You are correct, Git Bash for Windows is not just
bash compiled for Windows. It's package that contains
bash (which is a command-line shell) and a collection of other, separate *nix utilities like
find and others (which you run using the shell), compiled for Windows, and a new command-line interface terminal window called
In a nutshell
On Windows you might run commands like
ipconfig /all or
format G: using
cmd.exe. These commands are actual executable files under
C:\Windows\system32, stored as
cmd.exe is separate from both and loads and runs them on user's request.
find are run using
bash in exactly the same way. They are usually stored under
/usr/bin rather than in
C:\Windows\system32 on *nix systems, because Windows and *nix have their system file structure organised differently.
In the case of Git Bash for Windows these programs are located in the Git installation folder:
C:\Program Files\Git\usr\bin, which can also be found in the emulated Linux environment under
Just like being able to just run
cmd.exe on *nix doesn't allow you to do much without the other system utilities, just being able to run Bash on Windows is not very useful either. This means that all these extra commands have to be bundled together with Bash to create a usable software package.
Details: POSIX applications on Windows
Normally those extra commands would be found on *nix systems and not on Windows, because they have been programmed against the POSIX programming API (which is what *nix uses), and not the Win32 APIs (which is what Windows uses). POSIX API documentation is openly available, so some people have ported it to other systems, including Windows. Windows implementation of POSIX APIs/libraries are provided by
This is kind of similar to what the Wine project does, but it converts POSIX->Windows rather than Windows->POSIX like Wine does.
mintty is included because
cmd.exe, the default Windows command line window, is missing some important features which are normally available on most *nix systems. In most cases,
mintty is a better choice for running commands (certainly for the utilities that come with the Git Bash for Windows package), but occasionally a Windows system application may work better with