Is it possible to launch a Windows program from the Cygwin Shell? (similar to firing unix commands in PHP with "exec(…)")

My example: I'd like to launch a database backup in cygwin, however the mysqldump does not exist for cygwin. Therefore I need to fallback to the Windows version (c:\xampp\mysql\bin\mysqldump …). Is it possible to launch this from within Cygwin?

3 Answers 3


Sure, just run it. The path is probably something like /cygdrive/c/xampp/mysql/bin/mysqldump. Just remember that any paths you pass TO mysqldump need to be in Windows (not cygwin) format. Or you can use the cygpath program to convert the paths for you.


I do it this way:

In .bashrc, add alias start='cmd /c start'

Then use the start command as needed.

start .

Open the current directory in Explorer

start winword log.txt

Open log.txt in Word

There's also "cygstart" that may also work for you.

  • 3
    cygstart is the easiest, at least for launching windows explorer Nov 8, 2018 at 18:00
  • 1
    @SridharSarnobat In my current situation this comment of yours helped me more than any of the actual answers here.
    – mtraceur
    Jul 3, 2019 at 18:55

I found an answer from SO site useful.

Find ".bash_profile" file in your Cygwin installation path ( cygwin\home\user-name )

Put following lines in a file.

export desktop="desktop path"

alias chrome="cygstart C:/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Google/Chrome/Application/chrome.exe"

alias dbDump="c:/xampp/mysql/bin/mysqldump"

save and close the file.

NOTE: It is important to escape characters in path and path should be in POSIX format, not in windows format. start bash prompt. Execute


This will open chrome window.


This will execute mysqldump program.

If you want to change present working directory to desktop then

$>cd $desktop

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