Installing CC65

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An assembler is a program that translates assembly language source code into machine code. A commonly used assembler that produces machine code for 6502 CPUs is CA65, which is distributed as part of the CC65 package. These instructions tell how to install and run CA65 on Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

Configuring Windows

Windows is shipped with file name extensions hidden in Windows Explorer. This misfeature was originally intended to make Windows 95 look more like Mac OS 7.5, which did not use file name extensions. But hiding makes it easier to accidentally create a file name with two extensions. Worse yet, destructive software such as the ILOVEYOU worm (Wikipedia article) has shipped with two extensions: one to indicate to the operating system that the file is executable and one to fool the user into thinking that the file is not executable (and thus safe). The first thing we will do is turn on the display of file name extensions in Windows Explorer:

  1. Open Control Panel. (This may be in Start > Control Panel or Start > Settings > Control Panel.)
  2. In Windows XP, if "Pick a category" shows up at top center of the window, click "Switch to Classic View".
  3. Open Folder Options and activate the View pane.
  4. In the scrolling list of Advanced Options, turn make sure that "Hide extensions for known file types" is not checked.
  5. Press OK to put the change into effect.

Configuring 7-Zip

Windows 2000 does not come with software to extract files from PKZIP archives. Windows XP comes with a bare-bones archiver called Compressed Folders that can only handle PKZIP archives (.zip), not rar or 7z or tar or gz or bz2 files. The 7-Zip package can extract files from all of them, as well as add files to PKZIP and 7-Zip archives.

Downloading CC65

  1. Read the front page of CC65's web site.
  2. Scroll down to "Download". At the bottom of this section is a list of mirrors.
  3. Enter one of the mirrors, and download the and packages to your computer. (The ##### represents a version number, such as 2.11.0-1, which may change before you read this.) The cc65-win32 contains the CC65 package compiled for Windows, and cc65-doc contains the manual.
  4. Extract to a new folder.
  5. Open this folder and run the install.vbs file as an administrator to copy it to Program Files.
  6. Delete this folder.

Log out and log in to complete installation.

Building CC65 on Ubuntu (Linux)

Binary from

Absolute easiest method:

Debian Hosting

Set up you repository there as it says on the homepage. Using software sources and import the gpg key. or add this to your software sources list:

deb stable contrib

Download: KeyFile add to authentication sources.


sudo apt-get install cc65

Building from git

On Debian or Ubuntu, open a terminal and enter the following commands. On Fedora, CentOS, and their descendants, the apt command will need to be changed.

sudo apt install build-essential git
mkdir -p ~/develop
cd ~/develop
git clone
cd cc65
nice make -j2
make install PREFIX=~/.local
which cc65

If your account has been configured to run applications built from source and installed for one user, the last step should show /home/<username>/.local/bin/cc65. If it does not, add ~/.local/bin to your PATH environment variable:

nano ~/.bashrc

# and add the following at the end of the file
if [ -d "$HOME/.local/bin" ] ; then

Press Ctrl+O Enter to save, then Ctrl+X to quit, and the change to PATH will take effect the next time you log in.

Installing CC65 on Mac OS X

Using Homebrew: On computer with Homebrew installed, open Terminal and type "brew install cc65". Everything else should be automatic.