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Just installed MiKTeX 21.8 on Windows 7 and it will not behave. Running pdflatex from TeXMaker gets me:

This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.23 (MiKTeX 21.8) (preloaded format=pdftex 2021.10.8) 8 OCT 2021 14:27

Setting -fmt pdflatex makes no difference.

Needless to say I am unable to compile any documents as it pretends to wholly not understand the LaTeX source:

! Undefined control sequence.\documentclass
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  • Welcome to TeX.SE! What do you get if you start pdflatex in an terminal/console?
    – Mensch
    Oct 8 at 21:16
  • On windows 10 I have no problems. miktex doesn't officially support windows 7. Oct 8 at 21:18
  • Perhaps some wrong with your code? I am running windows 7 x64, Texstudio and This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.22 (MiKTeX 21.3) (preloaded format=pdflatex 2021.9.13) 8 OCT 2021 Using pdflatex.exe -synctex=1 -interaction=nonstopmode -shell-escape %.tex Oct 8 at 21:23
  • Running plain pdflatex with no arguments gets: C:\>pdflatex This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.23 (MiKTeX 21.10) ** (with a command prompt for interaction) Oct 8 at 21:37
  • Are you really trying to run pdftex -fmt pdflatex ... ? Why not jsut run pdflatex? Oct 8 at 23:31
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On closer inspection, -fmt isn't even an option. I saw it in some related responses but it seems they were irrelevant.

On a whim, I opened TeXworks; surely the tool that comes in the box can do it somehow? Lo and behold it does. Turns out it uses the -undump=pdflatex option, which is what's required. This turns pdftex into pdflatex. I have no idea why the .exe doesn't do what it says in the filename, but I can build documents now.

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