Development Environment Setup on Windows

This section describes how to configure your development environment and to build Zephyr applications in a Microsoft Windows environment.

This guide was tested by building the Zephyr Hello World sample application on Windows versions 7, 8.1, and 10.

Update Your Operating System

Before proceeding with the build, ensure that you are running your Windows system with the latest updates installed.

Installing Requirements and Dependencies

There are 3 different ways of developing for Zephyr on Microsoft Windows. The first one is fully Windows native, whereas the 2 additional ones require emulation layers that slow down build times and are not as optimal. All of them are presented here for completeness, but unless you have a particular requirement for a UNIX tool that is not available on Windows, we strongly recommend you use the Windows Command Prompt for performance and minimal dependency set.

Using MSYS2

The Zephyr development environment on Windows relies on MSYS2, a modern UNIX environment for Windows. Follow the steps below to set it up:

  1. Download and install MSYS2. Download the appropriate (32 or 64-bit) MSYS2 installer from the MSYS2 website and execute it. On the final installation screen, check the “Run MSYS2 now.” box to start up an MSYS2 shell when installation is complete. Follow the rest of the installation instructions on the MSYS2 website to update the package database and core system packages. You may be advised to “terminate MSYS2 without returning to shell and check for updates again”. If so, simply close the MSYS2 MSYS Shell desktop app and run it again to complete the update.)

  2. Launch the MSYS2 MSYS Shell desktop app from your start menu (if it’s not still open).


    Make sure you start MSYS2 MSYS Shell, not MSYS2 MinGW Shell.


    If you need to inherit the existing Windows environment variables into MSYS2 you will need to create a Windows environment variable like so:: MSYS2_PATH_TYPE=inherit.


    There are multiple export statements in this tutorial. You can avoid typing them every time by placing them at the bottom of your ~/.bash_profile file.

  3. If you’re behind a corporate firewall, you’ll likely need to specify a proxy to get access to internet resources:

    export http_proxy=
    export https_proxy=$http_proxy
  4. Update MSYS2’s packages and install the dependencies required to build Zephyr (you may need to restart the MSYS2 shell):

    pacman -Syu
    pacman -S git cmake make gcc dtc diffutils ncurses-devel python3 gperf
  5. Compile Ninja from source (Ninja is not available as an MSYS2 package) and install it:

    git clone git:// && cd ninja
    git checkout release
    ./ --bootstrap
    cp ninja.exe /usr/bin/
  6. From within the MSYS2 MSYS Shell, clone a copy of the Zephyr source into your home directory using Git. (Some Zephyr tools require Unix-style line endings, so we’ll configure Git for this repo to not do the automatic Unix/Windows line ending conversion (using --config core.autocrlf=false).

    cd ~
    git clone --config core.autocrlf=false
  7. Install pip and the required Python modules:

    curl -O ''
    cd ~/zephyr   # or to the folder where you cloned the zephyr repo
    pip install --user -r scripts/requirements.txt
  8. The build system should now be ready to work with any toolchain installed in your system. In the next step you’ll find instructions for installing toolchains for building both x86 and ARM applications.

  9. Install cross compiler toolchain:

    • For x86, install the 2017 Windows host ISSM toolchain from the Intel Developer Zone: ISSM Toolchain. Use your web browser to download the toolchain’s tar.gz file.

      You’ll need the tar application to unpack this file. In an MSYS2 MSYS console, install tar and use it to extract the toolchain archive:

      pacman -S tar
      tar -zxvf /c/Users/myusername/Downloads/issm-toolchain-windows-2017-01-15.tar.gz -C /c

      substituting the .tar.gz path name with the one you downloaded.


      The ISSM toolset only supports development for Intel® Quark™ Microcontrollers, for example, the Arduino 101 board. (Check out the “Zephyr Development Environment Setup” in this Getting Started on Arduino 101 with ISSM document.) Additional setup is required to use the ISSM GUI for development.

    • For ARM, install GNU ARM Embedded from the ARM developer website: GNU ARM Embedded (install to c:\gccarmemb).

  10. Within the MSYS console, set up environment variables for the installed tools and for the Zephyr environment (using the provided shell script):

    For x86:

    export ISSM_INSTALLATION_PATH=/c/issm0-toolchain-windows-2017-01-25

    Use the path where you extracted the ISSM toolchain.

    For ARM:

    export ZEPHYR_TOOLCHAIN_VARIANT=gccarmemb
    export GCCARMEMB_TOOLCHAIN_PATH=/c/gccarmemb

    And for either, run the provided script to set up zephyr project specific variables:

    cd <zephyr git clone location>
  11. Within the MSYS console, build Kconfig in $ZEPHYR_BASE/build and

    add it to path

      cd $ZEPHYR_BASE
      mkdir build && cd build
      cmake $ZEPHYR_BASE/scripts
      echo "export PATH=$PWD/kconfig:\$PATH" >> $HOME/.zephyrrc
      source $ZEPHYR_BASE/
    .. note::
        You only need to do this once after cloning the git repository.
  12. Finally, you can try building the Hello World sample to check things out.

To build for the Intel® Quark™ (x86-based) Arduino 101:

cd %ZEPHYR_BASE%\samples\hello_world
mkdir build & cd build

# Use cmake to configure a Ninja-based build system:
cmake -GNinja -DBOARD=arduino_101 ..

# Now run ninja on the generated build system:

To build for the ARM-based Nordic nRF52 Development Kit:

cd %ZEPHYR_BASE%\samples\hello_world
mkdir build & cd build

# Use cmake to configure a Ninja-based build system:
cmake -GNinja -DBOARD=nrf52_pca10040 ..

# Now run ninja on the generated build system:

This should check that all the tools and toolchain are set up correctly for your own Zephyr development.

Using Windows 10 WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux)

If you are running a recent version of Windows 10 you can make use of the built-in functionality to natively run Ubuntu binaries directly on a standard command-prompt. This allows you to install the standard Zephyr SDK and build for all supported architectures without the need for a Virtual Machine.

  1. Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) following the instructions on the official Microsoft website: WSL Installation


    For the Zephyr SDK to function properly you will need Windows 10 build 15002 or greater. You can check which Windows 10 build you are running in the “About your PC” section of the System Settings. If you are running an older Windows 10 build you might need to install the Creator’s Update.

  2. Follow the instructions for Ubuntu detailed in the Zephyr Linux Getting Started Guide which can be found here: Development Environment Setup on Linux