Windows Cygwin Toolchain

This toolchain is portable, easy to install, and easy to use. It is the newest and best performing toolchain for developing PX4 on Windows.

This is the only officially supported toolchain for building PX4 on Windows (i.e. it is tested in our continuous integration system).

The toolchain supports:

  • Build/upload of PX4 to NuttX targets (Pixhawk series controllers)
  • JMAVSim/SITL simulator with significantly better performance than the other Windows toolchains.
  • Style check, portable installer, command line completion and many other features.

This topic explains how download and use the environment, and how it can be extended and updated if needed (for example, to use a different compiler).

Installation Instructions

  1. Download the latest version of the ready-to-use MSI installer from Github or S3
  2. Run it, choose your desired installation location, let it install jMAVSimOnWindows
  3. Tick the box at the end of the installation to clone the PX4 repository, build and run simulation with jMAVSim (this simplifies the process to get you started).

    If you missed this step will need to clone the PX4 Firmware repository manually.

Getting Started

The toolchain uses a specially configured console window (started by running the run-console.bat script) from which you can call the normal PX4 build commands:

  1. Browse to the toolchain installation directory (default C:\PX4\)
  2. Run run-console.bat (double click) to start the Cygwin bash console
  3. Clone the PX4 Firmware repository from within the console:

    Cloning only needs to be done once! Skip this step if you ticked the installer option to clone the PX4 repository, build and run simulation with jMAVSim.

    # Clone PX4 Firmware repository into the home folder & loads submodules in parallel
    git clone --recursive -j8

    You can now use the console/Firmware repository to build PX4.

  4. For example, to run JMAVSim:

    # Navigate to Firmware repo
    cd Firmware
    # Build and runs SITL simulation with jMAVSim to test the setup
    make px4_sitl jmavsim

    The console will then display:


Continue next to the detailed instructions on how to build PX4 (or see the section below for more general usage instructions).

Usage Instructions

The installation directory (default: C:\PX4\) contains a batch script for launching the PX4 SITL (linux like) bash console: run-console.bat

The Manual Setup section explains why you need to use the script and how it all works.

The ordinary workflow consists of starting a console window by double clicking on the run-console.bat script to manually run terminal commands.

Windows & Git Special Cases

Windows CR+LF vs Unix LF Line Endings

We recommend that you force Unix style LF endings for every repository you're working with using this toolchain (and use an editor which preserves them when saving your changes - e.g. Eclipse or VS Code). Compilation of source files also works with CR+LF endings checked out locally, but there are cases in Cygwin (e.g. execution of shell scripts) that require Unix line endings ( otherwise you get errors like $'\r': Command not found.). Luckily git can do this for you when you execute the two commands in the root directory of your repo:

git config core.autocrlf false
git config core.eol lf

If you work with this toolchain on multiple repositories you can also set these two configurations globally for your machine:

git config --global ...

This is not recommended because it may affect any other (unrelated) git use on your Windows machine.

Unix Permissions Execution Bit

Under Unix there's a flag in the permissions of each file that tells the OS whether or not the file is allowed to be executed. git under Cygwin supports and cares about that bit (even though the Windows NTFS file system does not use it). This often results in git finding "false-positive" differences in permissions. The resulting diff might look like this:

diff --git ...
old mode 100644
new mode 100755

We recommend globally disabling the permission check on Windows to avoid the problem:

git config --global core.fileMode false # disable execution bit check globally for the machine

For existing repositories that have this problem caused by a local configuration, additionally:

git config --unset core.filemode # remove the local option for this repository to apply the global one
git submodule foreach --recursive git config --unset core.filemode # remove the local option for all submodules

Additional Information

Features / Issues

The following features are known to work (version 2.0):

  • Building and running SITL with jMAVSim with significantly better performance than a VM (it generates a native windows binary px4.exe).
  • Building and uploading NuttX builds (e.g.: px4_fmu-v2 and px4_fmu-v4)
  • Style check with astyle (supports the command: make format)
  • Command line auto completion
  • Non-invasive installer! The installer does NOT affect your system and global path (it only modifies the selected installation directory e.g. C:\PX4\ and uses a temporary local path).
  • The installer supports updating to a new version keeping your personal changes inside the toolchain folder


  • Simulation: Gazebo and ROS are not supported.
  • Only NuttX and JMAVSim/SITL builds are supported.
  • Known problems (Also use to report issues).

Shell Script Installation

You can also install the environment using shell scripts in the Github project.

  1. Make sure you have Git for Windows installed.
  2. Clone the repository to the location you want to install the toolchain. Default location and naming is achieved by opening the Git Bash and executing:
    cd /c/
    git clone PX4
  3. If you want to install all components navigate to the freshly cloned folder and double click on the script install-all-components.bat located in the folder toolchain. If you only need certain components and want to safe Internet traffic and or disk space you can navigate to the different component folders like e.g. toolchain\cygwin64 and click on the install-XXX.bat scripts to only fetch something specific.
  4. Continue with Getting Started (or Usage Instructions)

Manual Installation (for Toolchain Developers)

This section describes how to setup the Cygwin toolchain manually yourself while pointing to the corresponding scripts from the script based installation repo. The result should be the same as using the scripts or MSI installer.

The toolchain gets maintained and hence these instructions might not cover every detail of all the future changes.

  1. Create the folders: C:\PX4\, C:\PX4\toolchain\ and C:\PX4\home\
  2. Download the Cygwin installer file setup-x86_64.exe from the official Cygwin website
  3. Run the downloaded setup file
  4. In the wizard choose to install into the folder: C:\PX4\toolchain\cygwin64\
  5. Select to install the default Cygwin base and the newest available version of the following additional packages:

    • Category:Packagename
    • Devel:cmake (3.3.2 gives no deprecated warnings, 3.6.2 works but has the warnings)
    • Devel:gcc-g++
    • Devel:git
    • Devel:make
    • Devel:ninja
    • Devel:patch
    • Editors:xxd
    • Editors:nano (unless you're the vim pro)
    • Python:python2
    • Python:python2-pip
    • Python:python2-numpy
    • Python:python2-jinja2
    • Python:python2-pyyaml
    • Python:python2-cerberus
    • Archive:unzip
    • Utils:astyle
    • Shells:bash-completion
    • Web:wget

    Do not select as many packages as possible which are not on this list, there are some which conflict and break the builds.

    That's what cygwin64/install-cygwin-px4.bat does.

  6. Write up or copy the batch scripts run-console.bat and setup-environment-variables.bat.

    The reason to start all the development tools through the prepared batch script is they preconfigure the starting program to use the local, portable Cygwin environment inside the toolchain's folder. This is done by always first calling the script setup-environment.bat and the desired application like the console after that.

    The script setup-environment.bat locally sets environmental variables for the workspace root directory PX4_DIR, all binary locations PATH, and the home directory of the unix environment HOME.

  7. Add necessary python packages to your setup by opening the Cygwin toolchain console (double clicking run-console.bat) and executing

    pip2 install toml
    pip2 install pyserial
    pip2 install pyulog

    That's what cygwin64/install-cygwin-python-packages.bat does.

  8. Download the ARM GCC compiler as zip archive of the binaries for Windows and unpack the content to the folder C:\PX4\toolchain\gcc-arm.

    This is what the toolchain does in: gcc-arm/install-gcc-arm.bat.

  9. Install the JDK:

    • Download the Java Development Kit Installer.
    • Because sadly there is no portable archive containing the binaries directly you have to install it.
    • Find the binaries and move/copy them to C:\PX4\toolchain\jdk.
    • You can uninstall the Kit from your Windows system again, we only needed the binaries for the toolchain.

    This is what the toolchain does in: jdk/install-jdk.bat.

  10. Download Apache Ant as zip archive of the binaries for Windows and unpack the content to the folder C:\PX4\toolchain\apache-ant.

    Make sure you don't have an additional folder layer from the folder which is inside the downloaded archive.

    This is what the toolchain does in: apache-ant/install-apache-ant.bat.

  11. Download, build and add genromfs to the path:

    • Clone the source code to the folder C:\PX4\toolchain\genromfs\genromfs-src with

      cd /c/toolchain/genromfs
      git clone genromfs-src
    • Compile it with:

      cd genromfs-src
      make all
      • Copy the resulting binary genromfs.exe one folder level out to: C:\PX4\toolchain\genromfs

      This is what the toolchain does in: genromfs/install-genromfs.bat.

  12. Make sure all the binary folders of all the installed components are correctly listed in the PATH variable configured by setup-environment-variables.bat.

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