Xilinx ISE 14.7 on Windows 10

Update: Xilinx have published a support article ISE Install – Guide to Installing and Running ISE 10.1 or 14.7 on a Windows 8.1 or Window 10 machine which documents the same workaround as has been described in this YouTube video. Follow the instructions in the article, particularly the section titled “ISE 14.7 64-bit – Turning off SmartHeap”.

Xilinx does not plan to release any further updates – sending the message that ISE has well and truly been discontinued.


Original blog post:

I've now moved my COMP3211 tips onto the csesoc wiki - including my fix for the ISE 11 uninstaller breaking the Windows Installer Service (double clicking any MSI file from Windows Explorer fails with 2502/2503).

Okay, so it turns out the COMP3601 Design Project A is a FPGA-based project, so its back to more VHDL.

I admittedly struggled on this course a bit.

  1. Getting the tools to even work
  2. Understand what was going on; and what actually needed to be done for the projects
  3. …getting on top of project management
  4. Not knowing that I could have just saved wave.do instead of write my own entirely by hand.
  5. Target audience of the final report (including the code within the report –> so include the code in the report – particularly highlight things) Huge derp moment with the wording: “20 pages, excluding the appendix” — which implies to include the appendix as part of the report at the end of the 20 pages… argh!

Downloading and installing Xilinx ISE

The latest version of Xilinx ISE is version 14.7. It is also the final version as its discontinued software. As an added bonus – it potentially has compatibility issues with any version of Windows past Windows 7.

Download it from the Xilinx website – the Full DVD Single File option is recommended. Apparently the multi-file download was causing someone grief. As a student, you’ll need the WebPack edition – as it is free of charge 🙂

There is a workaround for 64-bit machines should you run into crashes with file browser dialogs. Most people I spoke to did run into this issue except for one!? Follow that link to fix the issue with libPortability.dll 🙂

Another issue with ISE – or at least the free WebPack edition – is the fact support is patchy/missing for ModelSim PE Student Edition. ISE does include its own “ISIM”, which COMP3222 didn’t cover. You can choose to use either ISIM – and screw writing tcl compile scripts (like that run.do file) – or stick to ModelSim and its crazy, epileptic-inducing flashing screens during simulation. I know which I prefer.

According to this, ModelSim PE Student Edition is known to integrate nicely within ISE version 12.

The older ISE version 11 could possibly be more stable on Windows 8/10. But projects aren’t cross-compatibile with 14.7 which are on the lab machines.

Flashing bitstreams onto the board.

For flashing to a Digilent fpga board, use either:

Avoid VirtualBox if on Mac.

If you’re going to use a virtual machine because your on a Mac, do not use VirtualBox because it won’t communicate with the Digilent Nexys board.