Installation issues

VCRUNTIME140.dll was not found

This message will sometimes occur when starting the Recoll GUI for the first time after installation. I need to fix the installation, but, meanwhile, you can download and install vc_redist.x86.exe from the following microsoft support page

Python missing dll issue

It may happen that you get something similar to the following screenshot while indexing. This is a known issue with the Microsoft toolchain used to generate the official Python executable bundled with the Recoll installation. It should only occur on older Windows versions (not on Windows 10). Sorry about the French messages, the important part is the dll name.

recoll python dll

If you get this, it is essential to fix the problem, else the contents of most types of documents (e.g. PDF, MS-Word) will not be indexed..

Please follow the instructions on this page on the Microsoft support site.

Using an alternate configuration directory

This tip is useful if you want to manage several configurations, or if you really have some reason to not let the configuration directory stay in its default location ($HOMEDIR/AppData/Local/Recoll). If your concern is only about storage space, and you do not actually want to manage multiple configuration directories, you can more simply change the index storage location from the GUI Index Configuration panel, Database directory name section.

If you really need separate configurations, the easiest approach is to create a shortcut on the desktop and have it start the GUI with a '-c' option. For example, set the shortcut’s 'Target' to something like:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Recoll\recoll.exe" -c c:/path/to/my/configdir

Do use forward slashes for the configuration directory path. This will hopefully be fixed some day.

You will need to create the configuration directory, Recoll will not do it by itself. You can just leave it empty, Recoll will then propose to start the configuration editor.

You can find a more complete and general explanation about using shortcuts, for example on this page.

File name character case sensitivity

This should be fixed as of the the November 2016 version. Please report the problem if you still see case sensitivity issues

Recoll was born on Unix, on which file names are case-sensitive. At the moment this is also the case for path-related queries on Windows, including the drive letters.

When filtering results on location (e.g. with a 'dir:' clause), you need to enter all path elements as they appear in the URLs in result lists (and use forward slashes).

It is also advisable to enter configuration filenames with their actual case (e.g. topdirs).

I am looking into fixing this, but this made a bit complicated by non ASCII character sets issues.

Installing the Python extension

You can use the Python extension to query the index. The API manual is here:

Among other uses, installing the extension allows using the Recoll Web UI from Windows.

The Python module is distributed as

C:\Program Files (x86)\Recoll\Share\dist\Recoll-1.27.9-cp37-cp37m-win32.whl

(allow for variations depending on the Recoll version)

It would be possible to use the bundled Recoll copy of Python to run the extension, but, because the Recoll bundled copy is incomplete, lacking pip, among other things. it’s probably more convenient to have a separate full copy of Python 3.7 32 bits

You can install the extension with something like:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Python37-32\Python.exe" -m pip install "C:\Program Files (x86)\Recoll\Share\dist\Recoll-1.27.9-cp37-cp37m-win32.whl"

You should then be able to import it from the standard Python command.

Upgrading from Recoll 1.23 and older

The Recoll index format changed with version 1.24, to accommodate changes in the underlying Xapian library. If your index uses the old format, it can still be queried by Recoll 1.25, but it would be much better to recreate it. The problem with the old format is sometimes extremely slow display of the query results (in the minutes range for big indexes, depending on the query).

You can determine if you have an old format index by looking at the text snippets shown with the results: they will be stripped of capitalization and punctuation. The new index generates capitalized and punctuated snippets.

The best approach for switching the index format is to exit Recoll and delete the Xapian index. It is normally located in C:/Users/[ME]/AppData/Local/Recoll/xapiandb Just delete the directory.

Checking that Python is in the PATH (not needed for 1.25 and later)


Recoll input handlers are the programs which extract the documents text content for indexing. Most of these programs are Python scripts. If Recoll can find documents by file name but not by content, the first thing to check is that you do have the Python interpreter in your PATH.

Only Python 2 is supported at the moment (2.7 and later were tested). This limitation is not caused by the Recoll scripts themselves but to some of the auxiliary libraries (e.g.: the one used for LibreOffice text extraction). If you also have Python 3 installed, you will have to arrange for Recoll to only 'see' the Python 2 version.

For simple cases, to check that the Python interpreter is in the PATH, the easiest approach is to start a command window and type 'python' in it. You should see messages from the Python interpreter, which you can then exit by typing 'quit()'. If the command interpreter complains about Python not being found, you probably need to adjust the PATH.

To start a command window, type 'command' in the start menu input area and select 'Command Prompt'.

If the Python interpreter is not found, check that Python 2 is indeed installed. Adding the Python binary to the PATH is an option during installation (so one approach to fix the issue is to just run the installation again).

You can also edit the environment variable directly:

  • Start the Control Panel

  • Select 'System and Security'

  • Select 'System'

  • Select 'Advanced system settings' in the left panel,

  • Select 'Environment Variables' at the bottom of the dialog

  • Edit 'Path' inside 'System variables' and add: C:\Python27\;C:\Python27\Scripts; to it.

Known problems and limitations

  • Up to version 1.25.19 (fixed in .20), the indexer does not properly clean up its temporary files at the moment. These are located in $HOME/AppData/Local/Temp and named something like recXYZT.tmp…​ You may need to clean up by hand from time to time. Temporary files are mostly created while indexing zip archives or attachments to mail messages.

  • When filtering the search with a dir: clause, an absolute path should be specified as /c/mydir instead of c:/mydir. This will be the case if you browse for the directory, but it will not be corrected if you enter it by typing.

  • Indexing is quite slow compared to the Linux version (up to 10 times slower, but still usable), especially when using external commands (e.g. for PDF files). I don’t know if this is a case of my doing something stupid, or if the general architecture is really bad fitted for Windows. If someone with good Windows programming knowledge reads this, I’d be very interested by a discussion. The Linux and Windows index formats are compatible, so, if you have shared Linux/Windows data, it’s best to process it on Linux.

  • There is no real-time or scheduled indexing as on Linux. For now, you create and update the index by using the File menu (or executing recollindex.exe from a command window).