Installing on Windows

Supported platforms

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11 and newer


To develop applications using GStreamer for Windows we recommend using Windows 10 or newer with Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 or newer. Older versions of each may also work, but they are not recommended.

GStreamer package includes C headers (.h) and library files (.lib) valid for any version of Microsoft Visual Studio. For convenience, property pages (.props) are also included which extremely simplify creating new projects.

Download and install GStreamer binaries

There are 3 sets of files in GStreamer binaries:

  • The runtime files are needed to run GStreamer applications. You probably want to distribute these files with your application (or the installer below).
  • The development files are additional files you need at build-time to create GStreamer applications.
  • The Merge Modules files are additional files you can use to deploy GStreamer binaries alongside your application (see Windows deployment).

Get both the Runtime and Development installers appropriate for your architecture from the GStreamer download page.

If in doubt, download the 64-bit MSVC packages:

  • Runtime installer: e.g. gstreamer-1.0-msvc-x86_64-{VERSION}.msi
  • Development files installer: e.g. gstreamer-1.0-devel-msvc-x86_64-{VERSION}.msi

Execute the installers and choose an installation folder. The suggested default is usually OK.

Warning If you plan to use Visual Studio, close it before installing GStreamer. The installer will define new environment variables which will not be picked up by Visual Studio if it is open.

On Windows 8 and Windows 10, it might be necessary to log out and log back in to your account after the installation for the newly defined environment variables to be picked up by Visual Studio.

It is the application's responsibility to ensure that, at runtime, GStreamer can access its libraries and plugins. It can be done by adding %GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86%\bin to the PATH environment variable, or by running the application from this same folder.

How to do this: Windows start icon > Search "environment variables" > Edit the system environment variables (will open System Properties)

Environment Variables > System variables > Variable :Path > Edit > New > Paste "C:\gstreamer\1.0\msvc_x86_64\bin" > OK

At runtime, GStreamer will look for its plugins in the following folders:

  • %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEFOLDER%/.gstreamer-1.0/plugins
  • C:\gstreamer\1.0\x86\lib\gstreamer-1.0
  • <location of gstreamer-1.0-0.dll>\..\lib\gstreamer-1.0

So, typically, if your application can find gstreamer-1.0-0.dll, it will find the GStreamer plugins, as long as the installation folder structure is unmodified. If you do change this structure in your application, then you can use the GST_PLUGIN_PATH environment variable to point GStreamer to its plugins. The plugins are initially found at %GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86%\lib\gstreamer-1.0.

Additionally, if you want to prevent GStreamer from looking in all the default folders listed above, you can set the GST_PLUGIN_SYSTEM_PATH environment variable to point where the plugins are located.

Configure your development environment

NOTE: these instructions are out of date, exercise caution while following them

Building the tutorials

The tutorials code, along with project files and a solution file for Visual Studio 2010, are in the gst-docs in the examples/tutorials folder.

In order to prevent accidental modification of the original code, and to make sure Visual Studio has the necessary permissions to write the output files, copy the entire tutorials folder to a place of your liking, and work from there.

Information 64-bit Users

Use the GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86_64 environment variable if you have installed GStreamer binaries for 64-bit platforms. Both GStreamer packages (32 and 64-bit) can be installed simultaneously, hence the separate environment variables.

Make sure you select the Solution Configuration that matches GStreamer that you have installed: Win32 for 32-bit or x64 for 64-bit.

Windows Install Configuration

You can launch Visual Studio 2010 and load your copy of the tutorials.sln solution file (Click on the screen shots to enlarge them).

Hit F7, press the Build Solution button or go to Build → Build Solution. All projects should build without problems.

Running the tutorials

In order to run the tutorials, we will set the current working directory to %GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86%\bin in the Debugging section of the project properties. This property is not stored in the project files, so you will need to manually add it to every tutorial you want to run from within Visual Studio. Right click on a project in the Solution Explorer, Properties → Debugging → Working Directory, and type $(GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86)\bin.

(The $(...) notation is required to access environment variables from within Visual Studio property pages. You use the %...% notation in Windows Explorer and in CMD scripts.)

You should now be able to run the tutorials.

Creating new projects manually

If you want to create 64-bit applications, remember also to create x64 Solution and Project configurations as explained here.

Include the necessary GStreamer Property Sheet

The included property sheets make creating new projects extremely easy. In Visual Studio 2010 create a new project (Normally a Win32 Console or Win32 Application). Then go to the Property Manager (View→Property Manager), right-click on your project and select “Add Existing Property Sheet...”.

In Visual Studio 2017, the property manager can be found in View→Other Windows→Property Manager

Navigate to %GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86%\share\vs\2010\libs and load gstreamer-1.0.props.

This property sheet contains the directories where the headers and libraries are located, and the necessary options for the compiler and linker, so you do not need to change anything else in your project.

If you cannot find the Property Manager, you might need to enable Expert Settings. Go to Tools → Settings → Expert Settings. Upon first installation of Visual Studio, Expert Settings are disabled by default.

Warning Depending on the GStreamer libraries you need to use, you will have to add more property pages, besides gstreamer-1.0 (each property page corresponds to one GStreamer library).

The tutorial's project files already contain all necessary property pages. When developing your own applications, the GStreamer documentation will tell you what library a function belongs to, and therefore, what property pages you need to add.

Remove the dependency with the Visual Studio runtime

At this point, you have a working environment, which you can test by running the tutorials. However, there is a last step remaining.

Applications built with Visual C++ 2010 depend on the Visual C++ 2010 Runtime, which is a DLL that gets installed when you install Visual Studio. If you were to distribute your application, you would need to distribute this DLL with it (e.g. via the Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package). This happens with every version of Visual Studio, and the Runtime DLL is different for every version of Visual Studio.

Furthermore, GStreamer itself is built using a “basic” C runtime which comes in every Windows system since Windows XP, and is named MSVCRT.DLL. If your application and GStreamer do not use the same C Runtime, problems are bound to crop out.

In order to avoid these issues you must instruct your application to use the system's C Runtime. First install the Windows Device Driver Kit Version 7.1.0 (DDK). When the installer asks about the features, select only “Build Environments”. Accept the suggested location for the installation, which is usually C:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1. This download is an ISO file, you can either burn a DVD with it (as recommended in the Microsoft site. You will need DVD burning software), mount the file in a virtual DVD device (you will need DVD virtualization software) or unpack the file as if it was a regular compressed file (you will need decompression software that understands the ISO format).

Then, add the x86.props or x86_64.props (for 32 or 64 bits) property sheet found in %GSTREAMER_ROOT_X86%\share\vs\2010\msvc to your project. This will make your application use the ubiquitous MSVCRT.DLL saving you from some troubles in the future.

Information If you did not install the WinDDK to the standard path C:\WinDDK\7600.16385.1, you will need to tell Visual Studio where it is. Unfortunately, there is no automated way to do this. Once you have added the x86.props or x86_64.props to your project, go to the Property Manager, expand your project and its subfolders until you find the property sheet called config. Double click to edit it, and select the section called “User Macros” in the list on the left. You should see a macro called WINDOWS_DRIVER_KIT. Double click to edit it, and set its value to the root folder where you installed the DDK. This is the folder containing a file called samples.txt.

That's it. Accept the changes, right click on the config property sheet and select “Save”. The path to the DDK is now stored in config.props and you do not need to perform this operation anymore.

Creating new projects using the wizard

Go to File → New → Project… and you should find a template named GStreamer Project. It takes no parameters, and sets all necessary project settings, both for 32 and 64 bits architectures.

The generated project file includes the two required Property Sheets described in the previous section, so, in order to link to the correct MSVCRT.DLL, you still need to install the Windows Device Driver Kit and change the appropriate property sheets.

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