Setting up a Windows Ruby on Rails Environment


  1. install Ruby using the one click installer
    Note that 1.8.2-15 has a small problem, the Ruby Gems Package Manager shortcut does not work because it is pointing to ruby\bin\gemhelp.cmd which does not exist. To use the Ruby Gems Package Manager open a cmd window and then enter the gems command. Or you can create the gemhelp.cmd file which has only one line in it, cmd /k gem or download it from here.

Ruby on Rails
(see also Getting Started With Rails)

  1. install rails gem (and all its dependencies)
    gem install rails --remote
  2. when doing an upgrade I sometimes had to force it by doing an install of the version I wanted to upgrade to
    gem install --remote --version '0.13.1' rails

Salted Hash Login & Authentication Generator
(see also Salted Login Generator Quick Start)

  1. install salted login generator gem
    gem install --remote salted_login_generator
  2. install localization gem
    gem install --remote localization_generator
  3. Iconv is a library used for charset conversion and required by the Salted Hash Login Generator. Download this iconv package with simple installation instructions, unzip the package, and run the installer.
    Setup has detected Ruby at c:\devel\ruby
    and Windows/System32 at C:\WINDOWS/System32
    Install Iconv there? [yN] y
    cp c:\devel\ruby/lib/ruby/1.8/i386-mswin32
    cp iconv.dll C:\WINDOWS/System32
    cp charset.dll C:\WINDOWS/System32
    Installation successful.

    Update, the above iconv package link no longer works. Instead you have to follow the more laborious task of getting and installing it in ruby\lib\ruby\1.8\i386-mswin32 and getting iconv.dll and installing it in C:\WINDOWS\System32. More detailed instructions can be found on the iconv in Ruby on Rails page.

(see also RMagick Install FAQ)

  1. download latest RMagick Windows gem ZIP archive from
  2. unzip Windows gem archive
  3. go into unzipped directory and do a local gem install
    C:\tmp\RMagick-1.9.1-IM-6.2.3-win32>gem install RMagick-win32-1.9.2-mswin32.gem
  4. run post installer
    RMagick 1.9.2 win32 Post Installation (see enclosed README for license information)
    detecting available fonts, writing to config/type-windows.xml...ok.
    setting MAGICK_CONFIGURE_PATH to 'c:/devel/ruby/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/RMagick-win32-1.9.2-mswin32/config'.
    setting is only for current user.
    Copying 5 dlls to c:/devel/ruby/bin...done.
    all done.


  1. install MySQL 4.1 (use the Windows Essential installer)
  2. create tables, for example
    mysql -u fkim -p < zipcodes.sql

Excellent web based MySQL administration tool.

  1. download phpMyAdmin package
  2. unzip package and configure Apache to locate that package
  3. I use phpMyAdmin for administration tasks such as creating users and database

5 thoughts on “Setting up a Windows Ruby on Rails Environment

  1. Hi. Great article!

    I’d just like to point out that the latest One-Click Installer (1.8.4) obviates the need to install Iconv separately — it comes with it!

    Happy Rubying

  2. An update to the update: my iconv package link _does_ still work. This server has about 95% uptime, so if you can’t connect, wait 10 minutes and try again.

    In any case, the preferred option is to install the latest Ruby, 1.8.4, and avoid the need to get iconv separately.

  3. I’m trying to install Rails. After installing Ruby 1.8.2-15, I attempt to open RubyGems Package Manager but get the error, “can’t find gemhelp.cmd.” You mention that one fix is to “create the gemhelp.cmd file which has only one line in it, cmd /k gem.” Could you please let me know how to create this file? Thanks.

  4. I have uploaded my gemhelp.cmd file to this site and made it available via a link on this post.

  5. Pingback: Jamie

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