Installing Cygwin on a Windows PC.
User Level: Beginner
- Installing Cygwin and SSH
- Post Installation
SSH to the Computer Science Lab Machines
- Setting the Terminal Type
- Installing More Applications
- Other Resources
This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on installing Cygwin
on a Windows PC, with an extra step to install ssh. The post installation
section includes example usage of ssh and instructions on adding new applications.
In order to install Cygwin you will need:
- Either Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP. Cygwin does not
run under Windows 3.11.
- 45 MB free disk space.
- An internet connection.
After using the UNIX systems in the Computer Science labs most
students want or need a way to run UNIX programs on their own machine.
Some want the UNIX tools that do not exist in Windows
(e.g. bash, tcsh, less, grep, Vim, Emacs, etc.).
Others, tired of the trek to the labs, want to complete their course
work at home.
Their are a few ways to install a UNIX environment on your home system.
- Install one of the UNIX like operating systems: FreeBSD, Linux,
OpenBSD, NetBSD, etc.
- Complete UNIX environment running natively
on your computer without the need of another
They tend to be more
stable than Windows 95/98/Me.
Only for an expert level computer user.
Normally, computers come with their entire hard
disk devoted to Windows. Installing one of
these UNIXs requires reformatting and partitioning
the harddrive to create space for Windows and
With the extra power of these UNIXs comes a
somewhat less user friendly experience than Windows.
However, there are some that attempt to be as
friendly as Windows, e.g. RedHat Linux.
- Install the Cygwin UNIX environment under Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP.
This is the best option for most users.
Gain access to the UNIX tools you use.
Runs under Windows and does not require
Can add the X environment to display graphical
UNIX programs running on your machine and
remotely running from the Computer Science labs.
- Some UNIX tools may not yet be ported to the
If you have Mac OS X Congratuations! you already have a UNIX
environment. Click the Terminal icon and get started. If you
have an older Mac OS you can install a UNIX like operating system.
See the comment on that above.
- Click here: http://www.cygwin.com to
get the setup program. The link will open a new window.
In the Cygwin webpage window click the Cygwin icon that says
"Install now!" and download the setup program to your Desktop, or
a folder you will remember.
The icon looks like:
Find the setup program you just downloaded and double click it.
The setup programs icon will look like:
- Once the setup program launches you will see setup screen. Click
the Next button.
We will use the default Install from the Internet so click
By default Cygwin will install in C:\cygwin. This is fine.
We will use the default options in all the boxes so click Next
Cygwin stores setup files in a temporary directory. We will use
the default directory so click Next. After setup is complete
you may delete the directory Cygwin creates under the directory
listed to save disk space.
If you don't know what type of internet connection you have, or you live
in the dorms, leave the default Direct Connection selected.
Between the last step and this step a screen will briefly flash, this
is normal, it is downloading a list of Cygwin download sites.
In this step you will select a download site to get Cygwin from.
A fast site near RIT is http://ftp.lug.udel.edu find it
in the scroll box by scrolling down. Then select it with the
curser, then click Next
This screen briefly flashes depending on how fast your internet
connection is. Do NOT press anything. it will automatically
go to the next screen when finished.
The select packages screen shows a tree of packages by category
that you can install. Most applications you need are installed
by default, however, ssh is not.
The way applciations are listed can be changed by pressing
the View button. Each time you press the view button
it moves to the next view. There are three different views:
Because ssh is not installed by default in the next two
steps we will select it.
- Category A tree structure with applications
placed under the category they belong to. For example,
emacs is under Editors.
Full A detailed listing of all packages
in alphabetical order. Under this view
you can tell the current version number of a
package if it is installed. In addtion, in the
New column it will tell you what will
happen to this package during setup.
Most commonly you will see:
By pressing the rotating arrow symbol,
can alternate between the different choices.
For example, if it says Skip and you click the
icon it will then change to a version number or
the word Install both indicating the pacakge will
be isntalled by setup. You can click a few more
times on the icon, , to go back to skip. We will
do this shortly to install ssh.
- Skip Nothing will change
with this package.
- Keep The package is installed
and it will stay installed.
- Install The package will
be installed by setup.
- Unistall The pacakge will be
removed by setup.
- [version number] You may
see a version number of a package.
This indicates this version will
be installed. Sometimes multiple
versions of the same package
will be availabe.
Partial A listing of packages that will be
installed, uninstalled, and updated.
We will now select the ssh package to install.
If you have not already done so, click the View button
to show the Full listing.
Scroll down until you see openssh: The OpenSSH server
and client programs.
Some of the text may be cut off by the window. There is
only one openssh; it does not matter if you do not
see the full description.
Notice in the New column openssh will be Skipped.
Click the rotating arrow symbol once,. This will show the
version number of openssh that will be installed.
Go down to the next step to see the result.
Now that you have selected openssh to intall you will notice
that openssl will also install. This occurs because openssh
is dependent on openssl. You do not need to worry about dependences
because Cygwin will automatically install packages required by
Now we are ready to install Cygwin. Click Next
Depending on how fast your internet connection is this may take a while.
At this point Cygwin has downloaded all the necessary files it needs.
Keep the Creat icon on Desktop box checked so a Cygwin shortcut
will be placed on the Desktop. This may be deleted later.
You may also want to check the Add icon to Start Menu to
access Cygwin through the Start Menu.
A few black screens will pop up. This is normal as Cygwin
is configuring itself. It will automatically go to the next screen.
Congratulations! You are done. Click Ok to exit the setup program.
Now that Cygwin is installed lets try a few commands.
To launch Cygwin double click the Cygwin icon on your Desktop,
. The Cygwin shell will appear.
By default Cygwin uses the bash shell. The prompt is split into two lines.
The top line shows that the user Sam
is working on the computer ARSENIC
in his home directory ~
Try a few UNIX commands in the cygwin shell, e.g., ls, mkdir, rmdir, etc,
then move to the next step.
Note: In cygwin the more
command does not exist by default, use
command which does the same thing instead.
Now we ssh into a Computer Science machine. At the prompt type:
ssh <username>@<computer address>
replace <username> with your username and <computer address> with
the address of a CS lab computer.
Note on the Computer Science Lab computer addresses. You can ssh into any of
the machines in the CSL and ICLs using the machine name follwed by cs.rit.edu. For example, to ssh into newyork use the address
When you ssh into a machine ssh checks its authenticity, meaning that it
wants to make sure the machine you are sshing into is the machine you
are truely sshing into. The first time you ssh into a machine ssh has
nothing to check the authenticity of a machine against, except for you. This
is why on the first time you ssh into a machine it asks if you are sure
you want to do this. When you type yes ssh will store information
about the machine so it can check authenticity without prompting you next time.
After you type yes you are prompted for a password.
Type your computer science account password, it will not appear
on the screen.
At this point you have the same shell as you would when logging in directly
at a lab machine. You may start any program that operates within a shell, e.g.
ls, cp, Emacs, Vim; however, applications that require a graphical interface,
e.g. Netscape and acroread will return an error. In a later tutorial we will
setup an X server on your machine so graphical applications can run remotely.
Notice the error message:
Type cygwin unkown
Terminal type = cygwin
This occurs because Cygwin told the shell it uses the cygwin terminal
to render data, and the computer science machines are not setup to work with
this protocal. This causes problems with certain applications which rely
on a known terminal protocol. For example, if you type emacs you will
get a long error message, which basically means emacs is confused.
To fix this we need to set the terminal type to a protocal the CS systems
At the prompt type: setenv TERM ansi
This will set the terminal protocal to ansi, which is compatiable with the
cygwin protocal, and known by the CS systems.
Now try emacs again.
Unless you want to set the TERM type manually every time you ssh into
the systems we need a more permanent solution.
- In your home directory type: emacs .login
This will open the .login file which is executed everytime you login
to the systems.
- Under the line: source /usr/local/lib/config/Login
Enter this code:
if( $TERM == "cygwin" ) then
setenv TERM ansi
Save and exit.
Now when you ssh from cygwin the terminal will be set to a protocal the
CS systems know. Note: that the error message will still appear because .login
is executed after the terminal type is checked, however, emacs and other
applications will now work correctly.
To exit from the computer science machine type: logout
There are generally three ways to install an application under the Cygwin
- Use the Setup program and select the packages to install.
This is the easiest and recomended method if the application
is avaiable under Setup.
- Download a the applications binary and install it in your path.
This is the second easiest way, however, care must be taken
to get all the files the binary depends upon, and binaries
are not always available.
- Download the source code, compile, and install it yourself.
Occasionally an application will not be distributed through the
Setup program or as a binary file. But availabe as source code.
To compile it you need the correct compiler and all dependent
packages. These installations range from easy to very difficult
depending on the how much effort the distributer spends on
packaging the application.
We will use the Setup program to install man, Emacs, and Vim.
are encouraged to look through the packages availble for other applications
you may like.
Note: To install Emacs, man, and Vim as detailed below you need atleast
51 MB of free space.
- If you deleted the Setup program that was used to install Cygwin, or can't find
it, download it again from http://www.cygwin.com. Click here to go back to the installation step detailing
When you have the Setup program double click it.
- Click Next until you see the Select Packages screen.
Then click View to get the Full view.
- In the full view scroll down until you see Emacs and Click on
the rotating arrow symbol, , to select
it for installation, the same we selected openssh for installation
in the Installing Cygwin section.
Now find man and Vim. Click on their rotating arrows, to intall them.
To view a list of all the applications that will be intalled click
View for the Partial view.
You may have more applications shown because Cygwin will automatically
update to new versions of applications when availabe each time
you go through Setup. It is a good idea to go through setup occasionally
to keep your system up-to-date.
Once you have selected all the applications you want to install
click Next. The download progress screen will appear.
This may take a while depending on your internet connection speed.
- Cygwin will then prompt if you want to create icons.
A few black screens will pop up while Cygwin configures the new
When the Installation Complete window appears click Ok
The applications are installed. You may now use them in the
Cygwin shell. Repeat the process for other appliations you want
Cygwin User Manual
Cygwin project homepage http://www.cygwin.com
Dictionary of Computer Related Terms
Last upadated September 25, 2002.
This tutorial was created by Samuel Inverso using