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.
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:and it will create an “msys32” directory with a pre-prepared environment.

Alternative Step 1: Configure toolchain & environment from scratch

As an alternative to getting a pre-prepared environment, you can set up the environment from scratch:

  • Navigate to the MSYS2 installer page and download the msys2-i686-xxxxxxx.exe installer executable (we only support a 32-bit MSYS environment, it works on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.)
  • Run through the installer steps, and accept the “Run MSYS2 now” option at the end. A window will open with a MSYS2 terminal.
  • The ESP-IDF repository on github contains a script in the tools directory titled If you haven’t downloaded the ESP-IDF yet, that’s OK - you can just download that one file in Raw format from here: tools/windows/ Save it somewhere on your computer.
  • Type the path to the shell script into the MSYS2 terminal window. You can type it as a normal Windows path, but use forward-slashes instead of back-slashes. ie: C:/Users/myuser/Downloads/ You can read the script beforehand to check what it does.
  • If you use the 201602 MSYS2 installer, the first time you run it will update the MSYS2 core system. At the end of this update, you will be prompted to close the MSYS2 terminal and re-open. When you re-open after the update, re-run The next version of MSYS2 (after 201602) will not need this interim step.
  • The script will download and install packages for ESP-IDF support, and the ESP32 toolchain.

Note: You may encounter a bug where svchost.exe uses 100% CPU in Windows after setup is finished, resulting in the ESP-IDF building very slowly. Terminating svchost.exe or restarting Windows will solve this problem.

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 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\msys2_shell.cmd. 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.

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.