Run X (in the background)

With X installed, you can get graphical UNIX applications on your Windows desktop. Install the following packages from cygwin.exe: - xorg - xorg-xinit

To start X in the background, (create a shortcut which) runs the following Windows command:

c:\cygwin\bin\run.exe /usr/bin/bash.exe -l -c /usr/bin/startxwin.exe

If this doesn't work for you, just open a standard Cygwin (DOS) Window and start startxwin from there.

Better terminal

I recommend setting up X and let it run in the background. You can then use a "real" terminal emulator that you're used to from Linux, like urxvt.


There are many odd things in the world of Windows. This is one, ~/ and $HOME can be different (!):

$ echo ~/
$ echo $HOME

The reason is that the Windows environment variable is set to something different than what's written in /etc/passwd.

How to delete a Windows process from Cygwin

You must use /bin/kill -f instead of the shell built-in ``kill``` command. The latter of which only knows how to kill Cygwin processes:

$ /bin/kill -f <Windows  PID>

To find the PID of the Windows process holding a particular file, I use handle.exe. For instance, to kill the process holding the Maven JUnit runner library, I do:

$ /bin/kill -f $(handle surefirebooter | tail -1 | awk '{print $3;}')

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