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GNU Backgammon for Windows
How to get started

This is about GNU Backgammon for Windows!
(Win 95, Win 98, Win ME, Win NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP)

(this page is under construction)

  1. I don't have GNU Backgammon for Windows on my PC.
    How do I install gnubg?
  2. I have an older version of GNU Backgammon for Windows.
    How do I upgrade?
    1. I don't care about the preferences I have right now.
    2. I want to _keep_ my preferences!
  3. I have a recent version of GNU Backgammon for Windows.
    I downloaded the Most Recent Build (latest build)
    What do I have to do to use the Most Recent Build?
  4. I installed GNU Backgammon for Windows
    I installed the Most Recent Build (latest build)
    But I get "can't find xyz.DLL"
    Where do  I find those DLLs?
  5. GNU Backgammon for Windows runs smoothly! But....
    Where do I find a neat manual?
  6. I installed (or upgraded) the Installation Archive. But... (for whatever reason):
    I want to run an _older_ version of GNU Backgammon for Windows
  7. (more to come)

1. How do I install gnubg for the first time?

Download and install the Installation Archive from Řystein.

a. Download

You find the Installation archive at Řystein's site: (opens in new page)
And while you are there... take a look at what you will get!

Under 'Download', look for Installation archive
Click on the link (or right-click, 'Save as...') and save the file "setup.exe" to your PC (13 MB)
Either store it on your desktop or in a folder/directory you can easily remember (you will have to run that setup file ;-))

Once downloaded, you have to install The Installation Archive "setup.exe" 

b. Install

Either double click 'setup.exe' on your Desktop,
or (if you chose another folder/directory to save the Installation Archive)
Browse to the folder where you saved setup.exe, and double click on setup.exe

During installation, write down the path (directory; folder)  the Installation Archive uses.
(for instance: C:\Program Files\gnubg).
When you keep the default path, this isn't really needed, but it can be useful later on!

There is an Uninstall included if you want to uninstall the program later.
(Configuration, Add/Remove Programs... look for GNU Backgammon)

That's it!

You have a fully functional GNU Backgammon for Windows ready to be used.

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2. How do I upgrade?

You should upgrade if the version you are running is older than 030701 (July 1st, 2003)

a. I don't care about the preferences I have right now.

When you have a running version of GNU Backgammon for Windows
and you installed that one using 'setup.exe' (the 'Installation Archive' of  Řystein),
you can uninstall that version like any other program under Windows (Add/Remove Programs).

The original installed files will be deleted, but not the files and/or matches you saved/created.
The directories you created afterwards, the matches you saved in those directories... those will still be there.

So first uninstall the installed version. Then run the latest 'Installation Archive' of Řystein.
However: some files will be overwritten and your preferred settings (saved when you do Settings/Save Settings) won't be there anymore.

You also might consider - after installing the upgrade - to get the latest build of gnubg.
That way you will have the most recent version of gnubg (and gnubg-nogui).
Look under 3. What do I have to do to use the Most Recent Build? to see how this is done.

b. I want to _keep_ my preferences!

There are files that can be overwritten when you uninstall your current version of gnubg and install the new one.

Before doing anything, these files must be copied so you can put them back after installing the updated version.

Look for the following files:
.gnubgrc (don't worry when you don't see this one)
\.gnubg\boards.xml (notice the ' . ' between ' \ ' and ' gnubg ' )

and the folder
\sounds (when you replaced gnubg's sounds with your own)

Copy these files into another folder or (yes, why not?) to a floppy disk
Once you copied them, proceed as described under a. I don't care about the preferences I have right now.
And when you have installed the updated version, copy your personal files back into the gnubg installation folder.

Remark: When you don't see the file extensions (.exe, .xml, .dll, ...), you can change your Viewing Options.
Open My Computer (or Explorer), Tools / Folder Options, choose the View tab.
Find 'Hide File Extensions for Known File Types' (one of the first items) and UNcheck its box.

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3. What do I have to do to use the Most Recent Build?

You did install Řystein's Installation Archive?
If not, jump to 1. How do I install gnubg for the first time?  and come back here afterwards.

Choose the Most Recent Build(s) you want to download.

There is a 'Old Layout' build (GTK + GUI, but no Panels, no 3D), called gnubg-old (2. a.)

There is a 'normal' build (GTK+ GUI + 3D), called gnubg (2. b.)
Most likely this is the one you are looking for. Especially if the other builds don't ring a bell.
But you will also need to download the 3D Package.

There is a CLI build (Command Line Interpreter, no graphical interface with this one), called gnubg-nogui (2. c.)

(When you are looking for the NoFreeType build, it is abandoned. There isn't a problem anymore with the normal gnubg build.)

Before downloading the build(s), please make a backup of your existing gnubg.exe (and/or gnubg-nogui.exe).
The 'how to' is explained on the webpage with the latest builds under Look Here!

Once downloaded, double click (or run) that file.
It's a self extracting archive and it will extract (and overwrite!) the gnubg executable to {program files}/gnubg.

{program files} is the default directory on your PC where Windows installs programs.
Thus the path you will see in the extraction window most likely is the installation directory of GNU Backgammon for Windows.
However, when you installed gnubg in another folder, you will need to change that path.
If you changed the default path, you did write it down, yes? (look here

4. Where do I find those DLL's?

The page with all DLLs can be found here:
DLLs for recent builds

Weights, boards.xml, ... are also on that page ;-)

5. Where do I find a neat manual?

Did you try Albert's "All About GNU"?
It tells you step by step how to start using gnubg!

HTML version (opens in a new page) 

PDF version (1 MB) (opens in a new page) 

And this is the official manual from the gnubg developers team:
GNU Backgammon (opens in a new page) 

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updated: June 29th, 2003