LLVM installer on Windows 10 64bit (and possibly others) claims to add self to path environment variable and to create a desktop shortcut but does neither.

This isn’t really a bug within LLVM itself, so I wasn’t sure where to report this and don’t have much reason to create an account right now either. So, I’m sending it here, hopefully not in error.

Basically, as the subject line says, the LLVM binary install for Windows 10 64 bit (and likely other Windows distributions too) fails to set up environment variables and the shortcut, contrary to what it claims to do.

In contrast, minutes before installing LLVM on this system, I installed CMake and that had no trouble at all modifying the path and creating a shortcut. Thus, the problem is very likely in the LLVM installer and not my system.

I also recall the installer failing to change the path a few years back on a Windows 7 laptop I tried and I had to do it manually then too.

While this issue is easily manually corrected, the existence of this bug in the install process is bound to decrease user retention among new inexperienced users significantly.

Many newbie programmers won’t be properly aware of how the path environment variable works and thus will just assume that Clang is bad/broken and not worth the trouble and then uninstall. So, this “trivial” issue actually probably has a big impact on Windows adoption among new users and needs fixed.

Every little bit of friction in a process and every bit of uncertainty a user may have in how to move forward with a system will always damage retention/adoption rates. These little details do matter, even though many big open source software projects neglect these kinds of usability and communcation details.

Anyway, have a great day/etc everyone.

PS: I love how much better Clang’s error messages are and how you can read the AST etc.

Oh, and this is LLVM 11 for 64 bit that I’m installing. I meant to include that bit of info before.

Hans/Reid - do you folks know who, if anyone, uis maintaining the Windows installers these days/whether they’d be interested in looking into this further?

Sorry for the late reply.

I just tried the 11.0.0 64-bit installer, and the option to add LLVM
to PATH does work for me.

I know that the install system we use (NSIS) has problems when the
existing PATH is long though. I believe it supports up to a maximum of
8192 characters. Could it be that you have a PATH which is longer than
this, and it doesn't work for this reason?

Regarding the desktop shortcut, I think the installer provides that
option because of how it's generated (NSIS installer generated by
CMake). The option doesn't really make sense since there's no useful
program to provide a shortcut to (which I guess is why it doesn't
work), but I haven't been able to find a way to remove that checkbox.

(If you're curious, this is where the installer gets configured:
llvm-project/CMakeLists.txt at llvmorg-11.0.0 · llvm/llvm-project · GitHub)