I downloaded & installed a minimal TeXLive 2023 on a (Windows) machine I'm working. Now, I want to install a bunch of packages. However - this machine is behind a rather nastily restrictive firewall with non-trivial proxy settings. When I use the tlmgr GUI, it times out trying to update the list of packages. And from the command-line (PowerShell as administrator), I get:

PS C:\texlive\2023\bin\windows> .\tlmgr.bat update --self --all

C:\texlive\2023\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\tlmgr.pl: TLPDB::from_file could not initialize from: https://mirrors.mit.edu/CTAN/systems/texlive/tlnet/tlpkg/texlive.tlpdb
C:\texlive\2023\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\tlmgr.pl: Maybe the repository setting should be changed.
C:\texlive\2023\texmf-dist\scripts\texlive\tlmgr.pl: More info: https://tug.org/texlive/acquire.html

What can I/should I do in order to get an updated list of packages, and perhaps also to manually download and install some packages?

  • Might or might not work for you: At the website ctan.org, you will see a list of recent updates. Click `show more'. That will show update for approximately the past week. You may be able to download the *.zip files from that site, then manually unzip and copy the files into TeX. But you will need to do this frequently. Also, manual copying files is not a good idea. Only do this if nothing else works. Where I live, I can go to several pubs or coffee shops that have free WiFi, and download things there.
    – user287367
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 17:59
  • Maybe the repository setting should be changed. Have you tried that? If you downloaded and installed successfully, it is hard to believe the firewall is the problem. I can't think it is configured to specifically prevent you updating. Did you use the ISO to install or the net installer? If the latter, your firewall doesn't block this and the problem is likely with the mirror.
    – cfr
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 4:47
  • @cfr: When I downloaded, I used the browser to get an executable. And the browser knows about firewall. Perhaps the installation program tries the wrong protocol, or wrong port, etc.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 21:25
  • But you said you'd installed successfully in the question. Regardless of whether you installed a minimal installation, the installer had to download stuff for that to work.
    – cfr
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 21:27
  • @cfr: So perhaps my installation had not been successful after all? Hmm.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Do the following:

  • Get a TeXLive ISO image corresponding to your installed version via this page.
  • Mount the ISO as a drive (see instructions for Windows 10 for example)
  • Start the tlmgr GUI
  • Change the update source/repository to a "Local directory" - the root directory of the ISO image

tlmgr should accept the ISO root as an update source. Now you can install packages to your heart's content. Of course, that doesn't help you check for updates dynamically; see @rallg 's comment for how to do that manually, but it would be a lot of hassle.

Note: If you're having trouble finding an ISO corresponding to your TeXLive version, remember you can always just reinstall from the within the ISO itself.

  • @cfr: See edits. Also note that the question and answer are both by myself.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 10:12
  • Sorry, missed that. You don't have to write it as if you're a different person ;). I don't really understand how you installed in the first place, but as long as you do, that's all good.
    – cfr
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 20:59
  • 1
    Might it be that the firewall allows https protocol, but not http or ftp ? If so, check to see what protocol is being used by the repository. That happened to me, but it was several years ago.
    – user287367
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 22:26
  • That's actually possible, and I'll check. But - where do I get the list of mirrors from?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 9:45

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