PRC-Tools Installation

This page gives interactive instructions for the installation of the PRC-Tools Version 2.1 Palm software compiler.

Read this information now. Come back to the page when you are ready to install the PRD-Tools and are prepared to follow these instructions through the installation process. It could take quite a while to do it all. Especially if you are on a dial-up internet connection.

First you need to know about the Palm OS Pages.
This page is constantly changing so you will have to find information by browsing. You should find a tab on the top entitled Developers. Go there.
You should then find a 'Getting Started' reference. Go there.
You should then find a URL which refers to PRC Tools. Go there.

This information is for PRC-Tools 2.0. You can continue with these instruction. But I suggest you do not, instead follow the instruction below. The problem is that Palm is not yet supporting PRC-Tools 2.1, and you really need this new version. Also the instructions for installing PRC-Tool are in general very old.

Installing PRC-Tools 2.1

The main installation instruction page is Installing prc-tools on Windows.
In general this page has the instructions you need. However there are just too many details missing.
I suggest you read this through them, and then follow the detailed instructions below.
You will need to come back to this page later so remember its URL.

Preparing for Installation

You need two major directories.
1) One to hold Cygwin -- a UNIX simulator. It is available from the Cygnus Project. The PRC-Tools are for many reasons designed to run on UNIX (or Linux).
2) One to hold PRC-Tools.

You can create these directories with any names you want and in any partition of your hard drive(s), and in any sub-directory such as Program Files etc.

I choose to put mine on drive D:

  1. D:\Cygwin -- and a sub-directory
  2. D:\PalmDev -- and a sub-directory
The ...Download directories are to hold downloaded compressed files.
Set up your directories now.

Getting the Cygwin Software

  1. Go to
    Look for an icon: "Install Cygwin Now" and click on it.
    This will only download a small program called: setup.exe.
  2. Run: setup.exe.
  3. You will get a dialog box: Press: Next.
  4. At this point you can choose to either install it from the internet, or save the files and then install them from the saved file (Local Directory) later.
    This assumes you will do it from the internet now. Press: Next.
  5. Browse to find your Cygwin directory.
    Set the Default File Type to be DOS, and (I guess) Install For doesn't matter. Press: Next.
  6. Browse to find your Cygwin/Download directory. Press: Next.
  7. I assume you will choose: Direct Connection. Press: Next.
  8. Select a mirror site from which to download. Press: Next.
  9. Next you will get a Select Packages to Install menu.
    There are no instruction on what to do, but you will soon learn that this is set up very well.
    Click on: Base.
    You will see nothing listed in the Current column, and version numbers in the New column.
    At a later time when you come back it will tell you the version you have already downloaded in the Current column and the word Keep in the New column.
    Nothing is checked in the New column of all the other menus, so if you do nothing it will download all of the files in Base.
    But wait before you press Next -- unless you want to come back later.
  10. You need to have additional programs: make and bzip2.
    Click the Devel menu and then click Skip in front of make -- you need to click it 2 times since you don't want the source (at least now).
  11. Do the same for the Utils menu and select bzip2.
  12. You are ready to get Cygwin. Press: Next.
    This will install Cygwin.
This ends your need for the Cygwin web page.

Check out Cygwin. You will get a UNIX command line prompt.

Getting the PRC-Tools

  1. Go back to the Installing prc-tools on Windows page. Go to Step 4, and follow the instruction for Step 4 and 5.
    Note: In Step 5 its says: (Thanks to a little bit of magic, this also gives you the option of installing PilRC.) -- well the magic seems to have failed.
  2. To get PilRC click on the reference in that message. (PilRC). Then go to Download. I unzipped it into D:\PalmDev\PilRC.
  3. Step 6 discusses setting up your autoexec.bat to have your Windows PATH set up. This is not complete.
    Edit your C:\autoexec.bat file to add both Cygwin/bin and PalmDev/bin to your PATH.
    Typically this is done by: PATH=%path%;D:\Cygwin\bin;D:\PalmDev\bin
    Of course, use your names for D:\Cygwin\bin and D:\PalmDev\bin -- not mine.
    You will have to re-run autoexec.bat to have the PATH to take effect. It is probably best to reboot.
Your base PRC-Tools installation in now complete.

Step 7 of Installing prc-tools on Windows says: "Install a Palm OS SDK and you're ready to go".
Actually your ready to go now. But, you will eventually want to get additional Palm SDK's.

The following is my directory structure:

The PRC-Tools have supplied three SDK's -- sdk-1, sdk-2, sdk-3.1.
sdk-3.1 is fine to start with.

You also need to get the SDK documentation from

Trying out PRC-Tools

To test out your newly installed PRC-Tools I have provided a simple "Hello World" source. Get Hello World. Unzip it to a directory, open a MS-DOS window, cd to it and enter: make. If all goes well it should create: hello.prc.

If you get an error message something like: "The MAKE.EXE file is linked to missing export CYGWIN1.DLL:_ctype_" you need to go back to, click on Snapshot, look for cygwin1-*.dll.bz2 (where * is a numeric date) and download it. Then in a Cygwin window enter: bunzip2 cygwin1-*.dll.bz2 where * is the actual date.
That will install the newest cygwin1.dll and all should be working.

To actually test out your Hello World you will need to go back to and get the emulators. Of course you could install it in your real Palm.

Congratulations you are now ready to create your own Palm applications. You can use hello.c as a template to build upon.

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