Installing Cygwin on Windows for Linux tools

About Cygwin

Every OS has its own unique features, but there are many useful open-source tools, such as rsync or SSH clients, which are accessible on every major Linux distributions and other platforms - but Windows is usually an exception. A lot of these tools are really predominant for certain tasks - e.g. creating backups, controlling machines remotely - and have no open-source substitute on Windows.

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment with command-line interface (terminal) that makes them available on Windows.

Installing Cygwin

Let's say you want to create backups with the rsync tool on Windows. In this case, we would definitely recommend you to install Cygwin, and do so with including the rsync, OpenSSH, and Dos2Unix packages.

1. Download the setup file

First, visit Cygwin's install page and download two files:

  • For 32-bit version: setup-x86.exe with the associated signature file;
  • For 64-bit version: setup-x86_64.exe with the associated signature file.

Just to be safe, create a text file with Notepad (hit Win button + R, type in "notepad", and press enter) where you will save the content of Cygwin's public key. Let's save the file to a safe place with the name 'cygwin_public.txt'.

Clicking install page

2. Installation

Run the setup file, select the root folder for Cygwin. We chose C:\cygwin64\ but you can pick your own path and folder name. Remember this folder as we will refer to it as ROUTE in the future. Click next a few times, then choose "install from Internet", select a mirror site,

Clicking through the Cygwin installer

Select packages: search for rsync, OpenSSH, OpenSSL and Dos2Unix individually and mark every package associated with them for install. It's enough to install the binaries (Bin? ), no need for the source files (Src? ). If everything went well, you will have packages marked for install in the Debug, Devel, Libs, Net and Utils categories.

Search for rsync, OpenSSH and Dos2Unix in the Cygwin installer wizard

In the next step, Cygwin will recommend to install the dependencies for the packages which we gladly accept.

Cygwin resolves dependencies
Proceed, wait for the installer, and then end the installation.

3. Open terminal

Go to the directory where you installed Cygwin, and launch the cygwin.bat file to start the terminal.

Cygwin terminal

Tip: you can adjust the cursor size, font size and other preferences if you right-click on the terminal window's address bar and open the properties menu.


With Cygwin installed, you now have a Linux-like command prompt available, and you're all set to do some serious work.

If you want to use Cygwin to create backups: >> continue here.