Eclipse CDT, MinGW, and C/C++ Development

The Eclipse Project provides a development environment foundation for developing in a multitude of programming languages. C/C++ Development Tooling (CDT) is an Eclipse extension for C/C++ development. Eclipse, CDT, and the MinGW toolchain together form a robust, open source C/C++ development environment.

What follows are instructions for installing this trio on your personal computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista.


  1. (Possibly optional) Install the Java 5.0 Update 13 JDK from jdk-1_5_0_13-windows-i586-p.exe. Accept the installation defaults.

    The Eclipse distribution below requires a Java 5.0 JDK (any Java 5.0 JDK, Update 13 or later, should be sufficient). If you already have an appropriate JDK installed, you need not re-install it. The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) alone is NOT sufficient for running Eclipse.

  2. Install MinGW from MinGW.exe, which is a self-extracting archive. Extract the archive into its OWN folder and follow the instructions in README.txt in the folder. Installation is finished once step 4 is completed, unless you also want to develop OpenGL programs (if you plan on taking CS 320), in which case you should also complete step 5. There is no need to install pexports-0.43.zip. You may delete the extraction folder once installation is complete.

  3. (Possibly optional.) Install the Eclipse Europa distribution by downloading and running this self-extracting archive, accepting the installation directory default: Eclipse. The archive will install Eclipse into C:\Program Files\eclipse and place an Eclipse Start menu shortcut into C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs for you.

    If you already have Eclipse Europa installed, you need not re-install it.

  4. Extract the Eclipse CDT from cdt-master-4.0.1.zip into its own folder. (The CDT requires the Eclipse Europa distribution.) Start Eclipse. From Eclipse's "Help" menu choose "Software Updates", then select "Find and Install...". Next, select "Search for new features to install." Click the "New Local Site..." button. Navigate to, and select, the folder to which you extracted the CDT files earlier. Select "OK", then select "Finish". Select the folder to which you extracted the files (again), and continue working through the dialog boxes. When you get to the Feature Verification dialog box, click the "Install All" button. Restart Eclipse when you are prompted to do so. Eclipse should restart, showing a "C/C++ Development" item on the introductory Overview page. You may now remove the folder to which you had extracted the CDT files.

  5. Congratulations, you now have before you a professional-quality open source C/C++ development environment.

Last updated July 21, 2010.
Send mail to kelliher AT DOMAIN phoenix.goucher.edu Tom Kelliher