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A portable Cygwin environment with many options. It's very useful for "static" installations too. It can create ShellExtensions in Windows Explorer ("Open Folder in Cygwin", "Open Drive in Cygwin", "Run in Cygwin"). "Open with -> CygwinPortable.exe" is also supported (you can register e.g. .sh extensions with CygwinPortable.exe). XServer is supported.

ShellExtensions needs admin rights (Only one time to register the ShellExtension - After successful registration you can run CygwinPortable with UAC enabled). CygwinPortable will run without ShellExtensions, but they are pretty comfortable :-)

Download ready to use files

You can download prebuild (Cygwin x86) version on from AppVeyer. I've compiled a PAF (PortableApps) and a 7z compressed version. Cygwin defaults are already installed.

First Start

  • Start CygwinPortable.exe - The setup.exe is download automatically
  • Choose x86/x64 Version
  • Let the cygwin install (defaults are cygwin defaults + vim,wget,tar,gawk,bzip2 packages)
  • Enjoy Cygwin :-)

Commandline Parameters:

These options overrides the options from Data/config.ini

  • CygwinPortable.exe -path [PATH] -> Open the folder in path or execute the file (if the file is executable)
  • CygwinPortable.exe -exit [0/1] -> Exit the cygwin window after execution
  • CygwinPortable.exe -cygwin -> Optional: Force run command or open folder in Cygwin
  • CygwinPortable.exe -wsl -> Optional: Force run command or open folder on Windows Subsystem for Linux from Microsoft
  • CygwinPortable.exe [PATH] -> Open the folder in path or execute the file (if the file is executable) All other parameters are ignored (needed for "open with" in Windows)

Recommend /etc/fstab

You should change /etc/fstab from

none /cygdrive cygdrive binary,posix=0,user 0 0


none /cygdrive cygdrive binary,noacl,posix=0,user 0 0

The noacl flag ignores filesystem ACLs permissions - For portable (in most cases for static installations too) this is the best setting - With this option you dont write "garbage" permissions to e.g. local rsync backups.


PortableApps ( Tool is supported. Copy the Cygwin Portable folder to USBSTICK:\PortableApps

Special Folders

There are 2 special Folders - Samples are included:

  • Data/ShellScript: Quick access to ShellScripts (rightclick Trayicon -> ShellScripts)
  • Data/Shortcuts: Quick access to Windows Shortcuts (rightclick Trayicon -> Shortcuts)


There are some interesting options - Rightclick on the CygwinPortable Trayicon -> "Cygwin Portable Settings"


  • Shell: You can choose between mintty (default) and ConEmu. I've already included the last stable version of ConEmu (you can replace it with beta if you want - You should only preserve my ConEmu.xml file).
  • Default Environment: Choose between Cygwin and Windows Subsystem for Linux as default handler for running commands and open folders (you can still override this with "-cygwin" for cygwin and "-wsl" for Windows Subsystem for Linux. Useful if you associate e.g. .sh files with CygwinPortable.exe.
  • Executable File Extensions: Define what extensions are should by executed with Cygwin. This will NOT register the files directly ! This option will tell Cygwin Portable if a "open with" under windows is a extension that can be used from bash. If you open a file with a unknown extesion CygwinPortable will open the folder and not run the file.
  • Support WSL: Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux for running commands, open folders and Context Manu
  • Use TrayMenu: Enable/Disable the Traymenu (NOT RECOMMEND !) - if the Traymenu is disabled you can reactivate this option in Data/config.ini -> TrayMenu=True
  • Exit after execution: If you open a file in Cygwin (e.g. a Shellscript) the window is closed after successfully execution. If you want see the output leave it disabled.
  • Disable Message Boxes: If CygwinPortable failed it will show the error in a Message Box. Disable it if you are working in a non GUI environment.
  • Add Windows PATH variables to Cygwin: Disable if cygwin should not be able to access Windows programs from path (useful if you have e.g. Git installed but you want to use cygwin git)


  • Cygwin Mirror: The Cygwin mirror where the packages will be downloaded.
  • Cygwin Ports Mirror: Cygwin Ports have much more packages than the official Cygwin mirrors. Use it if needed
  • First install additions: The packages that are additional installed to the default Cygwin packages
  • Delete unneeded files: Drop unneeded files or files that are not working in portable mode (e.g. cygwin.bat)
  • Install unofficial Tools: Install files from other/unofficial folder. Default package is only apt-cyg (a tool that works like apt-get from debian based distros)


  • Delete conmplete installation: Drop all folders from ("Drop these folders on Reinstall"). Use it if you want to complete reinstall cygwin
  • Drop these folders on Reinstall: See info above
  • Username: Change the username and home directory


You can compile CygwinPortable with any version of Visual Studio (I use 2015) or mono (see -> This needs a Cygwin Installation)


Let me know if you have any problems or suggestions

Thanks for reading