Update : I've uninstalled, cleaned up and reinstalled Texlive 2018 on a Windows 10 machine. Now kpsewhich runs very slowly from the command line but gives what seems like correct output

kpsewhich -expand-var='$TEXMFMAIN'
'C:/texlive/2018//texmf-dist'

But

'kpathsea' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

TeXworks starts and finds the recent .tex files I've compiled but then goes into

kpathsea: Running mktexfmt lualatex.fmt

and outputs

    The command name is C:\texlive\2018\bin\win32\mktexfmt


fmtutil: fmtutil is using the following fmtutil.cnf files (in precedence order):
fmtutil: fmtutil is using the following fmtutil.cnf file for writing changes:
fmtutil:   c:/users/donal/.texlive2017/texmf-config/web2c/fmtutil.cnf
fmtutil [INFO]: writing formats under c:/users/donal/.texlive2017/texmf-var/web2c
fmtutil [INFO]: did not find entry for byfmt=lualatex, skipped
fmtutil [INFO]: Total formats: 0
fmtutil [INFO]: exiting with status 0
Running the command C:\texlive\2018\bin\win32\fmtutil-user.exe
This is LuaTeX, Version 1.07.0 (TeX Live 2018/W32TeX) 
 restricted system commands enabled.
I can't find the format file `lualatex.fmt'!

This puzzled me - as part of the cleanup I deleted the legacy directory c:/users/donal/.texlive2017/ and it's somehow recreated that and tried to use it.

So presumably it came from C:\texlive\texmf-local\web2c\texmf.cnf I updated that to the version from the 2018 installation

tlmgr version produces

tlmgr revision 49226 (2018-11-23 00:37:16 +0100)
tlmgr using installation: C:/texlive/2018
TeX Live (http://tug.org/texlive) version 2018

I ran mktexlsr successfully. fmtutil-sys --all ran very slowly and gave

fmtutil: fmtutil is using the following fmtutil.cnf files (in precedence order):
fmtutil: fmtutil is using the following fmtutil.cnf file for writing changes:
fmtutil:   c:/texlive/2018//texmf-config/web2c/fmtutil.cnf
fmtutil [INFO]: writing formats under c:/texlive/2018/texmf-var/web2c
Use of uninitialized value $whatarg in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\fmtutil.pl line 443.
fmtutil [INFO]: did not find entry for all=, skipped
fmtutil [INFO]: Total formats: 0
fmtutil [INFO]: exiting with status 0

updmap-sys ran really really slowly and finally output

updmap will read the following updmap.cfg files (in precedence order):
  c:/texlive/texmf-local/web2c/updmap.cfg
updmap may write changes to the following updmap.cfg file:
  c:/texlive/2018//texmf-config/web2c/updmap.cfg
dvips output dir: "c:/texlive/2018//texmf-var/fonts/map/dvips/updmap"
pdftex output dir: "c:/texlive/2018//texmf-var/fonts/map/pdftex/updmap"
dvipdfmx output dir: "c:/texlive/2018//texmf-var/fonts/map/dvipdfmx/updmap"
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2138.
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
updmap: open() failed: No such file or directory at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2138.
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
updmap: open() failed: No such file or directory at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2138.
Use of uninitialized value $fn in concatenation (.) or string at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
updmap: open() failed: No such file or directory at c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl line 2139.
updmap [ERROR]: The following map file(s) couldn't be found:
updmap [ERROR]:         dvips35.map (in builtin)
updmap [ERROR]:         noto.map (in c:/texlive/texmf-local/web2c/updmap.cfg)
updmap [ERROR]:         pac.map (in c:/texlive/texmf-local/web2c/updmap.cfg)
updmap [ERROR]:         pdftex35.map (in builtin)
updmap [ERROR]:         ps2pk35.map (in builtin)
updmap [ERROR]: Did you run mktexlsr?

        You can disable non-existent map entries using the option
          --syncwithtrees.

C:\texlive\2018\bin\win32\runscript.tlu:812: command failed with exit code 1:
perl.exe c:\texlive\2018\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\updmap.pl  --sys

Copying a lualatex.fmt file from the 2017 installation into C:\Users\donal.texlive2018\texmf-var\web2c allows it to find the file but the format seems to have changed. Now it throws an error

(Fatal format file error; I'm stymied)

So maybe I've moved on to asking how does one get a lualatex.fmt file for the TeXlive 2018.

  • May be a typo during install. Did you change the defaults locations? – sztruks Dec 6 at 6:56
  • @sztruks No, I left them. – DLyons Dec 6 at 7:23
  • If you didn't touch anything, might be a bug. I'd do this 1) check if the texlive variables are what they should be (I once unticked or forgot to tick the boxes to have them recognized by Windows after install) 2) check on texlive mailing-list if someone faced a similar issue. – sztruks Dec 6 at 7:29
  • Do you have an external perl installed? – Ulrike Fischer Dec 6 at 7:33
  • 1
    in a current windows I would run "where perl", to find out where it is. Also your output above shows references to texlive2017, so you should check you path and if you are actually running the texlive2018 tools. – Ulrike Fischer Dec 6 at 8:14

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