Describes the process for downloading and installing the freeware program MinGW, typically used by Computer Engineering and Computer Science students

Step-by-step guide

Installing MinGW is not the most straightforward process, but it is easily managed by following the steps outlined below.

To open the MinGW shell, browse to C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\ and run the file called msys.bat

You may wish to create a shortcut to this file in order to avoid having to browse to the file location in the future.

You may leave the mingw-get installation tool on your PC to facilitate package updates in the future, or you may remove it without impacting MinGW's functionality.

If you install OrCAD Lite on the same computer after you install MinGW, you may need to change the default path in MinGW's profile file. You can do this regardless of whether OrCAD Lite is installed to permanently set your default home directory as well.

Open the file C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\etc\profile using a text editor, such as Notepad++. The very last line should read cd "$HOME" by default. Change the text inside the quotation marks to a folder of your choosing, using Linux-recognized forward slashes (/) in the path name, rather than Windows-recognized backslashes (\). For example, you might define the default path as "C:/Users/jsmith/Desktop/ECE251" if you have a folder on your Desktop for that course.

Some users have experienced an issue in which an overzealous antivirus program deletes their compiled code. For example, you might compile helloworld.c using MinGW, and see that the resulting a.exe file gets instantaneously deleted by the antivirus, which mistakenly identifies it is a harmful file. If this happens, you can either try to create an entry in your antivirus's exemption list or uninstall the antivirus and replace it with any number of free alternatives.

For additional assistance, contact the Director of Engineering Information Systems at (219) 464-5122 or via e-mail at

Related articles

Related articles appear here based on the labels you select. Click to edit the macro and add or change labels.

Related issues