Thursday, 29 January 2009

How I made new Microsoft C++ compiler work without Visual Studio installation

My task was to make minimalist compiler configuration running on a machine without installed Visual studio. This helps to work on C++ programs on any computer: copy your files, copy the compiler, and then compile and run. Below are the steps I did to make it working.

1. I downloaded and installed free Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition

2. I created target directory d:\c15 and a file setvars.bat with the following content
set C15=d:\c15
set PATH=%C15%\bin;%PATH%
set INCLUDE=%C15%\include
set LIB=%C15%\lib

3. I copied files

from "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\" into "d:\c15\bin\"

c1.dll, c1xx.dll, c2.dll, cl.exe, link.exe
from "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin\" into "d:\c15\bin\"

whole directory 1033
from "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\bin\" into "d:\c15\bin\"

whole directory include
from "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\" into "d:\c15\"

libcmt.lib, libcpmt.lib, oldnames.lib
from "Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\lib\" into "d:\c15\lib\"

from "Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Lib" into "d:\c15\lib\"

4. At this moment I was able to compile C++ programs with the copied compiler. I started cmd, cleaned the PATH variable, run setvars (step 1), and cl.exe compiled the C++ and C programs. But when I moved this directory to the computer which does not have Visual studio installed then cl.exe failed with a message: "The system cannot execute the specified program".

5. I looked into cl.exe binary searching for the string "manifest". That part is XML. Noted the lines
name="Microsoft.VC90.CRT" version="9.0.21022.8"
Note: version reported by cl.exe is different!

6. I went into C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\Manifests and found file
Note: version numbers match!

7. I copied this file into "d:\c15\bin" directory and renamed it into
Note: the name in step 1, the name of the file, and the name inside this file is the same "Microsoft.VC90.CRT"!

8. I went into C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS and found directory
Note: version match!

9. Copied all dlls from this directory into "d:\c15\bin" directory.

Voila, it worked in Virtual Windows with no Visual Studio installation.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, really cool to have just the bare bones command line compiler!

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up! Haven't tried it out yet, but it sounds way better than that whole bundle of software you get from microsoft. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge!

Unknown said...

It WORKS! Yes!
Tried it out with 2010 Express, works perfectly with it. Didn't even need the manifest file. The only other thing it needed was the C++ Redistributable package.
Thank you a bunch sir!