winpty is a Windows software package providing an interface similar to a Unix pty-master for communicating with Windows console programs. The package consists of a library (libwinpty) and a tool for Cygwin and MSYS for running Windows console programs in a Cygwin/MSYS pty.
The software works by starting the
winpty-agent.exe process with a new,
hidden console window, which bridges between the console API and terminal
input/output escape codes. It polls the hidden console's screen buffer for
changes and generates a corresponding stream of output.
The Unix adapter allows running Windows console programs (e.g. CMD, PowerShell,
IronPython, etc.) under
mintty or Cygwin's
properly-functioning input (e.g. arrow and function keys) and output (e.g. line
buffering). The library could be also useful for writing a non-Cygwin SSH
You need the following to build winpty:
- A Cygwin or MSYS installation
- GNU make
- A MinGW g++ toolchain, v4 or later, to build
- A g++ toolchain targeting Cygwin or MSYS, v3 or later, to build
Winpty requires two g++ toolchains as it is split into two parts. The binaries winpty.dll and winpty-agent.exe interface with the native Windows command prompt window so they are compiled with the native MinGW toolchain. The console.exe binary interfaces with the MSYS/Cygwin terminal so it is compiled with the MSYS/Cygwin toolchain.
MinGW appears to be split into two distributions -- MinGW (creates 32-bit binaries) and MinGW-w64 (creates both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries). Either one is acceptable, but the compiler must be v4 or later.
The default g++ compiler for Cygwin targets Cygwin itself, but Cygwin also packages MinGW compilers from both the MinGW and MinGW-w64 projects. As of this writing, the necessary packages are:
mingw64-x86_64-gcc-g++. Select the appropriate compiler for your CPU architecture.
For the original MSYS, use the
mingw-get tool (MinGW Installation Manager),
and select at least these components:
./configure, make sure that
mingw32-g++ is in your
PATH. It will be in the
For MSYS2, use
pacman and install at least these packages:
mingw64/mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc. Select the appropriate compiler for your CPU architecture.
In the project directory, run
This will produce three binaries:
Using the Unix adapter
To run a Windows console program in
mintty or Cygwin
console.exe to the command-line:
$ build/console.exe c:/Python27/python.exe Python 2.7.2 (default, Jun 12 2011, 15:08:59) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win32 Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information. >>> 10 + 20 30 >>> exit() $
winpty comes with a tool for collecting timestamped debugging output. To use it:
winpty-debugserver.exeon the same computer as winpty.
- Set the
WINPTY_DEBUGenvironment variable to 1 for the
console.exeprocess and/or the process using
winpty also recognizes a
WINPTY_SHOW_CONSOLE environment variable. Set it
to 1 to prevent winpty from hiding the console window.