Manual:Installing on MoWeS Portable (Windows)

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MoWeS Portable has been discontinued[edit | edit source]

Instead see Manual:Installing MediaWiki on XAMPP


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MoWeS Portable (Former WOS Portable) is one easy way of running MediaWiki as a wiki on a stick. This package is provided by CH Software. MoWeS Portable does not need an extra drive letter and it is ready to run instantly after unzipping; just plug a USB stick in any Windows computer and the wiki webserver starts up in your browser.

CH Software discontinued business activities on November 7, 2012.

Space requirements[edit | edit source]

MoWeS Portable packages a complete Apache/PHP/MySQL webserver with a wrapper that automatically configures and starts the servers; the Small Edition takes only 20 Mb. The complete package occupies less than 60Mb with an empty wiki. The SQL cache adds another 10Mb or so, in addition to the contents of your wiki. You can zip the MoWeS folder that contains your Wiki if you have limited space on your USB drive. After zipping the folder the size will shrink about 60% to 70%.

Installation[edit | edit source]

You can run MoWeS Portable from any writable drive or folder. The first time it is run, MoWeS configures the paths for the servers based on the current directory. Each time it is started after that, it checks if it has been moved to a new directory or folder and corrects the corresponding paths.

  1. Start by going to the MoWeS mixer site to download the software.
    • If you're just starting, you "do not have a MoWeS Portable II package".
    • Select Apache and PHP versions * The option to use a "Small Edition" should work fine, as should either PHP4 or PHP5, with MediaWiki. Select MediaWiki along with any other "application software" you might want to try out!
    (*) This procedure has been tested with
    MediaWiki 1.6.1, WOS Portable SE] 1.1.1 (Apache] 2.0.5, PHP 5.1.2 and 4.4.1, MySQL 4.1.18-nt)
    MediaWiki 1.7.1, WOS 1.1.2 (Apache 2.2.0, PHP 5.1.2, MySQL 5.0.18-nt)
    MediaWiki 1.9.2, WOSX (with WOS 1.1.2)
    MediaWiki 1.10.1, Apache 2.2.4, PHP 5.2.3, MySQL 5.0.41
    ...however the best approach is to use the latest versions available, since most of the packages listed above are not available anymore but are replaced with more recent versions.
    It is possible to add MediaWiki as a package later, but this may be more difficult.
  2. Go to the drive where you are installing it. Usually you'll be selecting your USB drive, but if you'd like to install to your hard disk, you can run it from any directory or you could create a virtual disk using the subst command:
    subst W: "C:\Temp\MyWikiOnAStick"
  3. Unzip the distribution files. Unzip MoWeS Portable into the root directory, and MediaWiki into a subdirectory of www. It's convenient to rename the subdirectory to "w". The configuration I'm working with looks like this:
  4. Run the mowes.exe executable.
  5. The default for the apache web server is to listen on port 80 of the host machine. This is likely to cause problems if there's an existing server on your target machine or if Skype is running. To change the port number, open the file apache2\conf\httpd.conf in a text editor like notepad.
    1. Search for the line that says Listen 80 and change it to Listen
    2. Search for the line that says ServerName localhost:80 and change it to ServerName
    • IANA Port Numbers:
      • 80: World Wide Web (HTTP)
      • 8080: HTTP Alternate
      • 443: HTTP protocol over TLS/SSL (HTTPS)
      • 49152 through 65535: Dynamic and/or Private Ports
      • 1024 through 49151 should not be used on the Internet without IANA registration.
  6. Run "mowes.exe" from the root directory.
    1. Choose your language, then click through the Terms of Use (which is actually small enough to fit on a dialog box without scrolling!)
    2. Now MoWeS will continue to automatically install all packages. Make sure to read the dialogs that may pop up.
    3. MoWeS starts up and displays the MoWeS Portable - Status dialog. You should see:
      Apache is running
      MySQL is running
    4. MoWeS will open the welcome page in your web browser.
      If you changed the port number as recommended above, you'll get a 404: Not Found error. Don't worry.
      • Open the MoWeS Portable Options tab and change the value for "Use the following URL in the browser" from http://localhost/start/ to http://localhost:8080/start/ (or whatever port you assigned above).
      • You can either shut down and restart MoWeS Portable or just copy the address to your browser.
      • You should now see the MoWeS Portable startup page.
        Apache 2.0.55 is running
        PHP 5.1.2 works
        MySQL 4.1.18-nt is running
        Document Root is: W:/www
  7. Review the other MoWeS Portable options; most of the defaults work fine for MediaWiki.
  8. If you have downloaded the pre-configured MediaWiki package you are done. If not follow the steps below to install MediaWiki.
  9. Run MediaWiki web configuration. Using the directory and port settings above, the address is http://localhost:8080/wiki/config or for 1.10.1.
    1. If you want to use a Creative Commons license, you should select it first. Scroll down to the Copyright/license section, click on Creative Commons license - choose, and select your license.
    2. Fill in the site config information
      • Name your wiki
      • Assign a WikiSysop password
      • You can disable all the email options for a tiny wiki
      • Assign a wikiuser password for the Database config
      • If you've changed the root password, enter it here; otherwise, you must clear the Superuser password, because by default MoWeS runs with the superuser account root with no password.
    3. Click Install MediaWiki! After a short delay you should see the MediaWiki 1.6.1 Installation success screen.
    4. Move the W:\www\wiki\config\LocalSettings.php file to W:\www\wiki
    5. Click on "then follow this link to your wiki" and after a short delay you should see the MediaWiki home page.
      • Open the MoWeS Portable Options tab and change the value for "Use the following URL in the browser" from http://localhost:8080/start/ to http://localhost:8080/wiki/ (or whatever port and directory you assigned above).
  10. You're not quite done yet. If there's any problem with any of the configuration files (especially if you moved the MoWeS directory), MediaWiki will behave normally, but the data may be lost when you shut the server down.
    1. Shut down MoWeS - click End, then wait until it closes.
    2. Run "mowes.exe" from the root directory.
    3. If you see the MediaWiki home page, you're done.

Troubleshooting[edit | edit source]

MoWeS Portable is freeware, and there is no official support.

Here's how to deal with some of the ways I've messed up the installation:

  • Verify the paths in the configuration files apache2\conf\httpd.conf and mysql\my.ini. If you changed the MoWeS directory, then in rare cases some of the paths may be pointing to the old directory.
  • MediaWiki should work with both PHP4 and PHP5. Any custom extensions you have may not.

If you still have a problem, try the troubleshooting hints on the MoWeS Wiki or use the MoWeS Board

Hints[edit | edit source]

A complete MoWeS installation with an empty MediaWiki takes about 55Mb. If you're really tight for space, you can delete some files:

  • Make a backup of the complete installation first!
  • PHP4 is about 4.3Mb and PHP5 is about 3.6Mb. You can delete the one you're not using.
  • If the MediaWiki setup has trouble with the passwords, be sure you enter a blank root password if it is still blank by default, or if you have changed the root SQL password be sure they match.
  • The MediaWiki languages subdirectory is about 4.25Mb. You can get it down to 150Kb by deleting all of the Language??.php and Messages??.php files you're not using (but don't delete LanguageUtf8.php).

You can (and should!) backup your installation by making a complete copy of the MoWeS directory tree.

References[edit | edit source]

Revisions[edit | edit source]

  • April 7, 2006 - Eric Hartwell - MediaWiki 1.6.1, WOS Portable Small Edition 1.1.1
  • July 8, 2009 - Frank D. - Changed to MoWeS Portable. Refined some parts.
  • November 7, 2012 - MoWeS isn't available any more (called at Dec 29, 2012).
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