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Rails Installer: Ruby and Rails on Windows in a Single, Easy Install

By Peter Cooper / January 18, 2011

railsinstaller.pngRailsInstaller is a new project from Wayne E Seguin (of RVM fame) that brings RubyInstaller-style simplicity to getting Ruby and Rails set up on Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, or 7). In a single wizard-driven installation you get Ruby 1.8.7-p330 (with DevKit), Rails 3.0.3, Git, and SQLite 3.

Rails Installer was developed with help from Luis Lavena (a Ruby on Windows expert) and Dr. Nic Williams (Engine Yard's resident Australian comedian) and its release comes just weeks after Wayne was (re)hired by Engine Yard to work on new open source initiatives.

To get started, go to, download the "Rails Welcome Kit" and run the installer. There's a screencast you can watch too. The process is as simple as it sounds and you can have a basic, empty Rails project running within minutes.

If you want to follow along more, check out the @RailsInstaller Twitter account or the Rails Installer Google Group / mailing list.

Like RVM? Do Wayne a Favor..!

I've been speaking to Wayne and in the long term he will extend the RailsInstaller site with more information on where to go next and links to tutorials, etc, but for now he wants to be the #1 "go to" site for budding Windows-based Rails developers. To help with this, he's keen for people to link to with the text Rails Windows Installer - making it more likely to come up if people Google for "rails windows" and similar.

Wayne is also keen for you to share Rails Installer with any/all Windows-based developers you know who might be interested in trying out Rails. A one-file, wizard driven installation process makes it look a lot better than the previous "download this, type that, download this, open that" process.

If you're interested in the source code behind the project and helping out at that level, there's the railsinstaller-windows project on GitHub you can check out too.

Ruby 1.9.2 Next, Please ;-)

I have only one complaint about RailsInstaller; it's Ruby 1.8.7 only (for now) but 1.9 is where it's at in 2011, especially for Rails 3! Nonetheless, I suspect further and more varied packages will be coming in due course. If you care that much about it in the short term, of course, you can use RubyInstaller 1.9.2 and install Rails by yourself the long way ;-)


  1. Tots says:

    If he could create an installation that would make configuring Rails to work with IIS7 simple, he would have a winner. I got a few clients that refuse to move from Windows server, who don't wish to use Apache, so IIS7 configuration would be killer.

  2. Luis Lavena says:

    Hello Tots,

    There was a FastCGI interface for IIS that allowed you run Rails applications using it, but seems that part has been dead for a bit.

    I don't personally use IIS, but believe that for successful infiltration into these environments, getting seamless cooperation with IIS is a must.

    I think this can be tested out with IIS Express, but I'm not sure.

    Of course, research, help and test lab mice are welcome ;-)

    Start the conversation at RailsInstaller group:

  3. Drew says:

    I recently got a new computer at work (upgrade from win vista 32bit to win 7 64bit) and after installing the newest patch level of 1.8.7 (330), I was having issues with the rails logging giving me ERRNO out of memory errors where the previous patch level (302) had no difficulty. So it would be great, if he is watching this thread, if he could package 302 instead of 330. This looks like a great tool for getting up and running on windows quickly!

  4. Luis Lavena says:


    Can you please provide more details about your issue? Getting ERRNO errors might be associated with something else, not the patchlevel.

    I've been using p330 without any issue with Rails 3.0.3 and other projects on Windows, so wonder when and how these things are showing in your front.

    Can you please comment further on either RubyInstaler group (which I guess you used RubyInstaller package) or RailsInstaller package once you try it?

    Thank you.

  5. Bryan says:

    Ruby 1.8.7?

    Why not Ruby 1.9.2? People need to be moving forward. Especially on Windows...

  6. Peter Cooper says:

    On the #rvm Brian Hogan pointed out to be that a lot of stuff is broken on Windows with 1.9.2 library-wise, alas. He mentioned things like installing ImageMagick. I've not tested this myself but if true, that sucks.

  7. Luis Lavena says:

    @Bryan and @Peter,

    Yeah, a few things are broken with Ruby 1.9.2, specially the lack of binary gems for Windows.

    There is another point nobody mention, but Ruby 1.9.2 is slower than 1.8.7 on IO:

    Which has been fixed in trunk (1.9.3)

    While I understand the reason of move to next generation Ruby, there are a few pebbles in the shoe :P

  8. Patrick Ma says:

    It's great that it's getting easier to install Rails on a Windows environment, but that's only half the battle, and I'm curious to know why this installer doesn't include RVM, one of the core applications of a Rails development stack.

  9. Peter Cooper says:

    Patrick: I don't think RVM works natively on Windows..? (But there is Pik which does similar.)

  10. Matt Slay says:

    I think that the Windows folks (like me), need some guidance on choosing an IDE to edit that first "rails new" sample app that the video guides them through. Leaving a Windows developer sitting at a terminal windows after creating their first app will surely have them scratching their head as to what the need to do next. Windows devs love IDEs. They will want that to take a peek at the code files that make up the Rails app, and they'll be lost. They are not terminal junkies like Linux and Mac devs. (By the way, I strongly recommend RubyMine. It's a GREATE IDE, in my opinion).

    I'm going to guess thay many Rails-on-Windows devs may have used Visual Studio (or the Express edition), and they will want that UI experience.

  11. Peter Cooper says:

    @Matt Slay: I made a video for my Ruby course that covers the basics of that: - totally for newbies though and not ones who want a full-scale IDE (which I think is too intimidating for newcomers and, well, most experienced Ruby developers don't use them anyway).

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  13. Owen says:

    This is a great initiative, Windows is still the primary OS in The Enterprise.

    One small issue: If you don't select the default directory, you get this error in Windows 7:

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