Table of Contents
To install the Cygwin net release, go to http://cygwin.com/ and run either setup-x86.exe to install the 32 bit version of Cygwin, or setup-x86_64.exe to install the 64 bit version of Cygwin. This will download a GUI installer which can be run to download a complete cygwin installation via the internet. Follow the instructions on each screen to install Cygwin.
The setup.exe installer is designed to be easy
for new users to understand while remaining flexible for the
experienced. The volunteer development team is constantly working
on setup.exe; before requesting a new feature,
check the wishlist in the CVS
. It may already be present in the CVS version!
On Windows Vista and later, setup.exe will check by
default if it runs with administrative privileges and, if not, will try
to elevate the process. If you want to avoid this behaviour and install
under an unprivileged account just for your own usage, run
setup.exe with the
Since the default value for each option is the logical choice for
most installations, you can get a working minimal Cygwin environment
installed by simply clicking the
at each page. The only exception to this is choosing a Cygwin mirror,
which you can choose by experimenting with those listed at
. For more details about each of page of the
setup.exe installation, read on below.
Please note that this guide assumes that you have a basic understanding
of Unix (or a Unix-like OS). If you are new to Unix, you will also want
to make use of
Cygwin uses packages to manage installing various software. When
Install from Internet option is chosen,
setup.exe creates a local directory to store
the packages before actually installing the contents.
Download from Internet performs only the first
part (storing the packages locally), while
Install from Local Directory performs only the
second (installing the contents of the packages).
Download from Internet option is mainly
for creating a base Cygwin package tree on one computer for
installation on several machines with
Install from Local Directory; copy the
entire local package tree to another machine with the directory
tree intact. For example, you might create a
directory and place setup.exe in it. Run
Install from Internet
Download from Internet, then copy the whole
C:\cache\ to each machine and instead choose
Install from Local Directory.
Though this provides some basic mirroring functionality, if you are managing a large Cygwin installation, to keep up to date we recommend using a mirroring tool such as wget. A helpful user on the Cygwin mailing list created a simple demonstration script to accomplish this; search the list for mkcygwget for ideas.
Root Directory for Cygwin (default
C:\cygwin) will become
within your Cygwin installation. You must have write access to
the parent directory, and any ACLs on the parent directory will
determine access to installed files.
Install For options of
Just Me should always be left on the default
All Users, unless you do not have write access to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the registry or the All Users
Start Menu. This is true even if you are the only user planning to use Cygwin
on the machine. Selecting
Just Me will cause problems
for programs such as crond and sshd.
If you do not have the necessary permissions, but still want to use these
programs, consult the Cygwin mailing list archives about others' experiences.
Local Package Directory is the cache where
setup.exe stores the packages before they are
installed. The cache must not be the same folder as the Cygwin
root. Within the cache, a separate directory is created for each
Cygwin mirror, which allows setup.exe to use
multiple mirrors and custom packages. After installing Cygwin,
the cache is no longer necessary, but you may want to retain the
packages as backups, for installing Cygwin to another system,
or in case you need to reinstall a package.
Direct Connection method of downloading will
directly download the packages, while the IE5 method will leverage your
IE5 cache for performance. If your organisation uses a proxy server or
auto-configuration scripts, the IE5 method also uses these settings.
If you have a proxy server, you can manually type it into
Use Proxy section. Unfortunately,
setup.exe does not currently support password
authorization for proxy servers.
Since there is no way of knowing from where you will be downloading
Cygwin, you need to choose at least one mirror site. Cygwin mirrors
are geographically distributed around the world; check the list at http://cygwin.com/mirrors.html
to find one near you. You can select multiple mirrors by holding down
CTRL and clicking on each one. If you have the URL of
an unlisted mirror (for example, if your organization has an internal Cygwin
mirror) you can add it.
For each selected mirror site, setup.exe downloads a
small text file called
setup.bz2 that contains a list
of packages available from that site along with some basic information about
each package which setup.exe parses and uses to create the
chooser window. For details about the format of this file, see
The chooser is the most complex part of setup.exe.
Packages are grouped into categories, and one package may belong to multiple
categories (assigned by the volunteer package maintainer). Each package
can be found under any of those categories in the hierarchical chooser view.
By default, setup.exe
will install only the packages in the
and their dependencies, resulting in a minimal Cygwin installation.
However, this will not include many commonly used tools such as
gcc (which you will find in the
category). Since setup.exe automatically selects
dependencies, be careful not to unselect any required packages. In
particular, everything in the
Base category is
You can change setup.exe's view style, which is helpful
if you know the name of a package you want to install but not which
category it is in.
Click on the
View button and it will rotate between
Category (the default),
Pending (only packages to be
installed, removed or upgraded).
If you are familiar with Unix, you will probably want to at least glance
Full listing for your favorite tools.
Once you have an existing Cygwin installation, the setup.exe
chooser is also used to manage your Cygwin installation.
Information on installed packages is kept in the
/etc/setup/ directory of your Cygwin installation; if
setup.exe cannot find this directory it will act as if
you have no Cygwin installation. If setup.exe
finds a newer version of an installed package available, it will automatically
mark it to be upgraded.
Reinstall, or get the
Source for an existing package, click on
Keep to toggle it.
Also, to avoid the need to reboot after upgrading, make sure
to close all Cygwin windows and stop all Cygwin processes before
setup.exe begins to install the upgraded package.
To avoid unintentionally upgrading, use the
view to see which packages have been marked for upgrading. If you
don't want to upgrade a package, click on the new version number to
toggle it until it says
Keep. All packages can be
set to stay at the installed version by pressing the
button in the top right part of the chooser window.
A previous version of each package is usually available, in case downgrading
is required to avoid a serious bug in the current version of the package.
Packages also occasionally have testing (or "experimental") versions available.
Previous and experimental versions can be chosen by clicking on the package's
New column until the required version appears.
All available experimental packages can be selected by pressing the
Exp in the top right part of the chooser window.
Be warned, however, that the next time you run setup.exe
it will try to replace all old or experimental versions with the current
version, unless told otherwise.
First, setup.exe will download all selected packages to the local directory chosen earlier. Before installing, setup.exe performs a checksum on each package. If the local directory is a slow medium (such as a network drive) this can take a long time. During the download and installation, setup.exe shows progress bars for the current task and total remaining disk space.
You may choose to install "Cygwin Terminal" shortcuts on the Desktop
and/or Start Menu. These shortcuts run mintty,
which will start your default shell as specified
Last of all, setup.exe will run any post-install
scripts to finish correctly setting up installed packages. Since each
script is run separately, several windows may pop up. If you are
interested in what is being done, see the Cygwin Package Contributor's
Guide at http://cygwin.com/setup.html
When the last post-install script is completed, setup.exe
will display a box announcing the completion. A few packages, such as
the OpenSSH server, require some manual site-specific configuration.
Relevant documentation can be found in the
Unfortunately, the complex setup process means that odd problems can
occur. If you're having trouble downloading packages, it may be network
congestion, so try a different mirror and/or a different protocol (i.e.,
HTTP instead of FTP). If you notice something is not working after
running setup, you can check the setup.exe log file
/var/log/setup.log.full. Make a backup of this
file before running setup.exe again, and follow the
steps for Reporting
Problems with Cygwin.