Some of the Python scripts provided with MRtrix3 are dependent on external software tools (for instance FSL). If these packages are not available on Windows, then the corresponding MRtrix3 scripts also cannot be run on Windows. A virtual machine may therefore be required in order to use these particular scripts; though MRtrix3 may still be installed natively on Windows for other tasks.
To install MRtrix3, you will need the following:
- a C++11 compliant compiler
- Python version >= 2.7
- The zlib compression library
- Eigen version >= 3.2
- Qt version >= 4.7 [GUI components only]
- libTIFF version >= 4.0 (for TIFF support)
- FFTW version >= 3.0 (for improved performance in
certain applications, currently only
All of these dependencies are installed below by the MSYS2 package manager.
To run the GUI components of MRtrix3 (
shview), you will also need:
- an OpenGL 3.3 compliant graphics card and corresponding software driver
When following the instructions below, use the ‘MinGW-w64 Win64 shell’; ‘MSYS2 shell’ and ‘MinGW-w64 Win32 shell’ should be avoided.
Install and update MSYS2¶
Run the program ‘MinGW-w64 Win64 Shell’ from the start menu.
Update the system packages, as per the instructions:
Close the terminal, start a new ‘MinGW-w64 Win64 Shell’, and repeat as necessary until no further packages are updated.
At time of writing, this MSYS2 system update will give a number of instructions, including: terminating the terminal when the update is completed, and modifying the shortcuts for executing the shell(s). Although these instructions are not as prominent as they could be, it is vital that they are followed correctly!
Install MRtrix3 dependencies¶
From the ‘MinGW-w64 Win64 Shell’ run:
pacman -S git python pkg-config mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-eigen3 mingw-w64-x86_64-qt5 mingw-w64-x86_64-fftw mingw-w64-x86_64-libtiff
pacmanmay fail to find a particular package from any of the available mirrors. If this occurs, you can download the relevant package from SourceForge: place both the package file and corresponding .sig file into the
/var/cache/pacman/pkgdirectory, and repeat the
pacmanmay refuse to install a particular package, claiming e.g.:
error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files) mingw-w64-x86_64-eigen3: /mingw64 exists in filesystem Errors occurred, no packages were upgraded.
Firstly, if the offending existing target is something trivial that can be deleted, this is all that should be required. Otherwise, it is possible that MSYS2 may mistake a _file_ existing on the filesystem as a pre-existing _directory_; a good example is that quoted above, where
pacmanclaims that directory
/mingw64exists, but it is in fact the two files
/mingw64.inithat cause the issue. Temporarily renaming these two files, then changing their names back after
pacmanhas completed the installation, should solve the problem.
If you intend to contribute to the development of MRtrix3, set up your git environment as per the Git instructions page
Clone the MRtrix3 repository:
git clone https://github.com/MRtrix3/mrtrix3.git
or if you have set up your SSH keys (for contributors):
git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:MRtrix3/mrtrix3.git
Configure the MRtrix3 install:
cd mrtrix3 ./configure
If this does not work, examine the ‘configure.log’ file that is generated by this step, it may give clues as to what went wrong.
Build the binaries:
Set up MRtrix3¶
Update the shell startup file, so that the shell can locate the MRtrix3 commands and scripts, by adding the
bin/folder to your
If you are not familiar or comfortable with modification of shell files, MRtrix3 provides a convenience script that will perform this setup for you (assuming that you are using
bashor equivalent interpreter). From the top level MRtrix3 directory, run the following:
Close the terminal and start another one to ensure the startup file is read (or just type ‘bash’)
mrviewto check that everything works
You may also want to have a look through the List of MRtrix3 configuration file options and set anything you think might be required on your system.
Keeping MRtrix3 up to date¶
You can update your installation at any time by typing:
git pull ./build
If this doesn’t work immediately, it may be that you need to re-run the configure script:
and re-run step 1 again.
Compiling external projects with
ln -s command actually creates a copy of the
target, not a symbolic link. By doing so, the build script is unable
to identify the location of the MRtrix libraries when trying to compile
an external module.
The simplest way around this is simply to invoke the build script of the main
MRtrix3 install directly. For example, if compiling an external project called
myproject, residing in a folder alongside the main
mrtrix3 folder, the
build script can be invoked with:
# current working directory is 'myproject': ../mrtrix3/build
If you really want a symbolic link, one solution is to use a standard Windows
command prompt, with Administrator privileges: In the file explorer, go to
C:\Windows\system32, locate the file
cmd.exe, right-click and
select ‘Run as administrator’. Within this prompt, use the
command (note that the argument order passed to
mklink is reversed
with respect to
ln -s; i.e. provide the location of the link, then
the target). Make sure that you provide the full path to both link and
mklink C:\msys64\home\username\src\my_project\build C:\msys64\home\username\src\MRtrix3\build
msys64 should be able to interpret the softlink path correctly
I have also found recently that the build script will not correctly detect use of a softlink for compiling an external project when run under Python2, so Python3 must be used explicitly.