WinMerge can be installed using the installer or by unzipping files from an archive. Using the installer is the recommended method.
Currently the WinMerge installer works natively only for 32-bit Windows. There is no separate version of WinMerge for 64-bit Windows (WinXP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/2012). 64-bit Windows versions can run the installer and WinMerge as 32-bit applications. For the shell Integration, the installer includes the 64-bit version of the extension.
The latest release can be always downloaded from the WinMerge home page: WinMerge.org. Note that delays can occur in updating home pages for the latest releases, but the project status page at SourceForge.net shows the latest files. There is also a mailing list for release announcements. Stable releases are also available in several file download sites.
The installer requires Administrator user privileges in Windows 2000 or newer. If you don't have admin user privileges, you can install WinMerge by unzipping from an archive file (see Installing from an archive).
Using the installer is recommended for most users. The installer prompts for the location where WinMerge is installed. It then installs the files, configures the shell integration, and adds WinMerge to the Start menu. To install WinMerge:
- Start the installer executable (usually named
- Click Next in the Welcome screen.
- Click Next in the License Agreement screen.
- In the Select Destination Location page, accept the location for WinMerge or, if you choose another location, we recommend that you install WinMerge in its own folder. Click Next.
In the Select Components page, choose one of the preconfigured installations in the top control. We recommend the Typical configuration for most users. The lower box shows all the available components. You can modify the default configuration by checking or unchecking components. For example, if you want to use a WinMerge localization for a different language than English, select the Languages component.
In the Select Start Menu Folder page, configure WinMerge shortcuts.
Accept the default setting to create a program shortcut, or specify a different folder.
Optionally, check the option, Don't create a Start Menu folder.
- In the Ready to Install page, verify your install selections. If necessary, click Back to change anything in a previous page. When you are sure that you are ready to proceed, click Install.
- After the installer has copied files, the final screen appears. Using the two check boxes, confirm whether the created WinMerge Start menu folder should be opened, and whether the WinMerge application should be started.
WinMerge is pretty much independent of other system components. It is not tightly integrated with Windows, and does not use many DLLs.
WinMergeU.exe itself depends on
MSVCP90.dll, in addition to some system DLLs. So if these DLLs
are already installed on a system, only
is needed to run WinMerge. The DLL files listed above are also available as
a downloadable runtime package.
WinMerge 2.6.0 and later versions require a new version of runtime libraries. When you update from older WinMerge versions using archive files, you need the new runtime files from the runtime package.
Archive files have the correct folder structure. WinMerge should be
unzipped preserving this folder structure in the destination folder. For
example, the root folder created under
C:\Program Files\ has the name,
can rename this folder or copy its files to another folder (preserving the
After the files are unzipped, WinMerge is ready to run! Shell integration and archive integration may need additional steps, as described in the next section.
If you do not use the install program and you want to enable Windows
Explorer shell integration, you must register the shell integration DLL
Installing shell integration requires Administrator user privileges.
First, uninstall the current shell integration version by running
unregister.bat from the WinMerge directory. Then
restart the computer so that Windows completes the uninstall.
To register the shell integration DLL
register.bat from the WinMerge directory. We recommend
that you restart the computer after installing shell integration, so that
Windows updates all its references.
Starting with Version 2.6, WinMerge supports Windows Explorer shell integration for 64-bit Windows versions. The WinMerge installer recognizes the 64-bit versions of Windows and can install the correct shell integration.
When you install shell integration manually from an archive file,
the shell integration DLL is named
ShellExtensionX64.dll. You can register and
unregister this file by using
unregister.bat, as with 32-bit versions.
WinMerge uses 7-Zip for archive support, but the WinMerge installer does not install 7-Zip or archive support. Installing the 7-Zip application is recommended but not required for archive support. The 7-Zip installer is available for downloading from 7-Zip.org.
There are 7-Zip MSI installers that do not install all the files
WinMerge needs (specifically,
WinMerge automatically detects an installed 7-zip in the system, so no configuration is needed.
7-zip integration needs a compatible
file in the WinMerge program directory, where
* is the
7-Zip version installed. For example, 7-Zip version 4.42 requires
Merge7z442.dll. And if
WinMergeU.exe (the Unicode version) is used, then
U is also added to filename, as in:
Merge7z442U.dll. If the required DLL file is missing
for any reason, you can copy it to the WinMerge directory, for example from
7z-Plugin archive that is available from the
WinMerge download page.
Merge7z*.dll file is missing, WinMerge
displays a message that includes the name of the missing file and the
recommended version of 7-Zip. You can also display this message by clicking
Help → Archive Support Disabled.
Merge7zInstaller is a stand-alone installer for
Installer file names may seem strange at first, but there is reason for them: they show the supported versions. The file name is formatted as
XXX is the build number,
YYY is the earliest 7-Zip version supported,
ZZZ is the latest 7-Zip version
means build version 14, support for 7-Zip versions 3.11 to 4.26.
This separate installer is much more flexible, because we can update it whenever 7-Zip is updated, and we don't add files to the base installer that users don't need.
If you want to know immediately when we release new versions, you can monitor our releases. You are then notified through e-mail of new releases when they happen.
Merge7zInstaller is simple:
Start the installer executable.
Select the installation type and the DLL files (supported 7-zip versions) to install:
- Shared installation
- Application specific installation
- Enable standalone operation