c++ – CMake error at CMakeLists.txt:30 (project): No CMAKE_C_COMPILER could be found

c++ – CMake error at CMakeLists.txt:30 (project): No CMAKE_C_COMPILER could be found

Those error messages

CMake Error at ... (project):
    No CMAKE_C_COMPILER could be found.
-- Configuring incomplete, errors occurred!
See also .../CMakeFiles/CMakeOutput.log.
See also .../CMakeFiles/CMakeError.log.


CMake Error: your CXX compiler: CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER-NOTFOUND was not found.
Please set CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER to a valid compiler path or name.
-- Configuring incomplete, errors occurred!

just mean that CMake was unable to find your C/CXX compiler to compile a simple test program (one of the first things CMake tries while detecting your build environment).

The steps to find your problem are dependent on the build environment you want to generate. The following tutorials are a collection of answers here on Stack Overflow and some of my own experiences with CMake on Microsoft Windows 7/8/10 and Ubuntu 14.04.


  • You have installed the compiler/IDE and it was able to once compile any other program (directly without CMake)
  • You have the latest CMake version
  • You have access rights on the drive you want CMake to generate your build environment
  • You have a clean build directory (because CMake does cache things from the last try) e.g. as sub-directory of your source tree

    Windows cmd.exe

    > rmdir /s /q VS2015
    > mkdir VS2015
    > cd VS2015

    Bash shell

    $ rm -rf MSYS
    $ mkdir MSYS
    $ cd MSYS

    and make sure your command shell points to your newly created binary output directory.

General things you can/should try

  1. Is CMake able find and run with any/your default compiler? Run without giving a generator

    > cmake ..
    -- Building for: Visual Studio 14 2015

    Perfect if it correctly determined the generator to use – like here Visual Studio 14 2015

  2. What was it that actually failed?

    In the previous build output directory look at CMakeFilesCMakeError.log for any error message that make sense to you or try to open/compile the test project generated at CMakeFiles[Version]CompilerIdC|CompilerIdCXX directly from the command line (as found in the error log).

CMake cant find Visual Studio

  1. Try to select the correct generator version:

    > cmake --help
    > cmake -G Visual Studio 14 2015 ..
  2. If that doesnt help, try to set the Visual Studio environment variables first (the path could vary):

    > c:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0VCvcvarsall.bat
    > cmake ..

    or use the Developer Command Prompt for VS2015 short-cut in your Windows Start Menu under All Programs/Visual Studio 2015/Visual Studio Tools (thanks at @Antwane for the hint).

Background: CMake does support all Visual Studio releases and flavors (Express, Community, Professional, Premium, Test, Team, Enterprise, Ultimate, etc.). To determine the location of the compiler it uses a combination of searching the registry (e.g. at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftVisualStudio[Version];InstallDir), system environment variables and – if none of the others did come up with something – plainly try to call the compiler.

CMake cant find GCC (MinGW/MSys)

  1. You start the MSys bash shell with msys.bat and just try to directly call gcc

    $ gcc
    gcc.exe: fatal error: no input files
    compilation terminated.

    Here it did find gcc and is complaining that I didnt gave it any parameters to work with.

    So the following should work:

    $ cmake -G MSYS Makefiles ..
    -- The CXX compiler identification is GNU 4.8.1
    $ make

    If GCC was not found call export PATH=... to add your compilers path (see How to set PATH environment variable in CMake script?) and try again.

  2. If its still not working, try to set the CXX compiler path directly by exporting it (path may vary)

    $ export CC=/c/MinGW/bin/gcc.exe
    $ export CXX=/c/MinGW/bin/g++.exe
    $ cmake -G MinGW Makefiles ..
    -- The CXX compiler identification is GNU 4.8.1
    $ mingw32-make

    For more details see How to specify new GCC path for CMake

    Note: When using the MinGW Makefiles generator you have to use the mingw32-make program distributed with MinGW

  3. Still not working? Thats weird. Please make sure that the compiler is there and it has executable rights (see also preconditions chapter above).

    Otherwise the last resort of CMake is to not try any compiler search itself and set CMakes internal variables directly by

    $ cmake -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=/c/MinGW/bin/gcc.exe -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/c/MinGW/bin/g++.exe ..

    For more details see Cmake doesnt honour -D CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=g++ and Cmake error setting compiler

    Alternatively those variables can also be set via cmake-gui.exe on Windows. See Cmake cannot find compiler

Background: Much the same as with Visual Studio. CMake supports all sorts of GCC flavors. It searches the environment variables (CC, CXX, etc.) or simply tries to call the compiler. In addition it will detect any prefixes (when cross-compiling) and tries to add it to all binutils of the GNU compiler toolchain (ar, ranlib, strip, ld, nm, objdump, and objcopy).

For Ubuntu, please install the below things:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install build-essential

c++ – CMake error at CMakeLists.txt:30 (project): No CMAKE_C_COMPILER could be found

This happened to me after I installed Visual Studio 15 2017.

The C++ compiler for Visual Studio 14 2015 was not the problem. It seemed to be a problem with the Windows 10 SDK.

Adding the Windows 10 SDKs to Visual Studio 14 2015 solved the problem for me.

See attached screenshot.


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