Standard Setup of Toolchain for Windows (CMake)


This is documentation for the CMake-based build system which is currently in preview release. If you encounter any gaps or bugs, please report them in the Issues section of the ESP-IDF repository.

The CMake-based build system will become the default build system in ESP-IDF V4.0. The existing GNU Make based build system will be deprecated in ESP-IDF V5.0.


The CMake-based build system is only supported on 64-bit versions of Windows.


ESP-IDF requires some prerequisite tools to be installed so you can build firmware for the ESP32. The prerequisite tools include Git, a cross-compiler and the CMake build tool. We’ll go over each one in this document.

For this Getting Started we’re going to use a command prompt, but after ESP-IDF is installed you can use Eclipse or another graphical IDE with CMake support instead.


The GNU Make based build system requires the MSYS2 Unix compatibility environment on Windows. The CMake-based build system does not require this environment.

ESP-IDF Tools Installer

The easiest way to install ESP-IDF’s prerequisites is to download the ESP-IDF Tools installer from this URL:

The installer will automatically install the ESP32 Xtensa gcc toolchain, Ninja build tool, and a configuration tool called mconf-idf. The installer can also download and run installers for CMake and Python 2.7 if these are not already installed on the computer.

By default, the installer updates the Windows Path environment variable so all of these tools can be run from anywhere. If you disable this option, you will need to configure the environment where you are using ESP-IDF (terminal or chosen IDE) with the correct paths.

Note that this installer is for the ESP-IDF Tools package, it doesn’t include ESP-IDF itself.

Installing Git

The ESP-IDF tools installer does not install Git. By default, the getting started guide assumes you will be using Git on the command line. You can download and install a command line Git for Windows (along with the “Git Bash” terminal) from Git For Windows.

If you prefer to use a different graphical Git client, then you can install one such as Github Desktop. You will need to translate the Git commands in the Getting Started guide for use with your chosen Git client.

Using a Terminal

For the remaining Getting Started steps, we’re going to use a terminal command prompt. It doesn’t matter which command prompt you use:

  • You can use the built-in Windows Command Prompt, under the Start menu. All Windows command line instructions in this documentation are “batch” commands for use with the Windows Command Prompt.
  • You can use the “Git Bash” terminal which is part of Git for Windows. This uses the same “bash” command prompt syntax as is given for Mac OS or Linux. You can find it in the Start menu once installed.
  • If you have MSYS2 installed (maybe from a previous ESP-IDF version), then you can also use the MSYS terminal.

Next Steps

To carry on with development environment setup, proceed to section Get ESP-IDF.