RKWard on Windows

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This page has been marked as needing an improvement. This means the page is incomplete, badly structured or otherwise in need of significant improvements. Most importantly, a walkthrough for the installer is needed



RKWard on Windows can be used productively, and many users do so, today. However, other users still experience some quirks with RKWard on Windows. Most of the time, these issues can be resolved. First, check the list of known issues, below. If problems persist, please let us know, so we can work on a solution.

Known issues and work-arounds

(Please use the bug trackers to report issues. This section is only meant to document some deficiencies, which are encountered relatively frequently.)

  • Some users have reported that functions trying to download from the internet (e.g. package installation) will fail, in both R and RKWard on Windows. In this case, please try running "setInternet2(TRUE)" in the R Console after starting RKWard (as per [1]).
  • Some users have reported that on some installations the file opening dialog causes RKWard to freeze or even crash. While we're trying to fix this problem, if you happen to run into this, try to add "setwd('C:/')" to the additional options field you find at the bottom of Settings -> Configure RKWard -> R backend and restart RKWard. It would be great if you contacted us and sent some feedback whether this workaround helped, so we can track down the actual bug.
  • Some versions of the Symantec virus scanner are known to report false positives for "knotify4.exe" and "keditfiletype.exe", based on heuristic detection. If in any doubt, please contact your virus scanner's vendor.
  • Occasionally, users report seeing the message "Could not start process Cannot talk to klauncher: The name org.kde.klauncher was not provided by any .service files.", along with various symptoms. Typically this indicates that more than one version of KDE is running on the computer at the same time, e.g. after updating the KDE installation. The easiest solution is to reboot.
  • Some users report that RKWard will not run, correctly, without administrator permissions (TODO: describe exact symptoms). For most others, RKWard will work just fine from a regular user account. Whether or not this is a problem, depends on the security setup of your installation of Windows. If you run into problems, try running RKWard as administrator, by right-clicking the shortcut and selecting "Run as Administrator" from the contextual menu. You can also make this setting permanent in the properties of the executable.


Standard installation: Complete installation bundle

The easiest way to install RKWard on Windows is using the binary installation bundle. A screencast of this process is available here.

  1. Simply download the above file and double-click the downloaded .exe-file.
  2. You will be prompted for an installation folder. This could be C:\Programs\, but also a network share, a USB disk, or almost any other folder. A subdirectory "RKWard" will be created in this folder.
  3. You may want to drag-and-drop the "RKWard"-icon from the installation-folder to your desktop or to another easily accessible location.

That's all! For more information refer to the REAMDE.html contained inside the bundle. At the time of this writing, the bundle includes RKWard 0.6.4, KDE 4.10.2, and R 3.2.3. If you want to use a custom installation of KDE and / or R, use the "RKWard on Windows installer", instead (see below).

Custom installation: RKWard on Windows installer


You need to install R and KDE before you can install RKWard.


A windows installer is available at http://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/ .

Installation should be straightforward and does not require any special settings. In cases of doubt, extensive documentation is available from the same url.


Generic instructions for installing KDE on Windows are available at http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/KDE_on_Windows/Installation . For RKWard, proceed as follows:

  1. Download the KDE Windows installer and run it. For RKWard 0.6.4, KDE 4.10.2 or later is required on Windows.
  2. Be sure to select MinGW4 (32 bit) as compiler mode on the third page of the installer.
  3. Install the following KDE packages:
    • kate, okular
    • (many additional packages will be installed, automatically).

Installing RKWard

The RKWard installer itself is available at http://download.kde.org/stable/rkward/0.6.4/win32/install_rkward_0.6.4-1.exe . In the installer you will need to specify the R and KDE installation directories. For RKWard 0.6.4, you will have to use R 3.0.0 or later (R 3.2.3. is recommended).

Updating R / KDE / RKWard

Updating RKWard itself

The easiest way to update RKWard itself in an existing installation is to simply use the RKWard on Windows installer, and to point it to the correct location. In general, the latest version of RKWard should work with all reasonably recent versions of KDE and R.

Updating KDE

To update the KDE portion of an existing RKWard installation, you can use the KDE windows installer as described in the "Custom installation"-section, above.

  • In general, KDE releases are "binary compatible" with earlier versions of KDE. Thus, in theory, updating KDE should not be a problem. In practice, we recommend to back up your KDE installation, first.
  • As usual, you need to choose the MinGW4-compiler.
  • We do intend to update the complete installation bundle for important new releases of KDE. So consider waiting until a complete installation bundle is ready, instead.

Updating R

To update R, use the R installer.

  • Often, new releases of R will work with old versions of RKWard, especially, for patch releases (those differing only in the third section of the version number), generally there should not be any problems. However, it is always a good idea to use the latest version of RKWard with the latest version of R. If in any doubt, back up your installation, first.
  • You can either install R to the exact same location as before. In this case nothing special needs to be done. However, if your R installation path contains a version number, or is changed in any other way, then you will need to either
    • Run the RKWard on Windows installer, again, after updating R or
    • Open [Your\RKWard\Installation\]KDE\bin\rkward.ini in a text editor, and adjust the path setting for "R executable=" to point to the new installation path (note: backslashes need to be doubled).
  • Remember to update your R packages after updating R.

Compiling RKWard from source on Windows

Using emerge (recommended, but time-consuming)

  1. Set up emerge as detailed, here: http://techbase.kde.org/Getting_Started/Build/KDE4/Windows/emerge .
  2. run
 emerge rkward

This should be all you need to fetch rkward and all dependencies (including R). Note that this will take several hours to complete.


  • Currently this has only been tested with the MinGW(4) compiler. You are encouraged to try compiling using MSVC, but quite likely you will run into some problems. Report those on the mailing list, and we will take care of them.
  • At times, compilation using emerge will fail. If the build fails on the R or RKWard packages themselves, let us know on the mailing list. If the build fails at an earlier stage (qt / kdelibs / kdebase), you may want to check http://winkde.org/pub/kde/ports/win32/dashboard/ to see whether this is a problem with your particular setup, or a general problem.
  • It is not easily possible to re-use an existing R installation in this approach. Should this be a hard requirement, please use the precompiled package, or try the instructions for fully custom compilation, below.

Shortcut to using emerge (somewhat recommended, but much less time consuming)

  1. Download the snapshot of a pre-installed, pre-compiled snapshot of emerge rkward from https://sourceforge.net/projects/rkwardextras/files/Development/ .
  2. Unpack the snapshot. Either in the root of drive K:\, or set up a drive letter assiociation by running the following in a command shell:
    subst K: C:\Where\you\actually\extracted\this\archive
  3. Install Python (version 3.3 or higher)
  4. Edit K:\kderoot\etc\kdesettings.bat. Esp. you will probably have to adjust the PYTHONPATH.
  5. To update rkward, enter the following in a command shell:
 cd K:\kderoot\emerge
 cd emerge
 git pull                # To update build instructions; in case of problems, see notes, below
 emerge --update rkward  # This will take a few minutes; a build log is written in K:\kderoot\buildlogs\
  1. To run rkward, enter the following in a command shell:
 cd K:\kderoot\emerge
 kdeenv.bat              # This command and the two above only needed once in a command shell session


  • This method can save a considerable number of steps, and time, but it allows you no choice of compiler and architecture. You will get MinGW4 and 32bit. Of course that should work, anywhere, so why not.
  • If git pull complains about conflicts, you can throw away the local changes using git reset --hard. Note that after throwing away the local changes, you may not be able to re-build qt. But probably you are not going to rebuild qt, anyway.
  • Download size is around 2.5 GB. Unpacked size is around 6.5 GB.

Custom compilation / Packaging (not recommended for most users)

For info on compiling RKWard of Linux/BSD/similar systems see Building_RKWard_From_Source. The same information basically applies on Windows - once you have installed all requirements. For more information, refer to the developers' notes on packaging RKWard for Windows.

Debugging / further info

See http://techbase.kde.org/Development/Tutorials/Debugging/Debugging_on_MS_Windows in the KDE wiki.

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