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cx_Freeze / doc / overview.rst

Using cx_Freeze

There are three different ways to use cx_Freeze. The first is to use the included :ref:`cxfreeze script <script>`, which works well for simple scripts. The second is to create a :ref:`distutils setup script <distutils>`, which can be used for more complicated configuration or to retain the configuration for future use. The third method involves working directly with the classes and modules used internally by cx_Freeze, and should be reserved for complicated scripts or extending or embedding.

There are three different options for producing executables as well. The first, and the only option in earlier versions of cx_Freeze, is to append the zip file of modules to the executable itself. The second option is creating a private zip file with the same name as the executable but with the extension .zip. The final, default option is to create a zip file called library.zip and place all modules in this zip file. The final two options are necessary when creating an RPM since the RPM builder automatically strips executables.

cx_Freeze normally produces a folder containing an executable file for your program, along with the shared libraries (DLLs or .so files) needed to run it. You can make a simple Windows installer using a :ref:`setup script <distutils>` with the bdist_msi option, or a Mac disk image with bdist_dmg. For a more advanced Windows installer, use a separate tool like Inno Setup to package the files cx_Freeze collects.

Using data files

Applications often need data files besides the code, such as icons. Using a :ref:`setup script <distutils>`, you can list data files or directories in the include_files option to build_exe. They'll be copied to the build directory alongside the executable. Then to find them, your code can do:

appdir = os.path.dirname(sys.argv[0])
data_file_name = os.path.join(appdir, "some_data_directory",
        "some_file.dat")

An alternative is to embed data in code, for example by using Qt's resource system.

Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package

Since Python 2.6, Python on Windows requires the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package. Its DLLs are stored in a different way from most DLLs, and cx_Freeze doesn't currently automatically copy them, (for technical details, see this mailing list thread). You have two options to deal with this:

  1. Get your users to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (free download, for x86 (32 bit) Windows or for x64 (64 bit) Windows). It's not uncommon for this to already be present on modern computers, but it's not (as far as we know) part of a standard Windows installation. Note that the "SP1" version of this does not work -- it has to exactly match the version which Python itself is compiled with.

  2. Copy the following files from your system to the directory where cx_Freeze has assembled your files. You are responsible for making sure that you have the right to redistribute them:

    C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\Manifests\x86_Microsoft.VC90.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.21022.8_x-ww_d08d0375.manifest
    C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\x86_Microsoft.VC90.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.21022.8_x-ww_d08d0375\msvcm90.dll
    C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\x86_Microsoft.VC90.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.21022.8_x-ww_d08d0375\msvcp90.dll
    C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\x86_Microsoft.VC90.CRT_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.21022.8_x-ww_d08d0375\msvcr90.dll
    
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