Windows Build Instructions

Setting up Windows

You must set your Windows system locale to English, or else you may get build errors about “The file contains a character that cannot be represented in the current code page.”

Setting up the environment for Visual Studio

You must build with Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 or Visual Studio 2015 Update 1, no other versions are supported.

You must have Windows 7 x64 or later. x86 OSs are unsupported.

  1. Get depot_tools.
  2. Follow the appropriate path below:

Open source contributors

####For building with Visual Studio 2015 (default compiler as of March 11, 2016):

Install Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 or later - Community Edition should work if its license is appropriate for you. Use the Custom Install option and select:

  • Visual C++, which will select three sub-categories including MFC
  • Universal Windows Apps Development Tools > Tools
  • Universal Windows Apps Development Tools > Windows 10 SDK (10.0.10586)

You must have the 10586 SDK installed or else you will hit compile errors such as redefined macros.

For building with Visual Studio 2013 (no longer default as of March 11, 2016, and not recommended - requires setting GYP_MSVS_VERSION=2013):

Install Visual Studio 2013 Community or Visual Studio 2013 Professional depending on which license is appropriate for you. You can deselect the default options if you want, but you must make sure to install “Microsoft Foundation Classes for C++”.

You should also install the Windows 10 SDK to the default install location. You must have SDK version 10.0.10586 or greater installed.

Run set DEPOT_TOOLS_WIN_TOOLCHAIN=0, or set that variable in your global environment.

Visual Studio Express 2013 is not supported and will not be able to build Chromium.

Compilation is done through ninja, not Visual Studio.

Google employees

Run: download_from_google_storage --config and follow the authentication instructions. Note that you must authenticate with your credentials, not Enter “0” if asked for a project-id.

Once you've done this, the toolchain will be installed automatically for you in Step 3, below (near the end of the step).

The toolchain will be in depot_tools\win_toolchain, and windbg can be found in depot_tools\win_toolchain\vs2013_files\win8sdk\Debuggers.

If you want the IDE for debugging and editing, you will need to install it separately, but this is optional and not needed to build Chromium.

Getting the Code

Follow the steps to check out the code (largely fetch chromium).


Build the target you are interested in.

ninja -C out\Debug chrome

Alternative (Graphical user interface): Open a generated .sln file such as all.sln, right-click the chrome project and select build. This will invoke the real step 4 above. Do not build the whole solution since that conflicts with ninja's build management and everything will explode. Substitute the build directory given to -C with out\Debug_x64 for 64-bit builds in GYP, or whatever build directory you have configured if using GN.

Performance tips

  1. Have a lot of fast CPU cores and enough RAM to keep them all busy. (Minimum recommended is 4-8 fast cores and 16-32 GB of RAM)
  2. Reduce file system overhead by excluding build directories from antivirus and indexing software.
  3. Store the build tree on a fast disk (preferably SSD).
  4. If you are primarily going to be doing debug development builds, you should use the component build:
    • for GYP set GYP_DEFINES=component=shared_library
    • for GN, set the build arg is_component_build = true. This will generate many DLLs and enable incremental linking, which makes linking much faster in Debug.

Still, expect build times of 30 minutes to 2 hours when everything has to be recompiled.