Set up of Toolchain for Windows

Step 1: Quick Steps

Windows doesn’t have a built-in “make” environment, so as well as installing the toolchain you will need a GNU-compatible environment. We use the MSYS2 environment to provide this. You don’t need to use this environment all the time (you can use Eclipse or some other front-end), but it runs behind the scenes.

The quick setup is to download the Windows all-in-one toolchain & MSYS zip file from

Unzip the zip file to C:\ (or some other location, but this guide assumes C:\) and it will create an “msys32” directory with a pre-prepared environment.

Alternative Step 1: Configure toolchain & environment from scratch

Rather than use the pre-prepared environment, you can alternatively follow this guide to set up the MSYS2 environment from scratch.

Another Alternative Step 1: Just download a toolchain

If you already have an MSYS2 install or want to do things differently, you can download just the toolchain here:

If you followed one of the above options for Step 1, you already have the toolchain and you won’t need this download.

Important: Just having this toolchain is not enough to use ESP-IDF on Windows. You will need GNU make, bash, and sed at minimum. The above environments provide all this, plus a host compiler (required for menuconfig support).

Step 2: Getting the esp-idf repository from github

Open an MSYS2 terminal window by running C:\msys32\mingw32.exe. The environment in this window is a bash shell.

Change to the directory you want to clone the SDK into by typing a command like this one: cd "C:/path/to/dir" (note the forward-slashes in the path). Then type git clone --recursive

If you’d rather use a Windows UI tool to manage your git repositories, this is also possible. A wide range are available.

NOTE: While cloning submodules, the git clone command may print some output starting ': not a valid identifier.... This is a known issue but the git clone still succeeds without any problems.

Step 3: Starting a project

ESP-IDF by itself does not build a binary to run on the ESP32. The binary “app” comes from a project in a different directory. Multiple projects can share the same ESP-IDF directory on your computer.

The easiest way to start a project is to download the Getting Started project from github.

The process is the same as for checking out the ESP-IDF from github. Change to the parent directory and run git clone

IMPORTANT: The esp-idf build system does not support spaces in paths to esp-idf or to projects.

You can also find a range of example projects under the “examples” directory in IDF. These example project directories can be copied to outside IDF in order to begin your own projects.

Step 4: Configuring the project

Open an MSYS2 terminal window by running C:\msys32\msys2_shell.cmd. The environment in this window is a bash shell.

Type a command like this to set the path to ESP-IDF directory: export IDF_PATH="C:/path/to/esp-idf" (note the forward-slashes not back-slashes for the path). If you don’t want to run this command every time you open an MSYS2 window, create a new file in C:/msys32/etc/profile.d/ and paste this line in - then it will be run each time you open an MYS2 terminal.

Use cd to change to the project directory (not the ESP-IDF directory.) Type make menuconfig to configure your project, then make to build it, make clean to remove built files, and make flash to flash (use the menuconfig to set the serial port for flashing.)

If you’d like to use the Eclipse IDE instead of running make, check out the Eclipse setup guide in this directory.