In this article, I’ll show you how to download and install the latest version of GIMP, the free photo editor and Photoshop alternative, on a Windows computer.
GIMP is safe to download, with a Security Confidence Index score of 97.3%, thanks in part to security checks run during code compilation, as well as the program being available directly on the main GIMP website through their own distribution mirrors (in other words, you don’t have to download GIMP on a sketchy third-party website full of spammy ads and fake download buttons).
With that being said, let’s dive in!
Step 1: Download GIMP
To download GIMP from the main website, visit GIMP.org and click on the large orange button labeled with the latest version of GIMP (red arrow in the image above – the current version at the time of this article is 2.10.24).
Once on the Downloads page (pictured above), scroll down to get to the download buttons.
Lower on the downloads page (after your scroll down), you’ll see two download buttons. The one on the left, which is a greenish color, allows you to download the latest version of GIMP “via BitTorrent.” The second download button on the right, which is orange in color, allows you to download the latest version of GIMP directly to your computer. I recommend download GIMP directly, so click the orange button to start the download (red arrow in the image above).
A “Save As” window will pop up asking you where you’d like to save GIMP on your computer. Your default download location will pop up first (mine is in my Downloads folder, denoted by the green arrow in the image above). However, you can navigate to any location on your computer (blue outline in the image above) where you would like to save the GIMP download file. Note that this is just the installation package and not GIMP itself, so I recommend simply saving this to your downloads folder. Click “Save” when you’re ready to start the download.
GIMP will download a .exe file to your computer, which is an “executable” file used for most Windows applications downloaded to your computer. When the download is complete, click the little down arrow (red arrow in the image above) next to the downloaded file, then click “Show in Folder” (blue arrow).
Note (optional) if you have older versions of GIMP already installed: if you already have a version of GIMP installed on your computer, the new GIMP installation will automatically install GIMP in the same location on your computer (thus replacing the old version of GIMP, updating it to the newest version). If you are fine with this, proceed to the next step. If you’d like to change the location of the install for GIMP (i.e. to a different disc drive), you’ll need to first uninstall any previous versions of GIMP you have on your computer. You can do this by searching for “Add or Remove Programs” in your taskbar (at the bottom of your desktop), click on Add or Remove Programs, search for “GIMP,” click on GIMP, then click “Uninstall.” Run the uninstall process to remove the old version of GIMP. Once the old version is removed, proceed to the next step.
A File Explorer window will open up, and your GIMP installation should be highlighted (red arrow in the image above). Double click this .exe file to run the GIMP installation on your computer.
If you are installing GIMP for the first time, you may be asked if you want to install for all users or just the current user. I recommend installing for all users on your computer unless you have a specific reason why you’d only like GIMP to be available for your account.
Next, a Windows security message will pop up asking if you want to allow GIMP to make changes to your computer (it will also include the name of the developer whose signature is on the installation) – click “Yes.”
The next window that pops up will ask for the language you’d like to use for the installation. In my case, I’ll go with English, but GIMP is available in many different languages. Choose whatever language you are most comfortable with from the dropdown (red arrow in the image above). Click OK once you’ve selected a language (green arrow).
The next window, which displays a splash image with the GIMP version you are installing (in this case GIMP 2.10 – pictured above), allows you to either run the default installation (this will install all files/folder for GIMP in a default location on your computer – typically on your C: drive) or allow you to run a “Custom” installation. For the simplest installation process, just click “Install” (red arrow in the image above). To choose a custom install location, or select certain components you’d like to install (i.e. to save room on your computer), click “Customize” (green arrow).
If you chose the “Install” option, the installation will begin and you’ll see a status bar denoting the progress of the installation.
If you chose the “Customize” option, you’ll then be taken to the software license agreement. GIMP uses a “GNU General Public License,” which essentially means it’s free for anyone to use and modify. Click “Next” to be taken to the next step.
If you don’t already have GIMP installed on your computer, the next step will be to choose the location of the GIMP installation on your computer (see the note I made earlier in this article). By default, GIMP will save to your “C:” drive. However, there are plenty of cases where you may want to save to a different drive or a different folder. You can either click the “Browse” button (green arrow in the image above) to browse other locations on your computer where you’d like to save, or can manually type in a new location in the text field. For example, I like to have GIMP installed on my “D:” drive, so I can simply change the “C” to a “D” (blue arrow).
If this is the first time you’ve saved an application to a different drive, don’t worry – GIMP will automatically create the folders it needs for a proper install. However, you can always stick with the default install location if you don’t want to mess with it. Click “Next” to move on to the next step (red arrow).
Now you’ll be taken to the “Select Components” section of the install. Here is where you can remove certain optional items from the GIMP install if you want to save room on your computer. The quickest way to do this is to click the dropdown (red arrow) and select “compact installation” if you want to install the minimal amount of auxiliary files with GIMP. However, you can also manually uncheck any of the boxes of the items you feel you won’t need when using GIMP. I recommend sticking with the “Full Installation” option, but it’s up to you. Click “Next” to move on (green arrow).
Choose whether or not you’d like to create a desktop shortcut for GIMP. This really only applies if you chose to install GIMP on your C: drive. A desktop shortcut will make it quicker/easier to open GIMP from a desktop icon. Check this box (green arrow in the above image) if you’d like GIMP to automatically create a desktop icon, otherwise leave it unchecked and click “Next” (red arrow).
(Note: If you are not computer savvy and you have installed GIMP on your default drive, I recommend keeping this box checked.)
You’ll now see a summary of your installation options you selected. If everything looks good, click “Install.” The GIMP installation will begin.
If you have a fast computer, the install will take 2-5 minutes. If you have a really old/slow computer, the install can take up to 1-2 hours. If your computer’s performance lies somewhere in between really fast and really slow, it’ll likely take 20-30 minutes for the install process to complete. On my computer, which has Windows 10, an Intel core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 64-bit operating system, it took about 3 minutes. GIMP will work on Windows 7 and up, including 32-bit operating systems.
Once the installation has finished, click “Finish.”
To open GIMP, double-click on the GIMP desktop icon (if you created one) or search “GIMP” in your computer’s search bar. Click on the “GIMP 2.10.24” app. GIMP may take several minutes to open for the first time as it needs to load all its fonts, brushes, etc. However, GIMP will not take as long to open after the first time you open it.