Version 23 (modified by rogerdpack, 3 years ago) (diff)

note msys2 packages

MinGW/FFmpeg installation guide

In order to compile FFmpeg on Windows, you need to install the MinGW environment and a few tools which are strictly required.

The following sections give some indications for installing some of the required components. Note that the only strict requirements for compiling a plain vanilla version of FFmpeg (no external libraries) is MinGW (compilation environment) and git required for downloading and updating the source code.

Also note that sometimes it is easier to cross compile, see CrossCompilingForWindows, which also may contain some hints/clues for compiling the various dependencies you'd need using mingw, too.

More Windows-specific information can be found in the official documentation at:


You basically have two options for a compiler: mingw "mainline" or mingw-w64. Both offer working gcc's for windows. The latter tends to be slightly more up to date than the former, and offers a few more libraries, like DirectShow headers. The instructions here are basically for mingw "mainline", but the two are interchangeable. Basically, you will install one "MinGW" package and one ("MSys" or "Msys2"), MinGW providing gcc and headers, MSys providing shell utilities like make and bash. Also of note is that the Msys2 system includes some packages like "mingw-w64-i686-gcc" (i.e. cross compilers) that might be of some usefulness if you want to go the cross compiling [but still in windows land] route, similar to cross compiling using cygwin. There is a separate wiki page for cross compiling.

Go to:

and look for the "Download" page.

MinGW-w64 can be found at: (note this project does not contain downloadable compilers, you'll probably want the "win-builds" project for that or the "mingw-builds" project, which provide pre-built compilers, see list of differences here:

The recommended way to install MinGW/MSys is through the automated installer, mingw-get-setup.exe.

This will download most of the basic core packages. It will usually install in C:\MinGW but you can define the installation path when configuring, note down this path (that we will call as "MinGW path" or $MINGW_PATH later in this guide).

Once you install MinGW you should see in the Windows menu the "MinGW" entry with the option "MinGW shell". Clicking on it and it will launch a terminal with a bash shell. This is supposed to be a GNU/Unix environment, and you're supposed to know a bit of UNIX commands for getting through it.

MinGW adopts a mounting mechanism to make Windows dir appear like native UNIX-like paths. Check the output of the mount command, and familiarize yourself with the mapping mechanism. In the rest of the guide, when not explicitly specified, we'll use the UNIX mapped paths.

Also note that to access dshow devices you to use the mingw-w64 as the compiler (or cross compiler), so straight MinGW won't have this functionality available.

MinGW installation style

It is a good norm to keep the locally installed packages separated from the MinGW/MSys packages. For this reason we recommend to use /usr/local for locally installed files. That means that packages will be configured with --prefix=/usr/local, for removing the local packages it will be sufficient to erase the /usr/local directory.

This should also avoid conflicts with MinGW/MSys.


Git is the source code control system used by FFmpeg, and you need it for downloading and updating the source code.

The official Git project site is:

The recommended installation way is through the msysgit project:

The autoinstaller will create a separate Msys environment for Git. In order to be able to let your MinGW and msysgit coexist on the same system you need some tuning in the Windows environment. Indeed the msysgit installer will modify some of the environment values set by the MinGW install, and you may need to manually restore them.

In particular, you need to:

  • fix the HOME variable, so that it will point to $MINGW_PATH/msys/1.0/home/$USER
  • edit the path, so that the git bin and cmd paths are located after the corresponding MinGW bin directory.


yasm is a non-strict requirement, it allows for optimized compilation so it is recommended to install it. The easiest way to install it for Windows is by simply downloading the binary provided in:

You'll have to choose between the versions provided (e.g. 32 vs 64 bits), download and install it in /usr/local/bin or in /bin.

Since the name of the binary is usually suffixed with the program version (e.g. it is named "yasm-1.1.0-win32.exe"), you need to create a copy named "yasm", so it can be invoked by using simply "yasm".

Alternatively you may install the source version and compile it.


SDL is required for ffplay and the SDL output device, the project website can be looked at:

You need the 1.2 version:

Once installed in the MINGW_PATH, the FFmpeg configure should be able to auto-detect it.

Note that SDL flags, as issued by sdl-config/pkg-config, contain the -mwindows flag which will prevent applications to log on console. As a workaround you'll need to remove that flag, e.g. by editing the sdl-config script or the SDL pkg-config file in lib.

The bug has been reported here:


libx264 can be compiled and installed in the MinGW environment.

Latest version can be found at this address:

In order to generate the DLL library file you should use the --enable-shared configure option.


lib.exe is required for creating .dll.a import stub libraries, so that you can link to the DLLs from MSVC (Microsoft Visual Studio compiler, bundled with it), if you are planning on creating a DLL style FFmpeg build and need/want to do that.

lib.exe is a Microsoft tool used for creating DLL files. It is bundled together with Visual Studio. Microsoft Visual Studio Express download is available for free. Once installed you'll need to add the directory where lib.exe is located to the system Path.

dlltool.exe (which is part of binutils) may be used instead of lib.exe. The downside in this case is that the import libraries break if you use the linker optimization option in MSVC (which is enabled by default).


DirectShow SDK is required for DirectShow capture, supported through the dshow input device. DirectShow support is enabled only through mingw-64 compilation.

For more detailed information related to DirectShow check the dshow section in the FFmpeg manual.


Required for acquiring from the audio device using the recently new OpenAL framework:

Download and install the SDK (the file named like ""), then configure with --enable-openal (you may need to add --extra-cflags and --extra-ldflags for specifying where OpenAL libraries and headers are placed). Note that you may also need to move all the headers in the include dir to a separate "AL" directory, which is where FFmpeg will look for the OpenAL headers.


pkg-config is a program used by many software libraries (FFmpeg included) for determining the compilation flags to use. It is not installed by default by MinGW, so you need to manually install it.

There is also a related MinGW FAQ:

pkg-config can be found at one of these addresses:

At this point you need to install the following packages:

  • GLib (Binaries)
  • gettext-runtime (Binaries)
  • pkg-config (Binaries)

gettext-runtime contains the intl.dll (GNU Internationalization Library) which is required by pkg-config.


To configure a basic build you just need to run configure in the FFmpeg source directory.

Once you installed all the necessary packages (MinGW is the only strict requirement for building FFmpeg, git is required to update your FFmpeg source), you need to open a MinGW shell, change directory to where you checked out the FFmpeg sources, and configure and make FFmpeg the usual way.

NOTE: configure is sometimes painfully slow in MinGW.

Windows Compilation Tips

  • You may want to use dependency walker for troubleshooting dependency issues:

depends.exe is similar in purpose to ldd.

  • Working with a Windows native terminal can be painful, especially if you have a non-US/EN keyboard and you have no means to type special characters like '~'.

autohotkey is a nice FLOSS project which allows to compose shortcuts and do other nifty things:

More resources

You can find many resources dedicated to FFmpeg in Windows in:

At this address you can find a MinGW environment used for MPlayer, as well as FFmpeg builds:

The following project has a script for cross compiling lots of FFmpeg dependencies, and may contain hints as to how to get them working with mingw: