[mcstas-users] Clear instructions for 64-bit windows installation needed

Krunoslav Prsa krunoslav.prsa at epfl.ch
Wed Mar 20 14:45:53 CET 2013

Dear Eric,
Thanks for your quick reply.

However, that doesn't work for me. I installed the first three and I indeed get the mcgui and mcshell shortcuts on the desktop. However I receive the following error (see screenshot)
"Windows can't open this file File: mcgui.pl"
I guess I should either install Perl (if it is not contained in the installation?) or add something to the "path" system variable?

Best wishes and once again thanks!

-----Original Message-----
From: Erik Bergbäck Knudsen [mailto:erkn at fysik.dtu.dk] 
Sent: 20 March 2013 13:56
To: Krunoslav Prsa
Cc: mcstas-users at mcstas.org
Subject: Re: [mcstas-users] Clear instructions for 64-bit windows installation needed

Dear Krunoslav,

I am very sorry to hear that you're having problems installing McStas.
We shall do our very best to help you.

Perhaps a little bit of background is warranted. It was decide to move to a modular installation with several packages for McStas 2.0 for various reasons. Firstly, it would allow the more frequent updates to the component library to be made available to the users without waiting for a new kernel release. Secondly, it allows users to install kernel and components without installing GUI and plotting tools, should they wish to do so. (Frequently the case on cluster installations). Thirdly, it allows users to replace the old perl based tools with the newly developed python tools with additional features. Sadly this has also caused confusion among users as we've perhaps not documented the procedure sufficiently.

Indeed, the now obsolescent McStas 1.12 series never explicitly supported 64 bit windows - but has been reported to work (albeit slowly) in many cases anyway.
McStas 2.0 introduced native 64bit support for windows also. The zip-bundle indeed contains several installer packages, namely:
- mcstas-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	this is the kernel self-extracting installer
- mcstas-comps-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	this is the component library self extracting installer
- mcstas-2.0-win64/mcstas-tools-perl-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	self extracting installer containing the McStas GUI and perl based tools as you know them from McStas 1.x
- mcstas-tools-python-mcrun-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	installer containing the python based mcrun.
- mcstas-tools-python-mcplot-matplotlib-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	installer containing the python based mcplot with matplotlib-backend
- mcstas-tools-python-mcplot-chaco-NSIS-2.0-mingw64.exe
	installer containing the python based mcplot with chaco-backend

Each of these should be double-clicked which then starts a standard windows installation procedure, with checks for dependencies etc.
If you just want a McStas-installation as you knew it from 1.12 then you should simply install kernel, components and perl tools.
As a result you should now have two icons on your desktop: mcgui-2.0 and mcstas-shell-2.0. Double-clicking mcgui starts the GUI and mcstas-shell starts a command prompt with environment variables set for running mcstas smoothly. This includes adding the mcstas directory to the PATH environment variable.

Instructions such as above for installing McStas on windows should definitely be put on the webpage _and_ in the README. We will see to it asap. Thanks for suggesting.

I hope what I've just written goes some way to allay your frustrations.
If not, please just ask. We're always happy to receive suggestions for improving McStas. 


On Wed, 2013-03-20 at 12:03 +0000, Krunoslav Prsa wrote:
> Hello all,
> I am a very fresh user of McStas. I am having troubles getting McStas to work on my computer (Windows 64 bit).
> 1)      There is a simple installation file for windows for McStas version <= 1.12, however, there seems to be a problem (I get an error popup) with compatibility of c compiler cc.exe and 64 bit windows which I would expect everybody has nowadays.
> 2)      Newer incarnations have 64 bit versions, however, at least the newest one (2.0) is a zip file consisting of several .exe files which don't actually give you a program once you install all of them. I have no idea whatsoever how this is supposed to be installed.
> 3)      There are no contemporary installation instructions for Windows on the McStas webpage. Would it be possible to have them, at least in the README file within the installation zip file?
> 4)      There seem to be some instructions on one of the mailing list's previous threads, but, since it is spread over several emails, I cannot really understand in which order to do what.
> I understand that McStas is a complex program that took quite a few of man-years of volunteers' work to develop. It would still be extremely useful if the windows developer(s) or at least one of the more experienced users would invest 5 minutes to write 10 sentences about the order of installation of exe files and how to run the (gui) program afterwards. It would really save newbies like me a bit of initial frustration.
> Best wishes from Lausanne,
> Kruno
> ------
> Dr. Krunoslav Prsa, Postdoc
> Laboratory for Quantum Magnetism,
> École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
> -----
> krunoslav.prsa at epfl.ch<mailto:krunoslav.prsa at epfl.ch>
> http://lqm.epfl.ch<http://lqm.epfl.ch/>
> -----
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Erik Bergbäck Knudsen, Scientist                 | DTU | morituri
NEXMAP, DTU Fysik, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark  |<>-<>|    te
phone: (+45) 2132 6655, mobile: (+45) 3123 6184  |<>-<>| salutant

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