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Installing Cygwin on Windows XP

This is what the first cohort of MOAC students (i.e. my year) used to allow them to do their C++ programming on their laptops (running just Windows XP). The second intake of MOAC students actually ended up dual booting their laptops between Windows XP and Suse Linux (with the GCC tools running in Linux). So this may not be of much interest to the newer MOAC students...

Programs are written in a text based language (e.g. C++) which must be translated into a program (machine code) for the computer to run. This is done using a compiler.

You can buy C++ compilers to use on Windows (e.g. Microsoft Visual C++). Also, the University Unix machines have the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) tools installed (which are free).

These instructions are for installing Cygwin (and subsidiary programs) on Windows XP. Cygwin is a Unix like environment that runs on top of windows, in particular it allows us to use the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to compile our programs.

You may also want to look at the official Cygwin/X User's Guide, in particular the section Installing Cygwin/X.

Summary of Paths

Windows C: Drive
Windows - C:\
Cygwin - /cygdrive/c/

Windows D: Drive
Windows - D:\
Cygwin - /cygdrive/d/

Cygwin folder:
Windows - C:\Cygwin\
Cygwin - /

Cygwin setup folder, where we put Setup.exe and the downloaded files are kept by the setup program:
Windows - C:\Cygwin\Setup\
Cygwin - /Setup/

Cygwin Home folder for username. We made a shortcut to this on the desktop.
Windows - C:\Cygwin\Home\username\
Cywgin - /Home/username/ or ~ (tilde)

Windows XP Home folder for username:
Windows - C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\
Cygwin - /cygdrive/c/Documents and Settings/username/My Documents/