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 command-line?

10 Answers 10


Install apt-cyg:

lynx -source https://raw.githubusercontent.com/transcode-open/apt-cyg/master/apt-cyg > apt-cyg
install apt-cyg /bin

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

apt-cyg install lynx
  • 5
    The repository hasn't moved : a DMCA complaint has been issued againt transcode-open/apt-cyg. Incidentally, Github user svnpenn created a fork named "sage" at the same time, claiming to be its successor Feb 11, 2016 at 14:34
  • 3
  • I had to chmod +x apt-cyg for it to be executable (just in case it helps someone)
    – Pedro A
    Mar 25, 2018 at 19:34

Old question, but for others that google and got here: Official setup 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-x86.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode --root "%cd%" --packages %*

You need to download and put http://www.cygwin.com/setup-x86.exe (32bit) or http://www.cygwin.com/setup-x86_64.exe (64bit) into the same directory. Now all you have to do to install package is:

install-pkg packagename

Positive: official setup, should always work, for any package. Negative: current (june/2015) official setup requires administrator rights even though it actually does not need one (e.g. root directory outside system folders).

  • 1
    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, 2012 at 22:26
  • 1
    note setup.exe is now called setup-x86.exe - or a variant depending on cpu bits. Jan 18, 2014 at 6:47
  • Link is broken, now is : cygwin.com/faq/faq.html#faq.setup.cli Can you edit that in your answer ? Thanks
    – Benj
    Jun 10, 2015 at 8:59
  • You don't need administrator rights if you use the --no-admin switch (same as -B).
    – cdlvcdlv
    Jul 23, 2019 at 8:13
  • 1) I wonder what ` %*` means 2) install-pkg seems to have been moved. Though given this answer is 13 years old I'm surprised how gracefully it's aged. Feb 28 at 18:06

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
  • 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? Apr 19, 2014 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.
    – ikaerom
    Jun 19, 2014 at 17:29
  • apt-cyg installation no longer relies on wget, so none of this probably matters any more? They use lynx (which seems to be built-in in cygwin?) on their website.
    – akauppi
    Jul 17, 2015 at 12:00
  • @steven What's the reason for the wholesale edit that changes more than a substantial portion? It's pretty much a separate answer itself
    – random
    Oct 25, 2015 at 19:16
  • 2
    Then downvote and provide a competing answer. If you are the maintainer of apt-cyg there is no indication on your profile or in your edit summary or anywhere visible that suggests that kind of authority or background to steamroll in with swathes of these kind of edits
    – random
    Oct 25, 2015 at 21:45

The official apt-cyg installation method is:

lynx -source rawgit.com/transcode-open/apt-cyg/master/apt-cyg > apt-cyg
install apt-cyg /bin

Two steps is better than three. Then:

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.

  • 2
    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, 2013 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
  • hey, it works but how about if i want to add some packages at installation time, how to do that??
    – Johnydep
    May 22, 2012 at 11:29
  • 1
    note setup.exe is now called setup-x86.exe - or a variant depending on cpu bits. Jan 18, 2014 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.


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/


There is a chicken <=> egg problem with the accepted answer. If you didn't get wget or lynx during the initial install, you cannot use apt-cyg. Here is how I installed wget so that I could use apt-cyg. (It uses the CLI features of the cygwin setup exe.)

# check to see if you are running 64 bit cygwin
$ uname -a
CYGWIN_NT-10.0 WINDOWS-ABMESEI 2.6.0(0.304/5/3) 2016-08-31 14:32 x86_64 Cygwin

# if you are not using 64 bit, get http://www.cygwin.com/setup-x86.exe instead of...
$ curl -o cygwin-setup.exe http://www.cygwin.com/setup-x86_64.exe
$ chmod +x cygwin-setup.exe

# now you are ready to use it according to: https://cygwin.com/faq/faq.html#faq.setup.cli
$ cygwin-setup.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode --packages wget

Other answers are missing the dependencies you need before you can run the lynx installer within Cygwin. Run this from a privileged powershell or equivalent (your setup executable should be somewhere like Downloads\ or C:\tools\cygwin):

./setup-x86_64.exe -q -P git,vim,curl,wget,zsh,chere,iconv,lynx

After that, you can launch cygwin and install the package manager:

lynx -source rawgit.com/transcode-open/apt-cyg/master/apt-cyg > apt-cyg
install apt-cyg /bin

For at least packages that do not require post-install configuration, I have simply untarred them from the cygwin root '/'. I required an older version of subversion (1.7.14) which had passed beyond the two versions handled by setup.

An additional advantage is the package becomes outside the cygwin package management world and thus in a kind of adhoc blacklist is not automatically updated with the newest package if defaults are kept.

You must log in to answer this question.

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