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.