How to Install Perl on a Windows System

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Download ActivePerl from ActiveState

Download ActivePerl from ActiveState

ActivePerl is a distribution - or pre-configured, ready-to-install package - of Perl. It is also one of the best (and easiest) installations of Perl for Microsoft Windows systems.

Before we can install Perl on your windows system, you'll need to download it. Go to ActiveState's ActivePerl home page (ActiveState is Click on 'Free Download'. There is no need to fill out any of the contact information on the next page in order to download ActivePerl. Click 'Next' when you're ready, and on the download page, scroll down the list to find the Windows distribution. To download it, right-click on the MSI (Microsoft Installer) file and choose 'Save As'. Save the MSI file to your desktop.

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Starting the Installation

Once you've downloaded the ActivePerl MSI file and it's on your desktop, you're ready to begin the installation process. Double-click on the file to start.

The first screen is just a splash or welcome screen. When you're ready to continue, click on the Next > button and proceed to the EULA.

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The End-User Licence Agreement (EULA)

The EULA (End-User License Agreement) is basically a legal document explaining your rights and restrictions as they pertain to ActivePerl. When you're done reading the EULA you'll need to select the option 'I accept the terms in the License Agreement' and then

Read the End-User License Agreement, select 'I accept the terms in the License Agreement' click on the Next > button to proceed.

Want to find out more about EULAs?

  • EULA - From Jacci Howard Bear, Your Guide to Desktop Publishing.
  • Know Your Rights and Restrictions. Read the EULA. - From Sue Chastain, Your Guide to Graphics Software.
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Choose the Components to Install

On this screen, you can choose the actual components you want to install. The only two that are required are Perl itself, and the Perl Package Manager (PPM). Without those, you wouldn't have an effective installation.

The Documentation and Examples are totally optional but contain some great reference if you're just starting out and want to explore. You can also change the default installation directory for the components on this screen. When you have all your optional components selected, click on the Next > button to proceed.

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Choose the Extra Options

Here you can select any setup options you'd like. I would recommend leaving this screen set as it is unless you know exactly what you're doing. If you're doing Perl development on the system, you will want Perl in the path, and all Perl files to be associated with the interpreter.

Make your optional selections and click on the Next > button to proceed.

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Last Chance for Changes

This is your last chance to go back and correct anything you might have missed. You can step back through the process by clicking the < Back button, or click on the Next > button to proceed with the actual installation. The installation process can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the speed of your machine - at this point, all you can do is wait for it to finish.

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Completing the Installation

When ActivePerl is done installing, this final screen will come up letting you know that the process is over. If you don't want to read the release notes, make sure you uncheck 'Display Release Notes'. From here, just click on Finish and you're done.

Next, you'll want to test your Perl installation with a simple 'Hello World' program.