The Arduino software that you will use to program your Arduino is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The installation process is different for all three platforms and unfortunately there is a certain amount of manual work to install the software. There is no installer program, but rather you have to unzip a folder which gives you an Arduino folder that contains the Arduino program and a few other items.

In a separate step, you must then install USB drivers, which is the only bit that is a bit fiddly.

Get started by visiting the website. As of April 2014 we suggest v1.05 as 1.5 is still in beta. If 1.5 is no longer in beta when you read this you can try it out!

Start by downloading the the zip file for Windows. There is only one version of the software, whether you are using Windows XP through to Windows 7.

When the zip file has downloaded, extract the contents onto the Desktop, by right-clicking on the file and selecting 'Extract All...' from the pop-up menu.

Next select your Desktop and click 'Extract'. You can move it somewhere else onto your computer later, just by moving the folder, but for now, just keep it on the Desktop.

The Arduino folder contains both the Arduino program itself and also the drivers that allow the Arduino to be connected to your computer by a USB cable. Before we launch the Arduino software, you are going to install the USB drivers.

Plug one end of your USB cable into the Arduino and the other into a USB socket on your computer. The power light on the LED will light up and you may get a 'Found New Hardware' message from Windows. Ignore this message and cancel any attempts that Windows makes to try and install drivers automatically for you.

The most reliable method of installing the USB drivers is to use the Device Manager. This is accessed in different ways depending on your version of Windows. In Windows 7, you first have to open the Control Panel, then select the option to view Icons, and you should find the Device Manager in the list.

Under the section ‘Other Devices’ you should see an icon for ‘unknown device’ with a little yellow warning triangle next to it. This is your Arduino.

Right-click on the device and select the top menu option (Update Driver Software...). You will then be prompted to either ‘Search Automatically for updated driver software’ or ‘Browse my computer for driver software’. Select the option to browse and navigate to the arduino-1.0.2-windows\arduino1.0.2\drivers.

Click 'Next' and you may get a security warning, if so, allow the software to be installed. Once the software has been installed, you will get a confirmation message.

That's it, you are now ready for action, so Skip the next section on installation on Mac and Linux and move straight on to 'Boards and Ports'.

This guide was first published on Feb 28, 2013. It was last updated on Nov 12, 2012.

This page (Installing Arduino (Windows)) was last updated on Nov 12, 2012.

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