If you are an experienced UNIX user who misses a powerful command-line environment, you will enjoy Cygwin. Developers coming from a UNIX background will find a set of utilities they are already comfortable using, including a working UNIX shell. The compiler tools are the standard GNU compilers most people will have previously used under UNIX, only ported to the Windows host. Programmers wishing to port UNIX software to Windows NT will find that the Cygwin library provides an easy way to port many UNIX packages, with only minimal source code changes.
Note that there are some workarounds that cause Cygwin to behave differently than most UNIX-like operating systems; these are described in more detail in the section called “Using Cygwin effectively with Windows”.
Use the graphical command setup.exe any time you want to update or install a Cygwin package. This program must be run manually every time you want to check for updated packages since Cygwin does not currently include a mechanism for automatically detecting package updates.
By default, setup.exe only installs a minimal subset of
packages. Add any other packages by clicking on the
next to the Category name and selecting the package from the displayed
list. You may search for specfic tools by using the
Setup Package Search
at the Cygwin web site.
Another option is to install everything by clicking on the
Default field next to the
category. However, be advised that this will download and install
several hundreds of megabytes of software to your computer. The best
plan is probably to click on individual categories and install either
entire categories or packages from the categories themselves.
After installation, you can find Cygwin-specific documentation in
For more information about what each option in setup.exe means, see the section called “Internet Setup”.