Is it possible to install Cygwin on a Windows XP system without having the admin rights?


To install Cygwin on Windows 7 without administrator rights, you first have to rename the setup program of Cygwin (setup.exe) to something else (e.g. cygwin.exe).

If the Cygwin setup is named setup.exe, Windows 7 (or Cygwin?) seems to assume that it needs administrator rights to run.

  • what a stupid win behaviour using "update" or "setup" keywords ;/ Thanks for the hint! Still works in Vista – childno͡.de Jun 6 '13 at 8:27
  • I confirm this works from Windows 7 also. I am using a corporate machine without local admin rights. – kevinarpe Jun 19 '13 at 6:06
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    For me on W7 it was required to start it in Windows XP compatibility mode. Otherwise even renamed it asks for Admin privileges. – Artiom Jul 7 '14 at 10:28

Run the installer with the -B command line option:

setup.exe -B

( From https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6538695/manual-cygwin-installation-without-using-setup-exe/20145855#20145855 , see also http://cygwin.com/faq/faq.html#faq.setup.cli )

  • I can confirm that this works on Windows 7 – Jared Burrows Jun 16 '14 at 19:54

In the Command Prompt type:

setup-x86.exe --no-admin

In my case the set up file name is setup-x86.exe


I think so.

Not being awkward, but, it is simple to try and it will have no negative consequences if you can't.

If for some reason you can't, take a look at this earlier answer - https://superuser.com/questions/229329/gnu-tools-for-windows/229414#229414

You will be able to use some of the features of cygwin without doing an install.

  • it is not that easy... I'm behind a company firewall that blocks access to .exe files etc. So before downloading it, putting it on a USB key, sneaking it in here, etc. I'd like to know if it can be done or not :) – Gugussee Jan 5 '11 at 17:26
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    Don't. I find it annoying to not have my shell tools on my work PC, but I also find it lacking in integrity to install software I'm not authorized for on a computer I don't own. – CarlF Jan 5 '11 at 17:41
  • @Gugussee - If it's not your machine, and you're not allowed to, don't. It's just that simple. I guess if you really don't care about your job... – Shinrai Jan 5 '11 at 19:06

It is possible. When I installed as non-Admin on my XP machines, the installer would ask if i wanted just for me (I did) or for all (where it needed an admin passwd). It can go anywhere on disk (though I'd recommend a folder without spaces in it, since many scripts don't guard against spaces in filepaths) and doesn't have much in the way of registry entries in base install. Some tools like inetd, sshd, and cron will need admin to install the services, but these are less critical.

That said, I haven't tested on Win7 (I now have a Linux desktop, don't need Cygwin).

As someone else said, be careful if you're not authorized for this. There are a lot of tools in corporate environments that look for rogue installs of software. You'll be installing a huge heap of EXEs for them to find.


I have just done it, and it works like a charm. No problems so far with basic tools and X.

The only noticeable problem so far is that the installer complains that it cannot write to the "All Users" start menu, even if I uncheck the option "Make start menu entries" and select "Install only for me".

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