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I'm a blind computer user that uses Cygwin.

The installation program isn't very accessible: upgrading, installing, and removing specific packages is quite hard to do since you have to use simulated mouse keystrokes to click and scroll.

Is there a way to either manually install/upgrade packages or install/upgrade them through the commandline?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 96 down vote accepted

Install apt-cyg:

wget http://apt-cyg.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/apt-cyg
chmod +x apt-cyg
mv apt-cyg /usr/local/bin/

After that you'll be able to install say the package "lynx" including dependencies by running:

apt-cyg install lynx
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After installing apt-cyg, I keep getting the error "Package <packageName> not found or ambiguous name, exiting". anything I missed? –  Adrien Be Dec 11 '13 at 10:49
Nice, just don't have wget installed by default :/ –  Vadorequest Oct 28 '14 at 18:41

Since some people correctly stated that apt-cyg itself needs wget and in order to get apt-cyg you need wget, there is a bash only solution to bootstrap wget in pure bash.

Create a function like this in your mintty bash shell:

function __wget() {
    : ${DEBUG:=0}
    local URL=$1
    local tag="Connection: close"
    local mark=0

    if [ -z "${URL}" ]; then
        printf "Usage: %s \"URL\" [e.g.: %s http://www.google.com/]" \
               "${FUNCNAME[0]}" "${FUNCNAME[0]}"
        return 1;
    read proto server path <<<$(echo ${URL//// })
    DOC=/${path// //}
    [[ x"${HOST}" == x"${PORT}" ]] && PORT=80
    [[ $DEBUG -eq 1 ]] && echo "HOST=$HOST"
    [[ $DEBUG -eq 1 ]] && echo "PORT=$PORT"
    [[ $DEBUG -eq 1 ]] && echo "DOC =$DOC"

    exec 3<>/dev/tcp/${HOST}/$PORT
    echo -en "GET ${DOC} HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: ${HOST}\r\n${tag}\r\n\r\n" >&3
    while read line; do
        [[ $mark -eq 1 ]] && echo $line
        if [[ "${line}" =~ "${tag}" ]]; then
    done <&3
    exec 3>&-

Now you can use it almost like wget:

__wget http://apt-cyg.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/apt-cyg > /usr/bin/apt-cyg && chmod 0755 /usr/bin/apt-cyg
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THAT's awesome! It might be for the geek only, but it works so leet -^.^- –  zzeroo Apr 11 '13 at 11:18
i just registered to upvote and comment a change that worked for me: - while read line; do - [[ $mark -eq 1 ]] && echo $line + while IFS=$'\n'; read line; do + [[ $mark -eq 1 ]] && printf "%s\n" $line –  user311174 Jan 6 '14 at 20:36
Excuse me, @moreaki, but there is one thing I can not understand from apt-cyg: in the classical CygWin Windows installer I may/must specify the repositories/packages location, whether be it one of the (many) ftp/http download sites, or local drive (in my computer). I don't see such option in the official googlecode site. Where does apt-cyg download the packages from? –  Sopalajo de Arrierez Apr 19 '14 at 19:24
Pardon my late reply. I have just skimmed through the code of apt-cyg on the official googlecode site and to me it looks like the selected download site seems to be http://mirrors.kernel.org/sourceware/cygwin, as specified in findworkspace(), when you haven't specified the mirror using the command line option -m. If you specify the command line, the mirror server information will be written to /etc/setup/last-mirror. –  Moreaki Jun 19 '14 at 17:29

The official apt-cyg installation method is:

# svn --force export http://apt-cyg.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ /bin/
# chmod +x /bin/apt-cyg

Two steps is better than three. ;-)


# apt-cyg install nano

By the way, to make it work you will need to install wget, tar, gawk and bzip2 in order to use apt-cyg. Apart from wget, the others come with default Cygwin installation.

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For 64-bit Cygwin, svn and apt-cyg may be broken. So you may have to use the three step wget approach to install apt-cyg and then replace $mirror/setup... with $mirror/x86_64/setup... in lines 98 and 105 of apt-cyg file. –  sagunms Oct 8 '13 at 9:00

Cygwin's setup.exe, at least in the 1.7 "beta" release, has an "unattended" mode built-in. Drag and drop your setup.exe shortcut into a command window (or otherwise prepare to run it with switches), and add -q for unattended mode followed by -P and comma-separated package names. So, for me, this installed lynx:

$ "C:\Documents and Settings\martind\Desktop\setup-1.7.exe" -q -P lynx
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hey, it works but how about if i want to add some packages at installation time, how to do that?? –  Johnydep May 22 '12 at 11:29
note setup.exe is now called setup-x86.exe - or a variant depending on cpu bits. –  ErichBSchulz Jan 18 '14 at 6:47

Old question, but for others that google and got here: Official setup.exe has command line arguments which allowed me to prepare simple *.bat script - just put following line in e.g. "install-pkg.bat" and put that file into your root directory (e.g. C:\cygwin):

setup.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode --root "%cd%" --packages %*

You need to download and put http://www.cygwin.com/setup.exe into the same directory. Now all you have to do to install package is:

install-pkg packagename

Positive: official setup.exe, should always work, for any package. Negative: current (june/2011) official setup.exe requires administrator rights even though it actually does not need one (e.g. root directory outside system folders).

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nice answer, as it's a tool that you already have in any Cygwin installation; however, it seems that you can't keep it from updating all the already installed packages? it's quite annoying if you just want to install one new package; in other words, there is no command-line equivalent to the "Keep" option of the graphical setup.exe –  golimar Mar 28 '12 at 22:26
note setup.exe is now called setup-x86.exe - or a variant depending on cpu bits. –  ErichBSchulz Jan 18 '14 at 6:47
setup-x86 -nq -s http://box-soft.com -P curl,git,make


setup-x86 -nq -s http://box-soft.com -P curl -P git -P make

This will install cURL, git, and make, with no shortcuts in quiet mode.

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I found two 'apt like' package managers for cygwin. One is a python script called cyg-apt which you can download from http://www.lilypond.org/~janneke/software/cyg-apt and the other is apt-cyg which you can find at http://code.google.com/p/apt-cyg/

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