Ghidra Installation Guide
The installation information provided is effective as of Ghidra 9.0.3 and is subject to change with
- Microsoft Windows 7 or 10 (64-bit)
- Linux (64-bit, CentOS 7 is preferred)
- macOS (OS X) 10.8.3+ (Mountain Lion or later)
NOTE: All 32-bit OS installations are now deprecated. Please contact the
Ghidra team if you have a specific need.
- 4 GB RAM
- 1 GB storage (for installed Ghidra binaries)
- Dual monitors strongly suggested
- Java 11 64-bit Runtime and Development Kit (JDK) (see Java Notes)
- Free long term support (LTS) versions of JDK 11 are provided by:
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To install Ghidra, simply extract the Ghidra distribution file to the desired filesystem
destination using any unzip program (built-in OS utilities, 7-Zip, WinZip, WinRAR, etc)
Ghidra does not use a traditional installer program. Instead, the Ghidra distribution file is
simply extracted in-place on the filesystem. This approach has advantages and disadvantages.
On the up side, administrative privilege is not required to install Ghidra for personal use.
Also, because installing Ghidra does not update any OS configurations such as the registry on
Windows, removing Ghidra is as simple as deleting the Ghidra installation directory. On the
down side, Ghidra will not automatically create a shortcut on the desktop or appear in
application start menus.
Administrative privilege may be required to extract Ghidra to certain filesystem destinations
(such as C:\), as well as install the Ghidra Server as a service.
Ghidra relies on using directories outside of its installation directory to manage both
temporary and longer-living cache files. Ghidra attempts to use standard OS directories that
are designed for these purposes in order to avoid several issues, such as storing large amounts
of data to a roaming profile. If it is suspected that the default location of these directories
is causing a problem, they can be changed by modifying the relevant properties in the
Ghidra requires a supported version of a Java Runtime and
Development Kit on the PATH to run. However, if there is a version of Java on the PATH that
Ghidra does not support, it will use that version of Java (if 1.7 or later) to assist in
locating a supported version on your system. If one cannot be automatically located, the user
will be prompted to enter a path to the Java home directory to use (the Java home directory is
the parent directory of Java's bin directory). This minimizes the impact Ghidra has on
pre-existing configurations of Java that other software may rely on.
If Ghidra failed to run because no versions of Java were on the PATH, a
supported JDK should be manually installed and added to the
PATH. The following steps outline how to add a JDK distribution to the operating system's
Windows: Extract the JDK distribution (.zip file) to your desired location
and add the JDK's bin directory to your PATH:
Extract the JDK:
- Right-click on the zip file and click Extract All...
- Click Extract
Open Environment Variables window:
Windows 10: Right-click on Windows start button, and click System
Windows 7: Click Windows start button, right-click on Computer, and click
- Click Advanced system settings
- Click Environment variables...
Add the JDK bin directory to the PATH variable:
- Under System variables, highlight Path and click Edit...
At the end of the the Variable value field, add a semicolon followed by
<path of extracted JDK dir>\bin
- Click OK
- Click OK
- Click OK
Restart any open Command Prompt windows for changes to take effect
Linux and macOS (OS X): Extract the JDK distribution (.tar.gz file) to your
desired location, and add the JDK's bin directory to your PATH:
Extract the JDK:
tar xvf <JDK distribution .tar.gz>
Open ~/.bashrc with an editor of your choice. For example:
At the very end of the file, add the JDK bin directory to the PATH variable:
export PATH=<path of extracted JDK dir>/bin:$PATH
Restart any open terminal windows for changes to take effect
In some cases, you may want Ghidra to launch with a specific version of Java instead of the
version that Ghidra automatically locates. To force Ghidra to launch with a specific version of
Java, set the JAVA_HOME_OVERRIDE property in the support/launch.properties file.
If this property is set to an incompatible version of Java, Ghidra will revert to automatically
locating a compatible version. Note that some Java must still be on the PATH in order
for Ghidra to use the JAVA_HOME_OVERRIDE property. This limitation will be addressed in
a future version of Ghidra.
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Ghidra Installation Directory Layout
When Ghidra is installed, the runnable software gets extracted to a new directory we will refer
to as <GhidraInstallDir>. Below is a description of the top-level directories and
files that can be found in <GhidraInstallDir> once extraction of the distribution file
Base directory for Ghidra distribution. Contains files needed to run Ghidra.
Optional components that can extend Ghidra's functionality and integrate Ghidra with other
See the Extensions section for more information.
Standalone GPL support programs.
Contains files related to Ghidra Server installation and administration.
Contains files useful for debugging Ghidra, running Ghidra in advanced modes, and controlling
how Ghidra launches.
Contains documentation for Ghidra, such as release notes, API files, tutorials, etc.
Script used to launch Ghidra.
||Ghidra license information.
||Contains licenses used by Ghidra.
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Navigate to <GhidraInstallDir>
Run ghidraRun.bat (Windows) or ghidraRun (Linux or macOS)
If Ghidra failed to launch, see the Troubleshooting section.
Ghidra can support multiple users working together on a single project. Individual Ghidra users
launch and work on their own local copies of a particular Ghidra project but check changes into a
common repository containing all commits to that repository. For detailed information on
installing/configuring the Ghidra Server see the
Headless (Batch) Mode
Ghidra is traditionally run in GUI mode. However, it is also capable of running in headless batch
mode using the command line. For more information, see the
Single Jar Mode
Normally, Ghidra is installed as an entire directory structure that allows modular inclusion or
removal of feature sets and also provides many files that can be extended or configured. However,
there are times when it would be useful to have all or some subset of Ghidra compressed into a
single jar file at the expense of configuration options. This makes Ghidra easier to run from the
command line for headless operation or to use as a library of reverse engineering capabilities for
another Java application.
A single ghidra.jar file can be created using the
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Extensions are optional components that can:
Extend Ghidra's functionality with experimental or user-contributed Ghidra plugins or
- Integrate other tools with Ghidra, such as Eclipse or IDAPro.
Ghidra comes with the following extensions available for use (and by default uninstalled), which
can be found in the <GhidraInstallDir>/Extensions directory.
Eclipse: The GhidraDev Eclipse plugin for a pre-existing Eclipse installation. For
information on installing and using the GhidraDev Eclipse plugin, see
Ghidra: Ghidra extensions (formerly known as contribs). See
Ghidra Extension Notes for more information.
IDAPro: IDAPro plugins/loaders for transferring items with Ghidra.
Ghidra Extension Notes
Ghidra extensions are designed to be installed and uninstalled from the Ghidra front-end GUI:
- Click File → Install Extensions...
- Check boxes to install extensions; uncheck boxes to uninstall extensions
- Restart Ghidra for the changes to take effect
Installing or uninstalling Ghidra extensions may fail if the user does not have write
permissions to <GhidraInstallDir>. This may occur if the user is running Ghidra
from a shared installation location. In this situation, the owner of the Ghidra installation
directory will be responsible for managing what Ghidra extensions are available for that
particular installation of Ghidra.
It is possible to install and uninstall Ghidra extensions manually when the Ghidra front-end
GUI is not available. This may be required if a system administrator is managing the Ghidra
extensions of a shared Ghidra installation on behalf of a user, or if a user wishes to install
an extension into a Ghidra installation that is only ever used headlessly.
To install an extension in these cases, simply extract the desired Ghidra extension archive
file(s) to the <GhidraInstallDir>/Ghidra/Extensions directory. For example, on
Linux or macOS:
- Set current directory to the Ghidra installed-extensions directory:
- Extract desired extension archive file(s) to the current directory:
- The extension(s) will be installed the next time Ghidra is started.
To uninstall extensions, simply delete the extracted extension directories from
<GhidraInstallDir>/Ghidra/Extensions. The extension(s) will be uninstalled
the next time Ghidra is started.
NOTE: It may not be possible to uninstall an extension in this manner if there is an
instance of Ghidra running that holds a file lock on the extension directory that is trying to
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Users can extend the functionality of Ghidra through the development of custom Ghidra scripts,
plugins, analyzers, etc.
Ghidra supports development in Eclipse by providing a custom Eclipse plugin called
GhidraDev, which can be found in the <GhidraInstallDir>/Extensions/Eclipse
directory. For more information on installing and using the GhidraDev Eclipse plugin, see
NOTE: Eclipse is not provided with Ghidra. The GhidraDev Eclipse plugin is designed to
be installed in a pre-existing Eclipse installation.
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General Upgrade Instructions
!!!Important!!! BACKUP YOUR OLD PROJECTS FIRST!!
New installations of Ghidra will, by default, use the saved profile from a user's most recent
version of Ghidra. This allows any saved tool configurations to be automatically ported to new
projects. However, this may also prevent new tool options and features from automatically being
configured in some cases. To open new tools containing the latest configurations, users should,
from the Project Manager Window, choose Tools → Default Tools...
When you open a program that was created using a previous version of Ghidra, you will be
prompted to upgrade the program before it can be opened. The upgrade will not overwrite your old
file until you save it. If you save it (to its original file), you will no longer be able to
open it using an older version of Ghidra. You could, however, choose to perform a
“Save As” instead, creating a new file and leaving the old version unchanged. Be
very careful about upgrading shared program files since everyone accessing the file must also
upgrade their Ghidra installation.
Backup by manually copying the .rep directory and .gpr file from any Ghidra
project directories to a safe location on your file system.
Server Upgrade Instructions
Please refer to the<GhidraInstallDir>/server/svrREADME.html file for details on
upgrading your Ghidra Server.
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Troubleshooting & Help
When launching Ghidra with the provided scripts in <GhidraInstallDir> and
<GhidraInstallDir>/support, you may encounter the following error messages:
Problem: Java runtime not found.
Problem: Failed to find a supported JDK.
Problem: Exited with error. Run in foreground (fg) mode for
Solution: Ghidra failed to launch in the background and
the error message describing the cause of the failure is being suppressed. Rerun Ghidra in
the foreground by setting the LAUNCH_MODE variable in the launch script you ran to
fg. Alternatively, you can use the
<GhidraInstallDir>/support/ghidraDebug script to run Ghidra in debug mode,
which will also allow you to see the error message as well as additional debug output.
NOTE: By default, running Ghidra in debug mode listens on 127.0.0.1:18001.
There are several ways you can get help with using Ghidra:
Tutorials and other documentation can be found in <GhidraInstallDir>/docs.
When Ghidra is running, extensive context sensitive help is available on many topics. To
access Help on a topic, place your mouse on a window, menu or component and press
<F1>. Help for that window/menu/component will be displayed.
When Ghidra is running, indexed help can be found under Help → Topics...
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Known Issues for current release
Displaying the correct processor manual page for an instruction requires the installation of
Adobe Reader 8.0.x or later. Adobe broke the goto page in Reader version 7.x. If a
newer version of Reader is not installed, then the manual for the processor will display at the
top of the manual. Using an Adobe Reader version later than 8.0.x works for most
platforms, but some platforms and version of the reader still have issues.
Some actions may block the GUI update thread if they are long running.
Project archives only store private and checked out files within the archive. Project
archives do not support server-based repositories.
When using a Ghidra server, all clients and the server must have a valid Domain Name Server
(DNS) defined which has been properly configured on the network for both forward and reverse
Image base can not be changed if overlays have been defined.
Language versioning and migration does not handle complex changes in the use of the context
Ghidra uses Java reflection in a manner that has been deprecated in newer versions of Java. It
is expected to see Java warnings the about illegal reflective access, especially when importing
new files. Future versions of Ghidra will address this in order to ensure compatibility with
the newest versions of Java.
Older versions of 7-Zip may not be able to unpack the Ghidra distribution file if it contains
any files with a 0-byte length. Upgrade to a newer version of 7-Zip to fix this problem.
Ghidra may not display correctly on Linux systems with HiDPI monitors. Setting
VMARGS=-Dsun.java2d.xrender=false to true in
<GhidraInstallDir>/support/launch.properties has been known to improve this issue.
Some users have reported Ghidra GUI rendering issues on multi-monitor thin client setups.
These problems are attributed to reported bugs in Java, which will hopefully be fixed in the
future. Disabling the 2nd or 3rd monitor may be necessary to work around the issue.
macOS (OS X)
Building new Ghidra module extensions on macOS (OS X) using a network drive (including a
network-mapped home directory) throws a Java exception. This issue is known to the Java/macOS
community but a fix has not yet been released. See
<GhidraInstallDir>/Extensions/Eclipse/GhidraDev/GhidraDev_README.html for more
information on building Ghidra module extensions from Eclipse.
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