Installing Emacs on Windows 95/98/2K/NT/ME/XP/Vista/Windows 7
July 3, 2012
Many people have successfully installed emacs
on Windows 95, 98, 2K, NT, ME, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 using the
Disclaimer: This page is being
maintained mainly for my students. Use these instructions at your own
risk if you are not a student taking one of my classes. There is no
warranty in any form or shape whatsoever! There is no guarantee that
these instructions are up-to-date although I will try to update them
for my students on an on-going basis. With that understood you may
continue with the rest of this page if you choose to accept these
Emacs version 24.1: This was
the latest version available at the time of this writing (July 3,
Follow these steps to download and install Emacs on your windows
machine. There is no room for creativity
here; you must follow the directions exactly - every single
- Pick the drive and a folder in which you want to install Emacs.
I'll assume that it
is C:\emacs, but you can
choose a different one. If you choose a
different drive or a different folder, you'll need to adapt the
directions below accordingly.
- Create an empty
- Go here and
download the following (or the latest version if you find a newer
one) at the bottom of that page into the folder that you created
emacs-24.1-bin-i386.zip 30-Jul-2009 01:10 46M
At this point, you should have one file named
of about 46 megabytes in
the C:\emacs folder.
Check to be sure.
- Click on that file using Windows Explorer to extract files
from that archived file. Your extracted files should go
into C:\emacs folder.
Once extraction is done, you will see a folder named emacs-24.1 under C:\emacs. Under emacs-24.1, you will see other
info, etc. At this
point, you have downloaded and placed the files in the right
- Depending on the operating system that you use, choose one of the
- 95 or 98: edit your autoexec.bat file and add
You will probably find autoexec.bat on your
C: drive. Edit it with Notepad. You can't edit
it by clicking on it. Start Notepad and then open it
with the File menu in Notepad.
- 2K, ME, XP, Vista:
add HOME as an environment variable.
Follow Start > Settings > Control Panel
> System. Then select Advanced followed by Environment Variables. Then, add HOME as a user variable with
its value C:\emacs\.
- Windows 7:
add HOME as an environment variable.
Follow Start > Control Panel >
System and Security > System > Advanced system
select Advanced followed
by Environment Variables. Then,
add HOME as a user variable with
its value C:\emacs\. (Note that
this may be somewhat site dependent.)
- Restart your machine.
- Let's run emacs now. At this point, you might want to create an
icon on your desktop for the Emacs that you just installed. Go to the
using Windows Explorer. There you will find a file named runemacs.exe.
Create a shortcut, then you will see a file named runemacs.exe - Shortcut.
Before you take it to the desktop or to the dock, you might want
to change the default 'Start
in' folder. Change it to whatever you like through
the Properties menu of
the shortcut file. In my case, I changed it
from C:\emacs\emacs-24.1\bin to C:\alee, which
is my home folder. Your emacs will use that folder as the base
folder when it looks for a file to edit. Now, you are ready to
take it to the desktop or the dock so that you can use it to run
Emacs from there. Now, you should be in
business - run it! If it doesn't
work, you've made a mistake in one of the steps above. Double
and triple check.
- Now you are ready to customize your emacs a little so that it
will recognize the syntax of the source file that you will edit,
e.g., Java files with the .java extension.
by right-clicking on the link. Yes, there should be a folder
named .emacs.d by
now since you have run emacs at least once by now.
Download init.txt into
that folder. Now, rename
init.txt to be
init.el. (Sorry about
this extra step - it is due to the local peculiarity that I
don't want to explain.)
- If you want to clean up a little, you may delete emacs-24.1-bin-i386.zip at this
point. You still need .emacs.d
and emacs-24.1 in the C:\emacs folder though.
- To learn how to use Emacs, try Emacs
Tutorial that you can find under the Help menu in the Emacs window. Or,
if you want a simpler version, try this
tutorial that I wrote.
- [Only optionally because I
want this to be a simple page that shows just enough to get
started.] To learn how to customize Emacs or simply to
see more help on it,
try Emacs Help
Guide by Hemant Kumar. (That site will talk about .emacs file, which is the
of init.el.) I am sure
there are many other sources of information on emacs out there,
Emacs FAQ For MS Windows, but Paul Fiorillo found this site.
Maintained by Art Lee
(alee at cmc dot edu).
Last modified . . .