a working version of Bison. If m4 is missing bison will fail.
After clicking the Next button several times, the setup will then download and install the selected packages (this may take a while).
Why is this recommended? Cygwin’s bash version is required, as no native Win32 version is available. As additional packages can easily be added, Perl and other packages are also used.
Alternatively you can install Cygwin and its packages using Chocolatey:
PS$>choco install cygwin PS$>choco install cyg-get //PS$>choco install sed asciidoc [...] -source cygwin
Chocolatey installs Cygwin in C:\tools\cygwin by default.
You can directly download packages via cyg-get
PS$>cyg-get asciidoc patch docbook-xml45 [...]
You can use Chocolatey’s Win flex-bison packages rather than the Cygwin Bison and Flex package:
PS$>choco install winflexbison
Get the Python 3.5 or 2.7 installer from http://python.org/download/ and install Python into the default location (C:\Python35 or C:\Python27).
Why is this recommended? Cygwin’s
/usr/bin/python is a Cygwin-specific
symbolic link which cannot be run from Windows. The native package is faster
Alternatively you can install Python using Chocolatey:
PS$>choco install python3
PS$>choco install python2
Chocolatey installs Python in C:\tools\python3 and C:\tools\python2 by default.
Please note that the following is not required to build Wireshark but can be quite helpful when working with the sources.
Working with the Git source repositories is highly recommended, see Section 3.3, “Obtain the Wireshark sources”. It is much easier to update a personal source tree (local repository) with Git rather than downloading a zip file and merging new sources into a personal source tree by hand. It also makes first-time setup easy and enables the Wireshark build process to determine your current source code revision.
There are several ways in which Git can be installed. Most packages are available at the URLs below or via Chocolatey. Note that many of the GUI interfaces depend on the command line version.
If installing the Windows version of git select the Use Git from the Windows Command Prompt (in chocolatey the /GitOnlyOnPath option). Do not select the Use Git and optional Unix tools from the Windows Command Prompt option (in chocolatey the /GitAndUnixToolsOnPath option).
The official command-line installer is available at https://git-scm.com/download/win.
Git Extensions is a native Windows graphical Git client for Windows. You can download the installer from https://github.com/gitextensions/gitextensions/releases/latest.
TortoiseGit is a native Windows graphical Git similar to TortoiseSVN. You can download the installer from https://tortoisegit.org/download/.
The command line client can be installed (and updated) using Chocolatey:
PS$> choco install git
A list of other GUI interfaces for Git can be found at https://git-scm.com/downloads/guis
Get the CMake installer from https://cmake.org/download/ and install CMake into the default location. Ensure the directory containing cmake.exe is added to your path.
Alternatively you can install CMake using Chocolatey:
PS$>choco install cmake.portable
Chocolatey ensures cmake.exe is on your path.
|Make sure everything works|
It’s a good idea to make sure Wireshark compiles and runs at least once before you start hacking the Wireshark sources for your own project. This example uses Git Extensions but any other Git client should work as well.
Download sources Download Wireshark sources into C:\Development\wireshark using either the command line or Git Extensions:
Using the command line:
>cd C:\Development >git clone https://code.wireshark.org/review/wireshark
Using Git extensions:
In the main screen select Clone repository. Fill in the following:
Repository to clone:
Destination: Your top-level development directory, e.g.
Subdirectory to create: Anything you’d like. Usually
|Check your paths|
Make sure your repository path doesn’t contain spaces.
From the Start Menu (or Start Screen), navigate to the Visual Studio 2013 → Visual Studio Tools directory and choose the Command Prompt appropriate for the build you wish to make, e.g. VS2013 x86 Native Tools Command Prompt for a 32-bit version, VS2013 x64 Native Tools Command Prompt for a 64-bit version.
|Pin the items to the Task Bar|
Pin the Command Prompt you use to the Task Bar for easy access.
All subsequent operations take place in this Command Prompt window.
Set environment variables to control the build.
Set the following environment variables, using paths and values suitable for your installation:
> set CYGWIN=nodosfilewarning > set WIRESHARK_BASE_DIR=C:\Development or set WIRESHARK_LIB_DIR to the appropriate library directory for your build. > set WIRESHARK_TARGET_PLATFORM=win32 or win64 as required > set QT5_BASE_DIR=C:\Qt\5.6\msvc2013_64 > set WIRESHARK_VERSION_EXTRA=-YourExtraVersionInfo
If your Cygwin installation path is not automatically detected by CMake, you can explicitly specify it with the following environment variable:
> set WIRESHARK_CYGWIN_INSTALL_PATH=c:\cygwin or whatever other path that is applicable to your setup
If you are using a version of Visual Studio earlier than VS2012 then you must set an additional env var, e.g. for VS2010 set the following:
> set VisualStudioVersion=10.0
Setting these variables could be added to a batch file to be run after you open the Visual Studio Tools Command Prompt.
Qt 5.6 is a "long term support" branch of Qt5. We recommend using it to compile Wireshark on Windows.
Create and change to the correct build directory. CMake is best used in an out-of-tree build configuration where the build is done in a separate directory to the source tree, leaving the source tree in a pristine state. 32 and 64 bit builds require a separate build directory. Create (if required) and change to the appropriate build directory.
> mkdir C:\Development\wsbuild32 > cd C:\Development\wsbuild32
to create and jump into the build directory.
The build directory can be deleted at any time and the build files regenerated as detailed in Section 2.2.11, “Generate the build files”.
CMake is used to process the CMakeLists.txt files in the source tree and produce build files appropriate for your system.
You can generate Visual Studio solution files to build either from within Visual Studio, or from the command line with MSBuild. CMake can also generate other build types but they aren’t supported.
The initial generation step is only required the first time a build directory is created. Subsequent builds will regenerate the build files as required.
If you’ve closed the Visual Studio Command Prompt prepare it again.
To generate the build files enter the following at the Visual Studio command prompt:
> cmake -DENABLE_CHM_GUIDES=on -G "Visual Studio 12" ..\wireshark
Adjusting the paths as required to Python and the wireshark source tree. To use a different generator modify the -G parameter, cmake -G lists all the CMake supported generators, but only Visual Studio is supported for Wireshark builds.
To build an x64 version, the -G parameter must have a Win64 suffix, e.g. -G "Visual Studio 12 Win64", e.g.
> cmake -DENABLE_CHM_GUIDES=on -G "Visual Studio 12 Win64" ..\wireshark
The CMake generation process will download the required 3rd party libraries (apart from Qt) as required, then test each library for usability before generating the build files.
At the end of the CMake generation process the following should be displayed:
-- Configuring done -- Generating done -- Build files have been written to: C:/Development/wsbuild32
If you get any other output, there is an issue in your envirnment that must be rectified before building. Check the parameters passed to CMake, especially the -G option and the path to the Wireshark sources and the environment variables WIRESHARK_BASE_DIR, WIRESHARK_TARGET_PLATFORM and QT5_BASE_DIR.
Now it’s time to build Wireshark!
> msbuild /m /p:Configuration=RelWithDebInfo Wireshark.sln
to build Wireshark.
C:\Development\wsbuild32\run\RelWithDebInfo\Wireshark.exeand make sure it starts.
You may also open the Wireshark solution file (Wireshark.sln) in the Visual Studio IDE and build there.
If compilation fails for suspicious reasons after you changed some source files try to clean the build files by running msbuild /m /p:Configuration=RelWithDebInfo Wireshark.sln /t:Clean and then building the solution again.
The build files produced by CMake will regenerate themselves if required by changes in the source tree.
You can debug using the Visual Studio Debugger or WinDbg. See the section on using the Debugger Tools.
Detailed information to build these guides can be found in the file docbook\README.txt in the Wireshark sources.
Note: You should have successfully built Wireshark before doing the following.
If you want to build your own Wireshark-win32-2.5.0-myprotocol123.exe, you’ll need NSIS.
NSIS: Download and install NSIS
Note that the 32-bit version of NSIS will work for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Wireshark. NSIS v3 is recommended and may be required in the future.
Note: If you do not yet have a copy of vcredist_x86.exe or vcredist_x64.exe in ./wireshark-winXX-libs (where XX is 32 or 64) you will need to download the appropriate file and place it in ./wireshark-winXX-libs before starting this step.
If building an x86 version using a Visual Studio "Express" edition or an x64 version with any edition, then you must have the appropriate vcredist file for your compiler in the support libraries directory (vcredist_x86.exe in wireshark-32-libs or vcredist_x64.exe in wireshark-win64-libs).
The files can be located in the Visual Studio install directory for non-Express edition builds, or downloaded from Microsoft for Expresss edition builds.
Note you must use the correct version of vcredist for your compiler, unfortunately they all have the same name (vcredist_x86.exe or vcredist_x64.exe). You can use Windows Explorer and examine the Properties >> Details tab for a vcredist file to determine which compiler version the file is for use with.
> msbuild /m /p:Configuration=RelWithDebInfo nsis_package_prep.vcxproj > msbuild /m /p:Configuration=RelWithDebInfo nsis_package.vcxproj
to build a Wireshark installer.
to test your new installer. It’s a good idea to test on a different machine than the developer machine. Note that if you’ve built an x64 version, the installer will be named accordingly.