Minimalist System (MSYS) is a free, open-source Windows port of a lightweight Unix-like shell environment. MSYS provides a collection of GNU utilities such as bash, make, gawk and grep to allow building of applications and programs which depend on the presence of traditional UNIX tools. It is intended to supplement Minimalist GNU for Windows (MinGW). It is licensed using the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3.

To install the software, download the installer from MSYS. Run mingw-get-setup.exe to start the installation.

MinGW Installation Manager

At the next step, you can set installation preferences.

MinGW Installation Preferences

The default installation directory is C:\MinGW. If you wish to change the default directory, you are advised to avoid any directory name or path which has a space within the name or directory path. To accept the default values just click on Continue. If you don't want the installation program to put a shortcut on the desktop, uncheck the checkbox next to "on the desktop" before clicking on Continue..

When the installation has reached 100%, click on Continue.

MinGW Installation Completed

The MinGW Installation Manager window will then open.

MinGW Installation Manager

Right-click on msys-base and select "Mark for Installation". Do the same for mingw32-base. If you wish to use any of the listed compilers, you could select those as well. If you don't intend to do any software development, you don't need them. A gcc compiler is automatically installed with the mingw32-base package.

MinGW Packages Selected

Click on Installation then select Apply Changes. A Schedule of Pending Actions window will then open.

MinGW Schedule of Pending Actions

Click on the Apply button to start the installation of the selected packages.

When I installed the software, I saw an error message indicating that the download failed for liblzma-5.0.3-1-msys-1.0.17-dll-5.tar.lzma, but when I clicked on OK the installation proceeded and I was able to use GNU utilities, such as grep, from the package afterwards.

MinGW liblzma download failed

When the packages are installed, you can click on the Close button to close the Applying Scheduled Changes window.

MinGW Applying Scheduled Changes

The following GNU utilities will be installed. If you used the default installation directory, they will be .exe files in C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\bin.

awk            basename       bash           bunzip2
bzcat          bzip2          bzip2recover   cat
chmod          cmp            comm           cp
cut            d2u            date           diff
diff3          dirname        dos2unix       echo
egrep          env            error-mode     expr
false          fgrep          file           find
fold           gawk-3.1.7     gawk           grep
gzip           head           id             info
infokey        install-info   install        join
less           lessecho       lesskey        ln
ls             lzcat          lzma           lzmadec
lzmainfo       mac2unix       make           makeinfo
md5sum         mkdir          msysmnt        mv
od             oldfind        paste          pgawk-3.1.7
pgawk          printf         ps             pwd
rm             rmdir          sdiff          sed
sh             sleep          sort           split
stty           tail           tar            tee
texindex       touch          tr             true
u2d            uname          uniq           unix2dos
unix2mac       unlzma         unxz           wc
xargs          xz             xzcat          xzdec

You can then run them from a command prompt.

C:\>C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\bin\grep --version
GNU grep 2.5.4

Copyright (C) 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


Other utilities, including the gcc compiler, will be in the C:\MinGW\bin directory, presuming you selected the default installation directory.

C:\>dir C:\MinGW\bin\*.exe /w
 Volume in drive C is TI10664600G
 Volume Serial Number is 0E19-9C92

 Directory of C:\MinGW\bin

addr2line.exe            ar.exe                   as.exe
c++filt.exe              cc.exe                   cpp.exe
dlltool.exe              dllwrap.exe              elfedit.exe
gcc-ar.exe               gcc-nm.exe               gcc-ranlib.exe
gcc.exe                  gcov.exe                 gdb.exe
gdbserver.exe            gprof.exe                ld.bfd.exe
ld.exe                   mingw-get.exe            mingw32-addr2line.exe
mingw32-ar.exe           mingw32-as.exe           mingw32-c++filt.exe
mingw32-cc.exe           mingw32-dlltool.exe      mingw32-dllwrap.exe
mingw32-elfedit.exe      mingw32-gcc-4.8.1.exe    mingw32-gcc-ar.exe
mingw32-gcc-nm.exe       mingw32-gcc-ranlib.exe   mingw32-gcc.exe
mingw32-gprof.exe        mingw32-ld.bfd.exe       mingw32-ld.exe
mingw32-make.exe         mingw32-nm.exe           mingw32-objcopy.exe
mingw32-objdump.exe      mingw32-ranlib.exe       mingw32-readelf.exe
mingw32-size.exe         mingw32-strings.exe      mingw32-strip.exe
mingw32-windmc.exe       mingw32-windres.exe      nm.exe
objcopy.exe              objdump.exe              ranlib.exe
readelf.exe              size.exe                 strings.exe
strip.exe                windmc.exe               windres.exe
              57 File(s)    333,831,736 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  659,630,661,632 bytes free



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Created: Wednesday February 26, 2014