Installation and deployment. Cloud services.
Some tips for running Zorro on your home PC or on a web server:
- Zorro runs on any Windows PC from XP or Server 2012 on. The 64-bit
version Zorro64 runs on 64-bit Windows 7 or above. Some broker APIs
(f.i. FXCM) also require Windows 7 or above.
- For installing Zorro under Linux or OS X, or on old computers, or when
you get an error message on Zorro start, see below.
- You can install Zorro in any folder with full read/write access. Don't
use a path with blanks or special characters, such as cyrillic, chinese, accents, or diacriticals. Zorro itself has no problem with that,
modules and some broker APIs have. By default, Zorro is installed in
your user directory (C:\Users\YourName\Zorro). But if YourName
contains non-letter characters, such as blanks, dots, or foreign language characters, install it
elsewhere. C:\Zorro will always work.
- It is not recommended to install Zorro in a restricted
access directory, such as the Program Files or Programs(x86)
If you still want to do it, switch off the Windows UAC
(User Access Control). Otherwise the UAC will create 'shadow copies'
of your strategy scripts in the ProgramData folder,
and redirects file access to the shadow copy. This can be confusing - not
scripts, but also for users .
- Zorro runs fine from a USB stick. You'll need about 40 MB for a plain
installation with no historical data files.
- Zorro is portable and needs no installer. You can directly copy a Zorro installation
from your PC to a VPS or to a different folder.
- Under Windows it's recommended to compress the History
folder (right click / Properties / Advanced / Compress
content). When you work on strategies, this folder will likely
contain many huge historical data files. Compression saves disk space.
Zorro on old computers
For operating systems prior to Windows 8, or when you'll get a 'Dll
not found' or similar error message on Zorro start, you may need to install the VC++
2022 32-bit redistributable package from Microsoft. You can download it
either from Microsoft or from
It will unpack and install itself.
Zorro 64-bit and C++
The Zorro installation includes a 32 bit version (Zorro.exe)
and a 64 bit version (Zorro64.exe). The 32-bit Zorro is the
everyday version for all normal tasks, and runs even on old PCs with Windows
XP. Zorro64 is about 15% faster and can access more memory, which offers advantages for backtesting large asset portfolios with high resolution
historical data. Since most broker plugins are 32 bit, the 32 bit Zorro is
normally used for live trading. Unless you're high frequency trading, speed and memory footprint matter
backtests and optimizations.
The 32-bit Zorro version needs no further software, but for Zorro64 you need
a 64-bit system with the VC++
2022 64-bit redistributable package installed. You can download it either from
Microsoft or from
It will unpack and install itself.
While the 32-bit Zorro has its own on-the-fly C compiler (lite-C),
the 64-bit Zorro needs the free
Visual C++ community edition for running C++ scripts. If
you have Zorro S, enter the
path to the VC++ compiler in Zorro.ini. C++ files will
then start directly. You need not specifically learn C++, since it's (mostly) backwards
compatible to C. The free Zorro version supports C++ also, but then you'll need to
create a VC++ project for any .cpp script and manually compile it to a DLL.
Zorro on Linux or Mac
Although Zorro is a Windows program, it can also run under Linux
and OS X with Wine or
VMWare. You can find
threads on the
Zorro forum where Ubuntu and Mac installations are discussed. The basic
steps for Wine:
- Install 32-bit Wine from
https://wiki.winehq.org/Download. The installation steps for Ubuntu/Mint
- Install Zorro from
https://zorro-project.com/download.php. By default it's installed in
the virtual Windows drive under \\users\\YourName\\Zorro.
- Alternatively to installing, copy a Zorro installation from the Windows disk
system or a USB drive directly into a suited Linux directory.
For VMWare, install the
VMWare Player and the
Windows Virtual Machine, then install Zorro within the VM. The Windows VM also contains
Visual Studio for supporting C++ scripts.
A tiny incompatibility of the current Wine version with the Windows COleDateTime
class can cause some Zorro backtest results under Wine to deviate slightly from backtest
results under Windows, due to tiny variations in bar start and end times. Also,
when resizing MFC windows under Wine, they are not always correctly redrawn. The
Wine developers have been informed about the issues and they will be hopefully fixed in
future Wine versions.
Zorro in the cloud
Zorro can run on a Windows Server and can be controlled
by PHP scripts. In this way it can be used for live trading, but also for web based
applications or for advisory services.
Virtual private servers (VPS) are offered by many commercial providers for a
small fee, like $20 per month. You'll
normally get a fast and reliable online connection to the broker or exchange, and can access Zorro
via Internet from anywhere. It's recommended to
select a large and reliable company, like 1&1, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, for hosting a
live trading VPS. Amazon offers its EC2™ servers even free during the first year.
Installation with a broker or MT4 connection on a VPS is not totally easy to a beginner, so we're offering a VPS installation service on the
support page. If you want to do it yourself, here are the basic steps for setting up an Amazon VPS:
- Order a cloud server instance with Windows Server 2012 or above. You'll usually receive a server IP, a login name (normally "Administrator"), and a password from your provider. With Amazon you
need a key pair for
decrypting the password. It is stored in a .pem file.
- Launch the server instance from your provider's website. Wait a minute
or so until it's up and running. On the Amazon console, select your instance
and click [Connect]. Normally you connect with a
RDP client. Amazon will displays the DNS and the user name (normally
"Administrator"). For decrypting the password, navigate to the .pem
file that you've stored in the previous step.
- Under Windows, start use the Remote Desktop Connection (under Accessories). Enter
DNS, user name, and password. A window will open where you can see the VPS desktop. It normally looks like a very empty Windows desktop. Alternatively to the Windows Remote Desktop Connection, you can install TeamViewer™ on the VPS - it's free for private use and more convenient to handle, especially for uploading or downloading files. The Windows Remote Desktop, as well as TeamViewer are also available for iPhone and Android, so you can control your VPS from anywhere.
- You can now install Zorro on the VPS. We recommend not to run the
installation program, but to copy the Zorro folder directly - it's a lot
faster. Start the Windows Explorer both on your PC and on the VPS. On your PC, right click on the Zorro folder, and select Copy. On the VPS, open a folder on
which you have full access rights - we recommend Users\Administrator - and right click on an empty space. Select Paste. Your Zorro folder will now be copied over to the VPS.
Make sure that the folder names are plain letters with no blanks, dots, or foreign language characters - see above.
If you don't want to do backtests on the server and don't use the
PRELOAD flag, historical data files (*.t1, *.t6, *.t8) need not be
copied, which makes the process a lot faster. You also need no source code on
the server. If you have compiled your scripts to .x or
.dll files, copy only them.
- You can now start Zorro on the VPS, select your broker, enter your user name and password, and
click [Trade]. Dependent on number of CPU cores and
amount of RAM on your VPS, you can trade with several Zorro instances simultaneously. Note that
backtesting large portfolio strategies - such as Z12 - will not work on a
low-end VPS with little RAM. Live trading uses minimal memory and will
normally always work.
It is recommended to disable automatic Windows updates for preventing
reboots that interrupt the trading session. Make also sure that the time and the time zone of the VPS is set up correctly. It does not matter which time zone - you can either use your PC's time zone, or the VPS time zone, or any other time zone - but the VPS time must
match the zone. If it is wrong, Zorro will display a wrong UTC time in the server window, and strategies based on market open and close times - such as gap trading - won't work anymore. If in doubt, set the VPS to the
same time and time zone of your PC at home.
Zorro can utilize functions and libraries from several other free software
packages: R, Python, and
Visual Studio C++. If you want to code in C++ or if you
need additional statistical or machine learning functions, install the packages
and enter their paths in ZorroFix.ini. When your trading
algorithm uses R or Python, it must be also installed on the trading server.
Visual Studio is not needed for deployment, but you might need to install the
redistributable package, vc_redist.x86.exe or
vc_redist.x64.exe. They are freely available from Microsoft.
If one Zorro is good, many Zorros are even better. The free Zorro version can
trade with one instance, one broker, and one account only. Zorro S allows to run many Zorro instances simultaneously with different scripts (for details about setting up
multiple broker connections, see Account List). How many Zorro instances can run at the same time depends on the broker
API, the Internet bandwidth, and the PC speed and memory resources. As an example, a Amazon EC2 Micro Instance can support
about 4 Zorro instances with a direct broker connection, or up to 2
instances with a MT4 connection.
If the parallel trading Zorros use different broker APIs, set the NOLOCK flag for speeding up API access. Otherwise a synchronization mechanism lets
any Zorro wait with accessing the broker API until other Zorros have finished their API access.
When running multiple Zorros with the same script, make sure that they don't
write into the same logs or temporary files. The Script
string and/or the LogNumber variable can be
used to let any Zorro generate different file names. For communication between
different Zorro instances, see Interprocess Communication.
Unlocking Zorro S
Zorro S licenses come either with a key file
(for permanent licenses) or with a 20-digit token (for subscriptions). If you
have a key, unzip it in the Zorro folder - that's all. If you have a token,
enter it in Zorro.ini. Permanent licenses include 2 years
Zorro updates. For updating Zorro further after 2 years, the period can be
Private traders can install Zorro S on multiple PCs or servers that are under
their exclusive control. Corporations need one license per PC or server.
Disable live trading
If you let your apprentice develop trading strategies, you can cripple his Zorro so that live trading is disabled. For this, open the Plugin folder and remove
all .dll files
inside. Zorro can then still run scripts and backtests and has access to online
data sources, but cannot connect to a broker or exchange.
Rebooting a live trading server should be avoided. But if it still happens, the trading
session can be automatically resumed when the server restarts. Here's the
procedure - you'll need Zorro S since the free
version does not fully support command lines:
- Create a file startup.bat in the Zorro folder. Here's
an example that starts Global Prime MT4, waits 25 seconds, then starts a Zorro
START /D "C:\Program Files(x86)\Global Prime - MetaTrader 4\Terminal.exe"
START Zorro.exe -trade MyStrategy -stay
- Right click on startup.bat and select Create Shortcut.
- When the shortcut has been created, right-click it and select
- Hit Windows-R to open the Run window.
- In the Run window, type shell:startup to open the
- When the Startup folder has been opened, click the Home tab at the top
of the folder and select Paste to paste the
shortcut into the folder.
The startup.bat file will then be executed at any reboot. Depending on the
Windows version, the Startup folder can be different - on older versions it's
and you can edit it with msconfig. On Windows Server, open
Administrative Tools / Task Scheduler and enter the task
with the properties "Start a program" / "When the computer
starts". Please note that some server configurations are reported to start
Zorro in minimized mode with no GUI when no user is logged in. In this case, use
"At Log on" rather than "At startup", specify the user account in the task
properties, and use the Microsoft Sysinternals Autologon program to establish
automatic logon at start.
A server breakdown due to a hardware failure can be fatal for some trading
systems. In such a case, a fallback server should immediately take over the
trading when the original server becomes unresponsive. This is the suggested
setup of such a configuration:
- The fallback server must contain a Zorro installation with a twin of the
trading system and all necessary files. It should be accessible from the
trading server either through an IP address or as a mapped network drive.
- The trading system continuously counts up a 'heartbeat' variable and
stores it on the fallback server with a
call. This variable serves as signal that the trading server is still
- At any relevant change of the trading status, i.e. opening or closing a
position, or change of an essential trade or algo variable, the trading system saves its status on the fallback server with a
- The system on the fallback server checks the heartbeat variable
continuously for detecting a problem with the original server. If the
heartbeat variable stops counting, the fallback system loads the trading
status with a loadStatus call, sends an
email to notify the user about the problem, and
takes over the trading.
- The fallback server can also send a similar heartbeat variable to the
trading server. In this way the trading system can detect a breakdown of
the fallback server, and notify the user by email about the problem.
- When trading server and fallback server are not physically located on
the same network, heartbeat and trading status can be exchanged via
If you want to start a session at a specific time or date, such as every Monday at 15:30 pm, you can do that with
the Zorro command line and the Windows Task Scheduler. Here's the procedure - you'll need Zorro S since the free
version does not fully support command lines:
- Open the Task Scheduler (on German Windows
- Under Action, open a new task. Use a weekly
(or daily, or monthly) trigger with the desired start time.
- For the task, select Start Program. In the
program window, enter the Zorro task, for instance:
C:\Users\MyName\Zorro\Zorro.exe -trade MyScript
Control the task's properties, then save and finish. It should now
appear in the scheduler's task list.
Publishing the trading status
It is recommended that you regularly observe Zorro's trade list, profit status, and messages on your PC or smartphone. For this
purpose, Zorro displays the trade status and the message window permanently on a
website that's updated once per minute. The tricky part is to make that page
visible on the Internet. Here's the instruction for Amazon EC2 with Windows Server 2012
/ 2016 (similar for Google Cloud instances):
- Open your VPS desktop with Windows Remote Desktop or TeamViewer, and use the Server Manager to add a new role. From the selection of roles, select "Web Server (IIS)". Windows will walk you through the setup - the default settings will do - and install the server.
- In the Amazon EC2 dashboard, select the "security group" of your instance and add a new inbound rule. Select "HTTP"
(TCP protocol, port 80). This will make your website visible to the public.
On a Google Cloud instance, make sure that HTTP and HTTPS traffic is enabled.
When you now enter the public IP address of your server in a browser, you
should see the IIS logo.
- In the zorro.ini file, edit WebFolder and set it to the web folder of your server. The default web folder of a Windows server is normally C:\inetpub\wwwroot.
- You can now visit Zorro's trade status page through the public IP address of your server - for instance, by entering
http:\\198.765.43.12\Z12.htm in your browser's address field. Note that anyone else who knows this address can observe your trade success!
So you might want to add an authentication
role to the IIS web server, or hide the status page in a cryptic
Providing trade signals
Some trade copy services such as ZuluTrade™ offer a free VPS for their signal providers. The VPS is already configured, completely with MT4, but it's a little tricky to copy Zorro onto it. Here's the procedure for ZuluTrade
(Zorro S required):
- Open a MT4 demo account with a broker of your choice (f.i. AAAFx, Zulutrade's own broker). When starting MT4, you'll get a form for adding an account; write down the login number and the password that you'll see in the MTR4 welcome message. You can deinstall MT4 afterwards, as you only needed the login data. The MT4 demo account will not expire unless the broker goes broke or the account is inactive for
- Register as a trader on ZuluTrade. On the MT4 link settings, give the login number and password from the previous step. Zulutrade will now link your trader account to the MT4 version. If that was successful, you'll get a button under your [Settings] tab for connecting to your VPS. Note that sometimes you have to wait a couple of weeks until a free VPS slot is available and the button appears.
- Click the [Connect] button to open the VPS. The VPS desktop will appear in your browser. Compress a copy of your Zorro folder to a single zip archive; strip it before from files not needed for trading, such as the content of the Log folder, or the price data files in the History folder. A stripped down Zorro archive has only a size of about 10 MB. Upload the zip file to the VPS. With Zulutrade, you can do this with the upload manager: click on the half-transparent round icon at the top of the VPS desktop, then click [Select Files] and navigate to the Zorro zip file on your PC.
- Once the archive is uploaded, open the folder on the VPS that receives uploaded files - on the ZuluTrade VPS it's the ZuluHDD folder. You can now open the archive and drag the Zorro folder inside over to the MTR4 Experts folder. Zorro can run from anywhere, so it's no problem to have it in a MTR4 subfolder.
- Now install the MT4 bridge on the VPS. You can now start MT4 and Zorro on the VPS, select your strategy, click [Trade] and begin generating trade signals.
When you provide signals, please play fair in the interest of your followers. Do not use martingale or similar methods, even though this might attract more followers at first. In the end, only the few signal providers that survive more than one or two
months will earn long-term trust and profits.
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