How to install Perl on Windows

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Installing Perl for CGI is completely optional and none of the other parts of this tutorial require it to be installed. The only reason to install ActivePerl is if you will be running Perl based CGI scripts.

ActivePerl 5.10

  1. Download

    Download the latest Windows Installer (MSI) version of ActivePerl from (if it asks you to register, you can just leave the form blank and hit "Continue").

    My file was named: ActivePerl-
    NOTE about 64-bit
    I did not test the 64-bit (x64) version of Perl, but if you have a 64-bit Windows version, you should be fine if you want to download/install it. Otherwise use the 32-bit (x86) version (the 32-bit version will work on either type of machine).
  2. Install

    On the "Setup" screen (where you choose what features to install -- should be about the 2nd or 3rd screen in. I tend to miss it every time and have to go back) change the install location (hit the little "browse" button). I highly recommend that you install perl to a directory like:
    In someone else's words (very good advice)
    If you will be using Perl CGI programs and want to maintain some level of portability between both Linux machines and Windows machines, you will want to install Perl to the same location on your Windows machine that it is on most Linux machines.

    For example, on a standard Linux machine, Perl is located at /usr/bin/perl and so every Perl program that I write begins with #!/usr/bin/perl. So, when I install Perl on a Windows machine, instead of installing it in the default location (which is C:\perl for ActivePerl) I install it in C:\usr so that the Perl executable is located at /usr/bin/perl. This allows me to write code on my Windows machine, then move it (without making any changes) to a Linux machine and have it run there. And vice versa.
    [Check] Add Perl to the PATH environment variable
    [Check] Create Perl file extension association
    The rest should be grayed out and read-only, but if not, leave them unchecked
  3. Activating CGI

    Using Notepad (or other text editor) open httpd.conf (should be start-menu shortcut "Apache HTTP Server 2.2 > Configure Apache Server > Edit the Apache httpd.conf Configuration File") and search for Options Indexes FollowSymLinks (about line 190) when you find it add ExecCGI to the end so it looks like Options Indexes FollowSymLinks ExecCGI
  4. [OPTIONAL] Enabling CGI in any directory

    If you want to use CGI outside the C:/Apache2_2/cgi-bin/ ScriptAliased directory, you will need to uncomment the following line: #AddHandler cgi-script .cgi becomes AddHandler cgi-script .cgi (remove the #) I also added .pl behind .cgi so 'perl' extension is also treated as cgi files.

    If you will be creating your own cgi-bin, you will want to comment out: ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "C:/Program Files/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/cgi-bin/" so it becomes #ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "C:/Program Files/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/cgi-bin/"
  5. Finding your location to perl

    If you do not know where your perl.exe installed to, go to Start -> Search and type in a search for perl.exe This location is the path to perl you put on the top of all your cgi scripts. If you listened to my advice in the "Install" step, the path should be close to: C:/usr/bin/perl.exe
    Some notes
    For the perl path C:/usr/bin/perl.exe all of these are/were valid. I prefer the last one because of the Linux <<>> Windows portability.
  6. Testing CGI

    If you if you uncommented (removed the # symbol) the line AddHandler cgi-script .cgi in step #4, then create a file in your document_root called hello.cgi and put these three lines in it (if you did not comment/disable it, put the CGI file in C:/Apache2_2/cgi-bin/):
    print "Content-type:text/html\n\n";
    print "hello world";
  7. Restart Apache if it is already running. Now go to http://localhost/cgi-bin/hello.cgi (or wherever you put the file) and run the script.
  8. If you get a hello world in your browser, CGI is running. If you get a 500 error, go to the last entry in Apache error log (Apache HTTP Server 2.2 > Review Server Log Files > Review Error Log shortcut in the Start Menu) to see exactly what caused this error.


on windows 7 / server 2008 and upwords you can install Perl to an other dir and make a symbolic link to Perl folder.

Run cmd as administrator and type:
mklink /d c:\usr c:\Perl

Best regards