Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

To search and download a package missed from Cygwin I need to run setup.exe GUI each time, click many times and do other boring things.

Is there a way to do the same from Cygwin's command line directly? Like apt-get tools do.

share|improve this question
Excellent question! – Luc M Nov 25 '10 at 1:08
up vote 33 down vote accepted

Take a look here:

Aside from the other things, it gives the following list of options to setup.exe:

Command Line Options:
 -A --disable-buggy-antivirus           Disable known or suspected buggy anti
                    virus software packages during execution.
 -C --categories                        Specify entire categories to install
 -D --download                          Download from internet
 -d --no-desktop                        Disable creation of desktop shortcut
 -h --help                              print help
 -K --pubkey                            Path to extra public key file (gpg format)
 -L --local-install                     Install from local directory
 -l --local-package-dir                 Local package directory
 -n --no-shortcuts                      Disable creation of desktop and start menu
 -N --no-startmenu                      Disable creation of start menu shortcut
 -O --only-site                         Ignore all sites except for -s
 -P --packages                          Specify packages to install
 -p --proxy                             HTTP/FTP proxy (host:port)
 -q --quiet-mode                        Unattended setup mode
 -r --no-replaceonreboot                Disable replacing in-use files on next
 -R --root                              Root installation directory
 -S --sexpr-pubkey                      Extra public key in s-expr format
 -s --site                              Download site
 -U --keep-untrusted-keys               Use untrusted keys and retain all
 -u --untrusted-keys                    Use untrusted keys from last-extrakeys
 -X --no-verify                         Don't verify setup.ini signatures

So setup.exe -P <package name> should do the job. Don't have cygwin right here, so test it to confirm it works as expected.

To search for a package, per:

you can use cygcheck -p:

  cygcheck -p REGEXP
  -p, --package-query  search for REGEXP in the entire package
                       repository (requires internet connectivity)

which produces output like (example from above site):

$ cygcheck -p 'libexpat.*\.a'
Found 2 matches for 'libexpat.*\.a'.

expat-1.95.7-1            XML parser library written in C
expat-1.95.8-1            XML parser library written in C
share|improve this answer
Caveat: if the update replaces cygwin1.dll, Cygwin programs will start to misbehave, and the Cygwin documentations recommend a reboot. So it's best to close all Cygwin programs, then run setup.exe directly from cmd (if you want to automate, use a batch file, not a shell script). – Gilles Nov 25 '10 at 1:52
Thanks! Another thing I need is the ability to search, because I don't know yet what a package I want to download. Once I'll find the full list of packages I could grep it at least... – Pavel Vlasov Nov 25 '10 at 12:18
See the edit for an example. – Nov 25 '10 at 14:02

This performs an unattended upgrade of all cygwin components

cd C:\cygwin
wget -N
setup.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode

You should reboot after the upgrade is completed to prevent cygwin apps from misbehaving due to upgraded cygwin1.dll

--no-desktop Disable creation of desktop shortcut

--no-shortcuts Disable creation of desktop and start menu

--no-startmenu Disable creation of start menu shortcut

--quiet-mode Unattended setup mode

share|improve this answer
Would you mind expanding on the answer to explain what each command does? – Raystafarian Jul 27 '13 at 1:32
I believe now you may need setup-x86_64.exe or setup-x86.exe. – drescherjm Jul 30 '14 at 17:10

An alternate solution would be to use the apt-cyg script available on GitHub.

share|improve this answer
It doesn't support upgrading cygwin itself, I think. – thoni56 Jun 18 '15 at 5:02
@ThomasNilsson why do you think that? – André Neves Oct 18 '15 at 21:26
Since you'd be running it from a shell using cygwin1.dll. Of course you could use another shell... – thoni56 Oct 20 '15 at 7:04
the "real" question was NOT update, but "how to install one package without using setup UI", and this is the REAL answer ... really, is a LOT better than setup -p be cuz, it WILL TELL YOU WHAT IT DOES, and not just put your faith blindly on setup – THESorcerer Oct 28 '15 at 16:56

The location for Cygwin's setup seems to have changes and split. Now you need either



share|improve this answer

The installer allows it from command line (elevated shell, please):

setup-x86.exe --root c:\cygwin -q --upgrade-also

for 64 bits version:

setup-x86_64.exe --root c:\cygwin -q --upgrade-also


  • Replace c:\cygwin with your CygWin's root installation directory.
  • Suggested to close any CygWin shell or program (i.e: net stop sshd if you installed OpenSSH).
  • The parameter -q is not mandatory.

Works via GUI (DOS shell) or even on remote console (SSH or telnet). Not tested on PowerShell (someone did?).

Example of correct updating output:

G:\Instalac\CygWin\v2.852>Starting cygwin install, version 2.852
User has backup/restore rights
Current Directory: g:\Instalac\CygWin\Packages
Could not open service McShield for query, start and stop. McAfee may not be installed, or we don't have access.
root: c:\cygwin system
Selected local directory: g:\Instalac\CygWin\Packages
net: Direct
Loaded cached mirror list
Changing gid back to original
Visited: 122 nodes out of 4415 while creating dependency order.
Dependency order of packages: _autorebase base-cygwin cygwin _update-info-dir libgcc1 libiconv2 libintl8 alternatives libattr1 li
bgmp10 coreutils libstdc++6 terminfo libncursesw10 libreadline7 bash findutils sed base-files libuuid1 libblkid1 libsmartcols1 zl
ib0 util-linux bashdb zlib-devel binutils libbz2_1 bzip2 libffi6 libp11-kit0 libtasn1_6 p11-kit p11-kit-trust ca-certificates cry
pt libmpfr4 gawk editrights libpcre1 grep libsigsegv2 diffutils csih cygrunsrv popt libpopt0 cygutils cygwin-devel dash file liba
tomic1 libcloog-isl4 libgomp1 libisl10 libmpc3 libquadmath0 libssp0 w32api-headers w32api-runtime windows-default-manifest gcc-co
re libexpat1 liblzma5 libdb4.8 libgdbm4 libopenssl100 libsqlite3_0 libcharset1 libiconv libintl-devel libuuid-devel python gdb li
bargp getent groff gzip hostname info ipc-utils libncurses10 less libapr1 libiodbc2 libmysqlclient18 libcom_err2 libkrb5support0
libk5crypto3 libkrb5_3 libgssapi_krb5_2 libsasl2_3 libopenldap2_4_2 perl openssl libpq5 libaprutil1 libedit0 libproxy1 libneon27
libpipeline1 libserf1_0 login lynx make man-db mintty nano ncurses openssh procps psmisc rebase run screen subversion xz tar tzco
de vim-minimal which zsh
Changing gid to Administrators
Ending cygwin install

If, during update, you had issues like these:

The following DLLs couldn't be rebased due to errors:


The following DLLs couldn't be rebased because they were in use:


ReBaseImage (/usr/bin/cygcrypt-0.dll) failed with last error = 6

...then you must rebase after installation:

1.- Close all CygWin shell, programs and services.
2.- Open c:\CygWin\bin\ash.exe as admin (elevated).
3.- Run /bin/rebaseall.

share|improve this answer

I felt this need too a while ago. I used to just keep the installer file downloaded so I could just run it to install, but occasionally as Cygwin would be updated, the installer file would become out of date. I ended up creating a Powershell script that auto-elevates, downloads the installer, and runs an unattended upgrade. I have it sit on my desktop and can just right-click and "Run with Powershell" and it will perform an in-place upgrade of all my Cygwin packages. The only user interaction needed is for UAC and a "Press any key to continue" prompt at the very end. It can be run from the command-line as well, though, as it is just a script.

I have had the code up here for a while:

I copied it below. I wrote it with the help of a few StackOverflow Q&As as well. :) All you have to do to be able to run it is to enable local Powershell scripts on your machine. It's a complete, Windows-native solution.

# Get the ID and security principal of the current user account
$myWindowsPrincipal=new-object System.Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal($myWindowsID)

# Get the security principal for the Administrator role

# Check to see if we are currently running "as Administrator"
if ($myWindowsPrincipal.IsInRole($adminRole)) {
   # We are running "as Administrator" - so change the title and background color to indicate this
   $Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = $myInvocation.MyCommand.Definition + "(Elevated)"
   $Host.UI.RawUI.BackgroundColor = "DarkBlue"
else {
   # We are not running "as Administrator" - so relaunch as administrator

   # Create a new process object that starts PowerShell
   $newProcess = new-object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo "PowerShell";

   # Specify the current script path and name as a parameter
   $newProcess.Arguments = $myInvocation.MyCommand.Definition;

   # Indicate that the process should be elevated
   $newProcess.Verb = "runas";

   # Start the new process

   # Exit from the current, unelevated, process

# Run your code that needs to be elevated here
(new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('','setup-x86_64.exe')

if (!$?) {
   Write-Host "Something wrong happened when downloading the Cygwin installer."
   Write-Host -NoNewLine "Press any key to continue..."
   $null = $Host.UI.RawUI.ReadKey("NoEcho,IncludeKeyDown")

$p = Start-Process .\setup-x86_64.exe -ArgumentList "--upgrade-also --quiet-mode" -wait -NoNewWindow -PassThru

if ($p.ExitCode -ne 0) {
   Write-Host "Cygwin setup failed with an error!"

Remove-Item .\setup-x86_64.exe

Write-Host -NoNewLine "Press any key to continue..."
$null = $Host.UI.RawUI.ReadKey("NoEcho,IncludeKeyDown")
share|improve this answer

Expanding on @Johnny's answer

The annoyance I faced were occasion prompts that the .ini file is from a newer version of Cygwin's setup.exe

I wrote myself the following script to self-update, and then update all that needs to, noninteractively.


@echo on
cd /d e:\cygwin
move /y cygwinSetup-x86_64.exe   setup-x86_64.exe
wget --progress=dot -S -N
move /y  setup-x86_64.exe cygwinSetup-x86_64.exe 

cygwinSetup-x86_64.exe   --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode
share|improve this answer

Unattended upgrade

setup-x86.exe -q -g


Command Line Options:
 -q --quiet-mode                   Unattended setup mode
 -g --upgrade-also                 also upgrade installed packages
share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .